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Galwegians stretch their lead at top of table

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Galwegians increased their lead at the top of Div 1b of the Ulster Bank League thanks to a 34-25 win over Malone on Saturday.

However despite bagging six tries, they made hard work of overcoming their dogged opponents who threatened to spoil the party in a topsy-turvy second half.

After returning to winning ways last week at Corinthians, ’Wegians started with intent and they took the game to their opponents right from the off, and they opened the scoring after eight minutes when some excellent handing by Conor Lowndes and Jerome Harrimate sent full-back Ciaran Gaffney over for the opening try.

That score was converted by Lowndes and, almost from the restart, the Blues bagged their second try when some more swift backline play saw the in-form Colin Conroy make a break from inside his own half, and his sheer pace outwitted the defence to cross near the right-hand corner.

The unconverted try saw Galwegians lead 12-0 after 10 minutes, but Malone soon got over their shaky start, and they opened their account with a 12th  minute try through Ross Kane, and while Josh Pentland missed the conversion, he was on target with a penalty to leave the score 12-8.

’Wegians utterly dominated the second quarter, but Conroy had a try disallowed for a forward pass; while Lowndes was off target with two penalties. But a third try for the home team was not long coming, with Lowndes touching down for an unconverted try; and the bonus-point fourth try came from Ja Naughton just before the break for a 22-8 half-time lead.

The visitors were back on level terms when Adam Liddell got in for two tries early in the second-half, both of which were converted; and the visitors hit the front through a Josh Bingham drop-goal.

However the home side regained their composure and Lowndes raced in for his second, and his side’s, fifth try; and Matt Dever added a sixth, which was converted, to seal the win. Next week Galwegians have a chance to further cement their position when they play host to another Belfast side, the struggling Belfast Harlequins who currently languish bottom of the table after their defeat away to Corinthians on Saturday.

CITY TRIBUNE

Wootton weaves his magic in vital bonus point victory

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Connacht winger Alex Wootton breaches the Cardiff cover on his way to scoring a second try in Saturday's PRO14 encounter at the Sportsground. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Connacht 32

Cardiff 17

Rob Murphy at the Sportsground

THE Cardiff players were strewn across the pitch, faces buried in the Sporstground soil. Alex Wootton had just made their lives a misery for a second time in a blistering five minute spell and a game that was very much within their grasp had suddenly disappeared off into the distance. That was the scene in first-half injury time on Saturday evening as Connacht cut loose with a burst of brilliance.

Wootton now has ten tries in 13 appearances, an astonishing return from his first season in the green of Connacht. Munster’s loss is very much Andy Friend’s gain it seems. It helps too that there’s a backline orchestrator in the shape of Jack Carty who is playing at the very top of his game with one all encompassing display after another in recent months. The Irish door isn’t opening, but he keeps on knocking away.

But back to those Cardiff defenders, they were crestfallen at half time and positively dejected by full time. For most of the contest their team seemed to be in the ascendency in terms of possession and territory, but Connacht held all the aces when it came to the level of additional quality needed to be a serious contender in this competition. There’s no shame in being second best but the Welsh regions do struggle with the concept.

The Connacht coach has injuries to concern him but nothing overwhelming, Tom Farrell is probably the first choice centre for example and he’s out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury, Quinn Roux would start most big games but we learned this week a neck injury will keep him out until April, while Denis Buckley started this game on the bench. So this was pretty much a full strength side.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway keeping all options open for 2021 summer racing festival

John McIntyre

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A lone racegoer follows the action at last year's Galway Summer Racing Festival which was held behind closed doors at Ballybrit.

MICHAEL Moloney is a pragmatist. He’s not a hostage to pipedreams or fanciful thoughts ignoring reality. He doesn’t build up false hope and plays a straight bat.

The Galway Racecourse General Manager knows the odds are currently against punters flocking through the Ballybrit turnstiles for this summer’s annual seven-day racing festival, but he is not without hope that circumstances may change.

“As it stands, the only public health guidelines we are working off is that there will be no gatherings of over 50 people before September. That’s what the Tániste Leo Varadkar said a couple of weeks ago.”

That conclusion gives Galway little wriggle room at present, but with the 2021 festival still five months away – it starts on Monday, July 26 – local stakeholders are keeping their fingers crossed that the overall Covid-19 picture will be much better by then.

Whatever way the cards fall in relation to mass gatherings at sporting events by late summer, Moloney emphasises that Galway Racecourse will be ready to respond quickly to any improved scenario.

Ahead of last year’s festival, Moloney admitted that Galway was heading into the unknown with the meeting being staged behind closed doors and Ballybrit set to be devoid of the atmosphere it has become famous for.

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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CITY TRIBUNE

Saddling up for a battle with cancer

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Susan Kennelly says wearing her cycling gear, like above in Salthill, and getting on her bike gives her a boost in her battle with cancer.

A city-based doctor has become the second person in the country to be named as a Bike Like Me advocate as part of a campaign by Cycling Ireland to inspire more women and girls to discover cycling and feel confident on their bikes.

Susan Kennelly (42), who lives in the city centre, is a member of Galway Bay Cycling Club and is the second of six Bike Like Me advocates to be announced as part of the campaign.

Currently battling breast cancer, she says she has found solace in being able to jump on her bike and take to the roads, saying that putting on her cycling helmet and cycling gear allowed her to feel the same as everyone else and boosted her morale in her own health battle.

“Particularly this year I really appreciated how normalising cycling could be. I had no hair because of chemo, no eyebrows or eyelashes and had lost weight but hopping on a bike with my helmet and cycling clothes meant I really looked no different to anyone else,” she says.

Why did you start cycling?

After stepping down from competitive rowing after several years I wanted something that would keep me physically active but without the same training commitment as rowing.

A friend suggested I join Galway Bay Cycling Club and I instantly knew this was right for me! I loved getting out in the open air and the sense of comradery and security with group cycling but at the same time I didn’t have to worry about letting a crew down if I couldn’t make a spin.

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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