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Galwegians stretch their lead at top of table

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Galwegians consolidated their position at the summit of Division 1b with a 31-19 home win over Belfast Harlequins on Saturday.

For the second consecutive week, they made hard work of seeing off another Belfast side, this time Belfast Harlequins who currently occupy bottom spot in the table. Indeed Quins had to face a second consecutive trip to Galway having been away to Corinthians the previous week, and they will not be sorry to see the back of the city once more returning empty-handed.

Galwegians coach Matt Brown opted to rest some of his backline regulars, including the influential John Cleary, Brian Murphy and Gary O’Brien, with Rory Parata returning from injury to make his first UBL appearance since the opening game against Trinity.

Galwegians started the better and looked the more likely to score, but full-back Ciaran Gaffney was off target with a long-range early penalty attempt.

However, the visitors had strengthened their side from last week with some Ulster squad members in their side, including lock Neil McComb and centre Michael Allen. And having weathered, the early onslaught from their hosts, Harlequins eventually settled.

In fact, they took the lead in the 10th minute with their first meaningful attack of the game. Some poor handling by Wegians in their opponents’ half saw possession turned over, and following a good counter-attack, Quins full-back David McMaster was sent clear to touch down on the left, with out-half Mark Best converting for a 7-0 lead

This seemed to stun Galwegians who failed to heed the warning signs, and before the first quarter was even up, things went from bad to worse for the hosts. Some sloppy possession play once again cost them in midfield, and an excellent cross-kick by Best was fielded by right-wing Mark Glover, who evaded the attentions of two Galwegians defenders all to easily to charge down the touchline and dive over near the right corner for a second try.

Although the conversion was wide, a shock seemed well on the cards as the bottom-placed side held a 12-0 lead over the league leaders. However Galwegians have proven resilience and character, having already overcome 22-0 and 10-0 deficits against local rivals Buccaneers and Corinthians in this year’s campaign, and they finally roused from their slumber and upped the intensity in the second quarter.

They went on the offensive again and played a territorial game, and the pressure finally paid off when the recalled left-wing Matt Dever showed up on his opposite wing to collect a scoring pass and dive over for his side’s opening try, which was unconverted.

This energised the home team, and with self-belief restored a second try was soon to follow. Their dominant scrum was creating the platform and beginning to yield penalties. And following an excellent line-kick deep to the corner, a well-worked lineout maul resulted in lock Marty Cummins diving over for his first senior try for Galwegians. Gaffney was again wide with the conversion, giving the visitors a slender 12-10 lead at half-time.

Galwegians’ coaches Brown and John Muldoon clearly had strong words with their charges at the break, as they seriously upped the tempo in the second-half. They immediately took the game to their opponents, and following some patient build-up play, a great break from prop Doron McHugh and a deft offload fed the supporting Cummins who dived over near the posts for his second try. Gaffney finally found his range with the conversion, and the Blues had their noses in front for the first time in the game at 17-12.

It was a lead Galwegians would never relinquish as they went on to completely dominate the third quarter. Their pack was now clearly in the ascendancy, creating further opportunities for their potent backline, and just after the hour mark, an excellent break from deep by centre Jerome Harrimate brought play right up to the try-line.

With the defensive cover sucked in, a few phases later Galwegians substitute out-half Aidan Moynihan scampered over near the opposite corner to secure the bonus fourth try. The youngster then landed an excellent conversion himself to give his team a 12-point lead.

The visitors were not done, however, and they responded well going in search of something, only to meet a stern and resolute Blues defence who stoutly held their line and discipline. The game was made safe on 73 minutes when another excellent break from deep, this time by scrum-half Caolin Blade, saw him come within inches of scoring.

But the damage was done and Moynihan was once again the beneficiary as he cut through a gap in impressive and determined fashion to dive over for try number five, which he duly converted bringing his personal haul to 14 points.

The visitors did manage to get on the scoreboard late on when Michael Allen crossed for their third try, which Best converted to reduce the gap to 31-19. But it proved to be merely a consolation score as time ran out in their search of salvaging something from the game.

CITY TRIBUNE

Annaghdown pull it off in a gripping finale to group tie

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Bearna's Cathal Folan tries to shake off the attentions of Annaghdown's Conor Moloney during Tuesday's Senior Football Group 2 tie at Duggan Park. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Annaghdown 1-17

Bearna 0-8

Ivan Smyth at Duggan Park

Well, that was dramatic. Annaghdown squeezed through to the quarter finals of the seniotrchampionship in the most nailbiting 12 point win one will witness at Duggan Park on Tuesday night.

Annaghdown entered this game needing to win by 12 points or more if they were to reach the quarter finals at the expense of Milltown. With Annaghdown leading by 11 points and the clock ticking into the second and final minute of injury time, the winners engineered a free which goalkeeper James Healy fired over from 50m out to break Milltown hearts.

The men in maroon and white can now look forward to a quarter final with St. Michael’s, one which both sides will feel is winnable. Realistically their fate shouldn’t have been decided with the final kick of the game. Annaghdown led by the required margin at half time, 1-12 to 0-3, as a hammering appeared much more of a realistic option than a tense finale. However, Bearna certainly played the role of spoilers to a tee in the final half as they retained possession far better than in the opening half.

Annaghdown’s level also dropped but despite Frankie Burke seeing a penalty saved by James Keane, Galway’s sub goalkeeper in this year’s championship, they had managed to move 14 points in front after 55 minutes. Bearna’s resistance appeared to have broken but in a campaign which has seen them take successive heavy defeats, the city side hit back with points from Donal and Ryan Folan.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Stalemate as Sarsfields and Turlough serve up final epic

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Leon Connaire of Sarsfields secures possession against Turloughmore's Matthew Tarpey during the County U20 A Hurling Final at Duggan Park last Wednesday. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Sarsfields 0-23

Turloughmore 2-17

Eanna O’Reilly at Duggan Park

THE Under 20 hurlers of Sarsfields and Turloughmore couldn’t be separated in Ballinasloe last Wednesday evening after a titanic contest saw the sides finish level. Those in attendance certainly got their money’s worth from this final, as a high scoring thriller played out between two outstanding teams.

With 40 minutes played, Sarsfields were certainly the team in the driving seat as they held a six point lead after largely dominating the game. During the next five minutes however, Turlough hit 1-3 to come roaring back into the contest. The final quarter played out as a cliff hanger, with both sides edging ahead at different stages.

When Cillian Whelan sent over an injury time point for Turlough, it looked as though they had snatched the victory. However, there was one more twist in the story, with Sarsfields sub Jordan McMahon popping up to take a point at the death to force the final to a replay.

Any neutrals in the crowd at Duggan Park would hardly be objecting to another 60 minutes of fare between these teams, such was the quality on display. That replay is down for decision on Wednesday, October 5 (Duggan Park, 7:30pm) and will be eagerly anticipated.

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

Monivea-Abbey in trouble after latest narrow defeat

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St Michael's Gavin Summerville breaking away from Philip Muldowney of Monivea-Abbey during Saturday's Senior Football Group 3 contest at Tuam Stadium. Photos: David Cunniffe.

St. Michael’s 0-11

Monivea/Abbey 0-9

Ivan Smyth at Tuam Stadium

ST. Michael’s outscored Monivea/Abbey seven points to two in the second half at Tuam Stadium on Saturday as they secured top spot n Group 3.

This defeat ensures Monivea/ Abbey finished bottom as they now face a battle to avoid relegation. The second half summed up Monivea/Abbey’s championship campaign to date with no shortage of battling spirit or physicality, but they struggled to engineer chances as St. Michael’s were able to play on the counter attack once they took the lead in the third quarter.

This defeat meant Monivea/Abbey lost their fourth game of the championship, with each of those defeats coming by a single score. After a first half in which Monivea/Abbey appeared to rattle Colm Tummon’s side with their front-foot pressure, Garvan McDaid’s charges kicked just two second half points, both from frees.

With Cillian McDaid looking sharp in the opening half, the GAA/GPA All Star nominee was starved of possession in the final period. His marker Shane Connaughton was the game’s outstanding player as the centre back enjoyed an absorbing duel with McDaid while he was central to much of St. Michael’s’ positive attacking play.

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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