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Galway women on brink of history after pulling off surprise semi-final win

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The NUIG ladies soccer team which defeated Maynooth in the Premier Division Cup semi-final. Back row, left to right: Chelsi Curran, Emma Horgan, Laura O'Carroll, Kate Mulgannon, Rosa Shine, Louise Creaven, Paula McGrory, Sinead Dilworth, Jennifer Byrne, Ella McMackin, Kara Shue, Jillian Zitoli, John Hynes. Front row: Kate Gribbon, Maebh Coleman, Shauna Fox, Aoife Walsh, Ciara Lynagh, Lisa Casserly, Tori D'Acuento, Eimear Foley, Bridget Westerman

THE NUIG ladies soccer team is making the headlines following their victory over Maynooth in the Premier Division Cup semi-final. This is the first time in the history of the University that the ladies team has reached this stage, the pinacle of women’s college soccer.

Maynooth got the lucky toss of the coin for this game, with NUIG having to make the two hour journey to county Kildare. This did appear to take its toll on the away team, with the starting 11 starting quite sluggish.

The first 45 minutes were a tight affair overall, with both sides having chances yet nothing too clear-cut. Galway’s Ciara Lynagh and Maebh Coleman dominated central midfield in the opening half, with both working hard in helping out the defence.

Galway created a few chances down the right, with full back Aoife Walsh linking up well with winger Eimear Foley. Maynooth’s main threat Amber Barrett, one of the league’s top scorers, was well marshalled at the back by Laura O’Carroll and Rosa Shine throughout the first half.

For the opening five minutes of the second half, NUIG dropped their concentration levels and this was all it took for Barrett to swoop in and score the opening goal of the game.

With a deficit to overturn, it would have been easy for heads to drop on the Galway side, the clear underdogs for this game. However this is a team brimming with confidence and self belief, and the 1-0 scoreline seemed to spur them on to play even more probing football.

Erasmus student Kara Shue used her fantastic pace to beat the Maynooth defence and score the equaliser, much to the delight of managers John Hynes and Padraic de Burca.

Striker Lisa Casserly then struck a wonderful free kick only moments later, which was well saved by the home keeper, who could do nothing about the follow up from Paula McGrory however.

In an incredible ten-minute turnaround, Lisa Casserly put the NUI Galway side 3-1 up with a neat finish to a cross from another international student Ella McMackin.

Tori D’Acunto put the game to bed in the dying minutes with a superb strike to make it a total of four goals for NUIG. Shauna Fox and Bridget Westermann kept the defence tight throughout this half to ensure a 4-1 win for the travelling team.

Biggest congratulations must go to captain Jennifer Byrne who was terrific throughout, and goalkeeper Louise Creaven who undoubtedly kept the Galway side in the game with a handful of top class saves.

The Premier Division Cup Final will take place the end of February, where NUIG will take on the winners of Carlow IT/UUJ. The venue has yet to be decided.

It represents a fine achievement for both the sports club and indeed the college. The team will now be hoping to go one step further and become Irish cup champions.

Connacht Tribune

Agony for St Thomas’ as mighty effort goes unrewarded

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St Thomas' Conor Cooney and John Headd give chase to Ballyhale Shamrocks' TJ Reid during Sunday's All-Ireland Club Senior Hurling Semi-Final at Semple Stadium. Photos: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile.

Ballyhale Shamrocks 2-15

St Thomas’ 0-20

John McIntyre in Thurles

THIS harrowing All-Ireland Club hurling semi-final defeat in Thurles on Sunday will traumatise and torment St Thomas’ for weeks to come. It was that gut-wrenching – that undeserved.

On an afternoon when St Thomas’ did Galway hurling proud, we are all struggling to come to terms with how they lost a match that they had largely dictated the terms of engagement of, and had Ballyhale Shamrocks in all sorts of distress.

Producing arguably their best-ever team display – characterised by unrelenting commitment and the slick transfer of possession – St Thomas’ stood on the brink of a famous victory over the most decorated club in the over 50-year history of the championship.

Protecting a 15-match winning run outside their county borders, Ballyhale were staring down the barrel of a surprise defeat, having played second fiddle to an inspired St Thomas’s outfit for significant tracts of a gripping and high-quality encounter.

But the reigning All-Ireland champions have mastered the art of pulling games out of the fire – notably their Leinster semi-final escape against St Rynagh’s – and there was always the chance of late drama at Semple Stadium.

St Thomas’ had done so many things right on the day: making great starts to both halves; carrying the battle to Ballyhale; picking off a series of wonderfully-crafted points; and looking the more accomplished stickmen. And somehow . . . it still wasn’t enough.

On a couple of occasions in the second-half, they went four points clear and with the scoring rate of both teams starting to drop, it appeared a healthy advantage in the circumstances. By the 57th minute, St Thomas’s were still 0-18 to 0-15 ahead.

You could sense the rising hope of their supporters in the stand, but they too were left visibly shocked after the influential TJ Reid bailed Ballyhale out of trouble with two bullets from placed balls in the dying embers of the match.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

St Brendan’s best comes up short in low-scoring struggle

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St Brendan's Ava Trayers is chased by Nicole Shelly of Mullinahone during Sunday's All-Ireland Club Ladies Football Junior Semi-Final in Callan. Photos: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile.

Mullinahone 1-6

St. Brendan’s 0-6

Eanna O’Reilly in Callan

A gallant effort from St. Brendan’s ladies football team came up just short on Sunday in the All-Ireland Club Junior semi-final in Callan.

Tipperary and Munster champions Mullinahone proved to be a step too far for John Kilroy’s side in a game where St. Brendan’s never managed to lead on the scoreboard.

Nevertheless, this was an evenly contested semi-final and St. Brendan’s brought a huge effort and highly impressive work rate on the day. Very little separated the sides throughout the game, with Lorraine O’Shea’s first half goal keeping Mullinahone’s noses in front.

Although they got back to within a point on a couple of occasions, St. Brendan’s never managed to equalise the contest. Mullinahone did just enough to keep the Connacht champions at bay in a low scoring, hard fought struggle.

Mullinahone opened the scoring with a point from Kilkenny camogie star Denise Gaule, who was a huge presence for the Tipp side on the day. St. Brendan’s equalised with the next attack, which saw Liadan Greally kick a point from the right corner.

Lorraine O’Shea soon kicked an impressive score to put Mullinahone back in front, after a neat passing exchange with Aoibhe O’Shea. The O’Shea’s combined again shortly after, with Aoibhe putting Lorraine through on goal, before the latter fired to the bottom corner of the net past Sinéad Kelly.

With St. Brendan’s in need of scores, full forward Michelle Delaney stepped up to the plate and kicked three consecutive points. Delaney followed up a converted free with two points from play as she linked up effectively with Becca Conway on two occasions. A pointed free from Lorraine O’Shea saw Mullinahone take a 1-3 to 0-4 lead into the half time interval.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Galway Sports Stars award winners to be revealed next week

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Galway senior camogie captain Sarah Dervan, lifts the O'Duffy Cup after their All-Ireland final triumph over Cork at Croke Park last September.

By John McIntyre

GALWAY’S vibrancy as a sporting county will be underlined next week when the Medtronic Galway Sports Stars award winners of 2021 will be announced.

With the lifting of Covid hospitality restrictions, the Galway Sports Stars banquet will now go ahead in the Galway Bay Hotel on Saturday night, February 19.

After the historic achievement Olympic Games’ achievement of rowers Fiona Murtagh and Aifric Keogh, together with the Galway camogie team regaining the All-Ireland title, there will be no shortage of star talent to be honoured

There will also be a Hall of Fame recipient, somebody who has gone into sporting folklore. Who is that person? Find out in next week’s Connacht Tribune.

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