IT’S an all-new minor championship and an all new minor team but this year’s crop of Galway underage stars picked up where last year’s talented squad left off with a comprehensive 11-point victory over Limerick in the first of two quarter-final round-robin games.
As ever, it was a case of stepping in to the unknown somewhat for players, management and supporters alike this past weekend and as is so often the case, Galway made little of this being their first competitive game of the season against a Limerick side who won three of their four Munster championship qualifying games, topping the table, before coming unstuck against Tipperary in the decider.
Unlike other years, there really was very little to go on when assessing this Galway side prior to throw-in, as due to the change in grade from U-18 to U-17, there were no survivors of last year’s All-Ireland winning side to build this team around.
Instead, manager Jeffrey Lynskey, in his fourth season in charge and this year backed by the new management team of Kenneth Burke, Niall Murray and Aidan Ryan, called upon a number of the Pres Athenry team which reached this year’s All-Ireland PPS final, namely goalkeeper Paddy Rabbitte, Ian McGlynn, Shane Quirke and Adam Brett.
South and North Galway were also well represented with North Galway clubs Ballygar, Sylane, Annaghdown and Ballinasloe all having one of their own impress in the Galway starting 15.
After a low-scoring opening quarter where both sides took time to feel each other out, Donal O’Shea, son of former Tipperary manager Eamon O’Shea, struck for an excellent goal on the stroke of half-time after Oisin Flannery (Padraig Pearses) knocked down an Evan Duggan line ball in to the path of the on-rushing O’Shea, to help Galway to a healthy 1-11 to 0-6 interval lead.
Cormac Ryan opened the scoring for Limerick after 90 seconds but that was to be the only time in the game Galway trailed with Adam Brett quick to reply before the lively Dean Reilly handed Galway the lead for the first time.
Limerick were giving as good as they got in the early exchanges and Bob Purcell, who posed problems in that period, levelled the tie before Jason O’Donoghue, a sweet score off his left, and Cathal O’Neill traded points once more.
The young Tribesmen then had their first period of sustained pressure in the game landing four points on the spin, two each by O’Shea (both frees) and Sylane man Keelan Creaven and though Limerick stayed in touch courtesy of points by Micheal Martin and O’Neill (two), O’Shea’s goal along with points by Oisin Flannery (Padraig Pearses), Creaven, Reilly and O’Shea again, had Galway in command at the break.
Limerick came out for the second period fired-up and despite noticeably taking their foot off the pedal, Galway limited the Shannonsiders to two solitary frees in the opening ten minutes of the half with Shane Jennings, Sean Neary and Shane Quirke superb.
In defence, Galway remained astute and commanding throughout, but it was in the other half of the field where the problems lay in the second period, something noted by Lynskey in his post-match interview, as Galway fell off the pace.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Shannon back in full flight!
There was a festive atmosphere at Shannon Airport this week as the inaugural Ryanair Corfu service prepared to take flight – ahead of another new service to Gran Canaria, which begins this week.
The new route to the popular Greek Island will operate twice weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays until the end of October, and the new weekly Ryanair service to Gran Canaria (Las Palmas) begins this Saturday.
All of this means that Shannon Airport is now serving Alicante, Barcelona, Stansted, Gatwick, Kaunas, Krakow, Wroclaw, Warsaw, Manchester, Corfu, Faro, Lanzarote, Malaga, Palma, Tenerife, Gran Canaria (Las Palmas) and Turin.
Passengers on the first Corfu-bound flight enjoyed a pre-departure reception in the airport’s transit lounge which was decorated in festive style.
To celebrate the new routes, the airport gave one lucky passenger a special surprise, return flight tickets for two people to a choice of one of Shannon Airport’s 17 exciting destinations.
A special water cannon salute by the airport’s fire service added an extra sense of occasion as airport staff welcomed passengers and looked after them throughout their time in the airport.
Welcoming the new air services Mary Considine, CEO, Shannon Group, which owns and manages Shannon Airport said: “The global pandemic has had a huge impact on all our lives and being able to once again welcome our passengers as they take to the skies bound for sun drenched holiday destinations is really wonderful.
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Pixies slot proves time is now for the Clockworks
Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell
When Pixies were announced as Galway International Arts Festival headliners way back in 2019, a promising Loughrea four-piece were fresh from relocating to London and bullishly embracing their role as the new faces of former Oasis manager Alan McGee’s Creation 23 record label.
Two years on, the US alt-rock pioneers are yet to grace the Big Top – but the Clockworks, made up of James McGregor, Tom Freeman, Seán Connolly and Damian Greaney, are set to make a US debut in their company with a series of support slots that cement their place as one of Galway’s biggest artistic exports.
In less than six weeks’ time, Pixies will embark on a September tour of the states with the Clockworks by their side for six gigs. The Galway group play their own maiden headline US show in New York’s Mercury Loung on September 8.
On their horizon too, is an end-of-year Irish tour with Dublin indie-rock outfit Inhaler as well as a host of festival appearances, barring cancellations.
With news of the Pixies tour coming in the same week NewDad were announced as support for Fontaines D.C.’s highly anticipated Belfast show on August 13, it is powerful evidence of the ground Galway acts continue to break.
“It’s very exciting to have loads of gigs lined up after absolutely nothing for so long,” James admits.
“It’s really nice to feel like we’re going to hit the ground running and when Pixies came through, that was just amazing and what a way to start. It’s our first time gigging in America – my first time going there personally.
“All four of us are massive fans of Pixies too. Any time they’d come to Ireland, we’d always try and throw our hat in the ring for a support slot and just to think that now we’ll be going around the States with them is insane.”
Read the full interview in this week’s Groove Tube, in the Connacht Tribune – on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital version from www.connachttribune.ie
All out in force to cheer home one of their own
Sitting on an airplane, mid-air from Japan en route to Dublin, Olympic bronze medallist from Moycullen, Fiona Murtagh was unsure whether anyone would be at the airport to meet her and teammates Aifric Keogh of Na Forbacha, Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty when they touched down.
Because of Covid-19 restrictions, there was no big welcoming party planned for Dublin Airport. But Fiona need not have worried; as she strode out of airport security and into Arrivals, all her family were there to hug her.
Fiona hadn’t seen her parents Marguerite and Noel since April because of a pre-Olympic training camp in Italy; and her siblings Pádraig, Lorraine and twin Alan all turned up, too.
“Oh my God, I couldn’t believe it. It was actually really emotional, it was so lovely. I didn’t expect the full family to be there. Tears came to my eyes. I hadn’t seen mom and my dad in seven weeks,” said Fiona.
That was just the first leg of what was to be a heart-warming homecoming for a hero.
The family drove back to Galway with Fiona, who had heard “through the grapevine that there was going to be something in Bushypark”.
“But the scale of it, I didn’t expect it at all, it was incredible, it was so lovely to see everyone come out and support and see me”, she said.
Read the full story over eleven pages of coverage on the homecoming of our Olympic heroes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie