Galway United 2
Sligo Rovers 1
ENDA Curran might have scored the two goals, but it was very much a case of Conor Winn-s it for Galway United on Friday night as Tommy Dunne’s side claimed bragging rights in the Connacht derby to take a giant leap towards Premier Division survival.
When you are caught in a relegation scrap, you need a mixture of both luck and inspiration to give you a dig-out and United had both on Friday night, with the big man between the posts delivering the latter with a season’s best display.
The visitors would have made the trek back up the N17 wondering how they didn’t win the game, never mind leave with at least a point. The United manager was refreshingly honest after the game, admitting to his own relief at having taken three points from a game that, on the division of chances, his side had no right to win.
While Winn provided the inspiration, he was also part of the ‘luck’ aspect, as in it was United’s luck that a rumoured move for Sligo Rovers goalkeeper Richard Brush earlier this year never materialised – while Winn was perfection at one end, Brush was poor at the other.
The Sligo net-minder was at fault for both United’s goals, a double whammy that came within the space of 60 seconds of each other around the mid-way point in the second-half to send the home fans in what was, in truth, a disappointingly small crowd of 1,351, into absolute delirium.
The opener came in the 65th minute when Jake Keegan lifted in a cross from the endline that Brush had all the time in the world to deal with but rather than catch the ball – or even wait for it to plop down into his arms – he attempted a two-fisted punch, and only managed to sky the ball no more than 12 yards from his goal.
Conor Melody – handed a start after his impressive 15-minute cameo against Shamrock Rovers the previous week – whiffed his first attempt and then looked to have shot wide with his second, only for Curran to stick a boot out to redirect the ball past Brush.
The United fans were still celebrating when Curran added his second a minute later. Not content with keeping out the Sligo efforts at one end, Winn decided to turn provider with a booming clearance that had snow on it as it came down 10 yards short of the Sligo penalty area.
The Sligo defence committed the cardinal error of letting the ball bounce, and with Brush stranded in No Man’s Land, Curran outjumped Gavin Peers to loop a header over the out-of-position ’keeper and into the net to join Keegan on 12 league goals for the season.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
Greene and Walsh feature at National Indoor Micro Meet
GALWAY had two participants at the Athletics Ireland National Indoor Micro Meets which were held in Dublin over the weekend, with some superb races across the two-day programme, including many European qualification times.
Cillin Greene of GCH had an impressive season opener in the men’s 400m. After a flying start, Greene led the high-quality field into the home straight, and eventually finished fourth in a blanket finish in a time of 48.06.
Nicole Walsh (Galway City Harriers) finished in third spot in her heat of the women’s 400m, behind Grainne Moynihan (West Muskerry AC) and Catherine McManus (DCH).
Meanwhile, Galway’s Alanna Lally, running with Temple University in the USA, continued her good Indoor form as she won the 800m at the Camel City Invitational event in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Competing in the 800m Elite Finals, Lally produced her best indoor performance of the season as she crossed the finish line at 2:05.88 for third place. She was the top college athlete in the event as she finished behind two professional runners. Lally’s time places her at 12th nationally in the US this season.
She also competed in the distance medley relay event where her Temple team finished sixth with a time of 11:24.55.
Galway boost as Murray to remain on as camogie boss
AFTER his ratification for another two years – with the option of a third – Galway senior and intermediate camogie manager Cathal Murray says he feels that the Tribeswomen have “unfinished business” in both grades.
In December, 2019 senior champions Galway were dethroned by Kilkenny in the All-Ireland decider at Croke Park while, earlier in the season, his intermediates had the proverbial rug pulled out from under them when it was deemed that counties’ second string sides were not ‘elite’ teams and, so, were not permitted to field under NPHET and Government restrictions.
Understandably, in the aftermath of a disrupted, strange and energy-sapping campaign – mentally and physically – Murray took time out to reflect. “Last year was disappointing on both fronts, with the seniors losing the final and for the intermediates not to be able to go ahead with their championship after all the training they did.
“Both were awfully disappointing. So, I’d just feel there is, probably, unfinished business there and that there is a lot of potential in the group. I just want to be part of it for the next few years,” he begins.
Given that Murray’s ratification did not take place in January, there was concern in some quarters that the Sarsfields man – who has raised the professionalism of the set-up since taking up the role; initially, as caretaker boss in the summer of 2018 – may have been considering his position. He assures that was not the case.
“No, I think I was always going to go back; you just need to make sure you have a backroom team that is good enough to attack an All-Ireland, for want of a better way of putting it. As well, I needed to sit down with the (Camogie) Board and make sure we were on the same wavelength and make sure that all the things that need to be in place will be in place.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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Burke joins elite Galway group with a fifth hurling All-Star award
GALWAY had no shortage of contenders for the 2020 PwC All-Stars hurling and football awards, but ended up with just a solitary honour.
That distinction fell to Turloughmore’s Daithí Burke, who was named in the hurling All-Stars’ back-line when the team was revealed on Saturday evening.
Burke is being honoured for the fifth time – a feat which sees him join Joe Cooney, Pete Finnerty and Joe Canning as the county’s most feted All-Stars.
All-Ireland champions Limerick dominated the hurling team with nine awards, including Player of the Year, Gearóid Hegarty. The young player accolade went to Kilkenny’s Eoin Cody.
Galway’s Shane Walsh and Paul Conroy were nominated for football All-Stars, but missed out on selection as six-in-a-row title winners Dublin also had nine players honoured.
The Footballer of the Year accolade went to Dublin midfielder Brian Fenton, with Mayo’s Oisín Mullin chosen as the top young player of 2020.
All-Stars hurling team: Nickie Quaid (Limerick); Seán Finn (Limerick), Dan Morrissey (Limerick), Daithí Burke (Galway); Diarmaid Byrnes (Limerick), Tadhg de Búrca (Waterford), Kyle Hayes (Limerick); Jamie Barron (Waterford), Tony Kelly (Clare); Gearóid Hegarty (Limerick), Cian Lynch (Limerick), Tom Morrissey (Limerick), Aaron Gillane (Limerick), TJ Reid (Kilkenny), Stephen Bennett (Waterford).
All-Stars football team: Raymond Galligan (Cavan); Oisín Mullin (Mayo), Padraig Faulkner (Cavan), Michael Fitzsimons (Dublin); James McCarthy (Dublin), John Small (Dublin), Eoin Murchan (Dublin); Brian Fenton (Dublin), Thomas Galligan (Cavan); Niall Scully (Dublin), Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin), Con O’Callaghan (Dublin); Cillian O’Connor (Mayo), Conor Sweeney (Tipperary), Dean Rock (Dublin).