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Harte named at centre back as Galway aim for home win against the Cats

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Castlegar's Dean Higgins who has retained his position in the Galway attack for Sunday's National League test against All-Ireland champions Kilkenny at Pearse Stadium.

GORT captain Greg Lally has been named at centre-half back in the Galway team to face All-Ireland champions Kilkenny at Pearse Stadium on Sunday (2pm) – a NHL tie considered by boss Anthony Cunningham as hugely significant in their bid to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the competition.

Lally, who was exceptional in Gort’s county championship run and again in their All-Ireland club semi-final joust against Ballyhale, comes into a reshuffled pack which sees David Collins move to wing-back, Iarla Tannian relocated to midfield, where he won an All-Star, and Andy Smith beefing up the half-forward line. Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry’s Padraig Breheny loses out on this occasion.

Cunningham says it is imperative Galway win their home games in the chase for a quarter-final berth and a fixture against the All-Ireland champions is no exception. “It is of huge significance and we would hope there will be a big Galway support there,” says the St. Thomas’ man.

“There is a good spirit there now and definitely there were a lot of positives from the Clare match and, indeed the match the last day, so we would be expecting a big, vocal support in Pearse Stadium, particularly against Kilkenny.”

Defender Fergal Moore, who missed the opening games against Clare and Tipperary due to a hamstring injury, is fit again but the management has kept faith in the full-back line of Johnny Coen, John Hanbury and Padraig Mannion.

For the most part, the trio were solid against Tipperary but they can ill afford the couple of lapses of concentration they had in the 2-18 to 0-20 defeat to Éamon O’Shea’s men. They must offer goalkeeper Colm Callanan more protection in this regard.

Midfielder Joseph Cooney, who has posted 1-3 from Galway’s opening two games, continues to be the in-form player. While his move to the inside line last day out might have given management pause for thought, it is recognised that his presence in the centre of the park in the early stages of this fixture will be crucial. It will be interesting to see both Cooney and Tannian working together in this sector.

Ardrahan’s Jonathan Glynn is growing into the centre-half forward role game by game but the notable lack of another physical presence on the flanks has been an issue. Both Breheny and Higgins are pacy stickmen but against a forceful team like the Cats, Galway had to add a warrior like Smith to their attack.

In the inside line, James Regan, Jason Flynn and Cathal Mannion have done enough in recent games to retain their positions and a substantial return will be required from them if the Tribesmen are going to do damage.

To date, the Cork and Dublin inside lines have posted 1-4 and seven points from play respectively against the Cats. That’s the target for Galway’s inside line. Also, when Galway score goals, they win games. Two against Clare; none against Tipperary.

Unfortunately, Joe Canning, Niall Burke and Conor Cooney all continue to be ruled out through injury. “It is unlikely Joe Canning will be back,” says Cunningham. “Of the rest of them – Conor Cooney, Niall Burke – it will be mid-March, so another couple of weeks.”

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Risk-takers Connacht reaping rewards of adventurous style

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Connacht’s Oran McNulty breaks through the Ospreys cover on his way to scoring a first half try in the United Rugby Championship at the Sportsground on Friday night. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Connacht 46

Ospreys 18

THE numbers are ridiculous. The storm enveloped Sportsground on Friday night suggested we would be watching a game ultimately decided by kicks, scrums, mauls and lineouts, but instead we were treated to a contest where Connacht broke their season record for metres made with ball in hand, scored seven tries to their opponents two and wowed the home crowd with a night of scintillating rugby.

Six games into this season and Connacht have come with something very new. It hasn’t always worked, they underperformed in Cardiff and completely flopped at home to the Dragons. it hasn’t always been about exciting attacking play either, as they were pragmatic and stubborn in almost beating Munster in Thomond, but when it has come together, it has been spectacular.

In round two after the superb home victory over the Bulls, the Connacht team and management told us that this was the template. They lost their way a little but found it again in round five at the end of October when they produced that stunning all conquering performance against Ulster in the Aviva Stadium and at that juncture, the talk was of consistency and replicating this style. On Friday night in Galway, they ticked that box as well.

They have branded their new approach and repeated it over and over in public utterances almost in the hope of it becoming a self fulfilling prophecy. ‘Fast, relentless and adaptable.’ You see that’s the thing about catchy slogans and branding. If there’s substance behind it, the cheesy element almost makes it more compelling. And Friday’s performance in the wind, the rain and the cold was captivating from start to finish.

It wasn’t perfect but Connacht weren’t promising that. Mistakes are going to increase in the risk-taking environment they are in and they coughed up a couple of tries here that they probably wouldn’t have been happy with in past seasons, but probably won’t even think about now. Make no mistake, the Ospreys are good and were always going to have their moments. Yes they were without one or two stars, but they are a top side in this league and had won here with a similar squad in January.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

New boss Shefflin faces another former Kilkenny hero in his first Galway outing

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New Galway team manager Henry Shefflin and coach Richie O'Neill watching the recent Galway county hurling semi-final between Clarinbridge and Craughwell at Kenny Park. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

IT won’t be taking long for new Galway hurling team manager Henry Shefflin to be reunited with his Kilkenny past

For on Sunday, January 9, the Noreside legend faces a sideline collision with former Kilkenny teammate Michael Fennelly.

Not alone that, Shefflin and Fennelly both hail from Ballyhale, a club they helped inspire to a multitude of county and All-Ireland triumphs.

But they will be in opposition camps when Galway host Offaly in the opening round of the revived Walsh Cup in Ballinasloe on the second Sunday of January.

Adding further intrigue to that fixture is that former Galway U21 manager Johnny Kelly and Portumna player Johnny Kelly is continuing to assist team boss Fennelly in his coaching role.

Following that outing, Galway face further Walsh Cup group ties against Antrim in Abbotstown on Sunday, January 16, and Dublin at Parnell Park on Sunday, January 23. The final is scheduled for the final Sunday of the month.

Galway have also drawn Offaly in the opening round of the National League, but that game will be staged at Pearse Stadium on Sunday, February 6.

The Tribesmen’s other league fixtures are: away to All-Ireland champions Limerick on Saturday, February 12; home to Wexford on Sunday, February 27; away to Cork on Saturday, March 5; home to Clare on Sunday, March 20.

Though Galway’s path won’t be crossing with Kilkenny in the league unless they meet in the knock-out stages, a potential Pearse Stadium sell-out is on the cards when the counties collide in their Leinster Championship round-robin fixture on the weekend of April 30/May 1.

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

A freak goal helps to send Salthill Devon on their way

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Knocknacarra FC'S Adam Nolan is at full stretch against Wallison Silva of Merlin Woods FC/Medtronic during the clubs' First Division tie at Cappagh Park. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Salthill Devon 4

Liffey Wanderers 0

Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

SOMETIMES it takes a fluke or a freak goal to turn a game and such was the scenario in Drom on Sunday as Salthill Devon eventually demolished the Dublin visitors in the fourth round of the FAI Junior Cup.

One up courtesy of an early Mikie Fox strike, they proceeded to dominate matters but found little comfort in front of goal. However, a stroke of good fortune came their way on 71 minutes. Aaron Conway fired in a shot that was pushed away by goalkeeper Craig Enriques only for the ball to rebound off inrushing central defender Jose Camarinha for an own goal.

Thereafter, their path to goal seemed easier to find and two later goals put a more respectable gap between two sides who were polar opposites in terms of ability and finishing.

The only issue for Devon after the game was the loss of Vinny Faherty to injury early on and while Rory Brennan and Timmy Molloy are certainly stepping up to the mark regarding goals, the former Galway United player brings a vast experience to the side and his potential loss over the next few weeks could be damaging.

The jet propelled Fox gave the visitors defence a bit of a going over and he opened their account on 12 minutes with a real team goal. The winger on the end of a fine passing movement, before cutting into the box and beating Enriques at the near post for a 1-0 advantage. For all their possession, only a Jackson De Silva close range header that was wide of the target threatened to increase their advantage before the break.

Liffey Wanderers could play a bit, but were not a threat in attack and, indeed, it was sloppy defending that allowed Dean Uzell possession to test Arek Mamala for the only time in the opening half.

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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