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Heartbreak for Mervue Utd in U-14 Soccer Cup final

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Heartbreak for Mervue Utd in U-14 Cup final

There was to be no Irish Cup joy for Mervue United’s U-14 side in the SFAI Goodson Cup final on Sunday afternoon as a lack of a clinical touch eventually allowed holders St Francis to come from a goal down to take a second national title in succession at Jackson Park in Dublin.

Mervue Utd will rue a host of missed first-half chances and a blatant penalty claim after just three minutes which could have changed the complexion of the game as they dominated the opening half.

Having deservedly taken the lead just after the half hour mark through a Ronan Manning free-kick, the Galway side failed to convert their dominance onto the scoreboard and the Dublin side struck a sucker blow in first-half injury time to send the sides in level at the interval.

Despite that blow, Mervue had another excellent chance to hit the front just after the break but failed to take that before the holders showed they did possess a clinical side as they scored twice in five minute period to effectively seal the issue.

Mervue started very brightly and after just three minutes Aaron Connolly – who was a constant threat throughout the first-half – worked his way into the box and just as he was about to pull the trigger was upended, but Dublin referee Tom Shannon awarded St Francis a goalkick.

This setback didn’t seem to affect the young Mervue side as they poured forward in search of an opening goal. Just after the quarter hour mark Manning fed winger Adam Kelleher on the right and he picked out Connolly in the box. The striker took one touch before shooting, but he saw his effort brilliantly pushed away by the Francis keeper Sean Prenter.

Two minutes later and Connolly turned provider as he played a defence-splitting pass to release Kelleher through on the right and the winger advanced into the box but struck his effort just over Prenter’s crossbar. Manning then floated a free-kick into the danger area which Adam Rooney headed back across goal to Connolly who produced a wonderful overhead kick which flew just over Prenter’s crossbar.

Mervue took the lead on 31 minutes after Connolly had been foul about 35 yards away from goal and his strike partner Manning struck an effort past Prenter which did take a slight deflection on the way to the net.

The lead was no more than Mervue deserved and they continued to push forward with Connolly’s strength and power a constant cause for concern for the Dublin side, who were struggling to cope with the big number nine.

But they suffered a blow two minutes into first-half injury-time when St Francis left-back Jack Connor strode forward and unleashed a stunning strike which flew in over the head of Mervue goalkeeper Cian Mulryan to leave the game all square at the break.

Mervue could have hit the front two minutes after the restart as Connolly once again forced his way past two defenders before picking out Colin Kelly in the box and he side stepped the covering defender but saw his low effort well saved by Irish international ’keeper Prenter.

St Francis right back Conor Fitzharris almost headed past his own keeper just after as Prenter scrambled across his goal to bundled the ball away for a corner following a Kelleher ball into the box.

After showing very little in the opening half the Dublin side looked a different proposition in the second period and struck twice in that five minute spell between the 50th and 55th minutes through James Jennings.

Charlie Barry split the Mervue defence with a lovely ball which Jennings ran onto and slotted past Mulryan with the aid of the far post; and then struck a second within minutes as he finished at the back post following a throw into the box which wasn’t dealt with by the Mervue defence.

Mervue continued to battle and push hard to get back into the game as Eoin Broderick headed over and Connolly went close to reducing the deficit back to the minimum but they were caught out for a fourth goal with a minute to go as they pushed forward in numbers.

A long ball forward from impressive midfielder Jack Connolly saw Thomas Caffery chase the ball with covering defender Daniel Brennan as Mulryan advanced to clear but the ball fell to the winger and he cheekily back heeled the ball into the corner.

Huge disappointment for Mervue in the end but it could have been so different if that early penalty decision had gone their way and if they had made their opening half dominance count but they can hold their heads up high as they had already captured a treble this season winning both local league and cup and the provincial Connacht Cup title.

 

CITY TRIBUNE

St Thomas’ rewrite modern-day record books with thrilling final replay triumph

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St Thomas’ Mark Caufield and Kieran Hanrahan of Loughrea in a race for possession during Sunday's Galway Senior Hurling Final replay at Pearse Stadium. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

St Thomas’ 1-15

Loughrea 0-17

John McIntyre at Pearse Stadium

THERE is no doubt about it anymore. St Thomas’ are the most successful team to have graced the hurling fields of Galway in over half a century.

True, they still have ground to make up on Sarsfields, Athenry and Portumna, in particular, on the All-Ireland stage, but the men from Peterswell and Kilchreest continue to rewrite modern-day records on the domestic scene.

Not since Turloughmore in 1965 has a team won five county senior hurling titles on the trot, and the fact that St Thomas’ were pushed to the limit to emulate that achievement only adds lustre to a remarkable sequence of big-day triumphs.

Sunday’s replay at Pearse Stadium had a lot to live up to from the drawn final the previous week, but the second helpings served up by St Thomas’ and Loughrea were every bit as appetising as first-time around. This was another classic when once again you couldn’t be sure about the outcome until the very end.

St Thomas’ have never been taken to the brink like this before in a Galway final. For them to be still champions after two epic contests not only underlines their quality, but also the team’s resilience and redoubtable spirit.

A gallant Loughrea threw everything at the title-holders for the second time in eight days. Playing some glorious hurling and totally committed, they still couldn’t shift Conor Cooney and his colleagues from their lofty perch.

Oh, they had chances to take Sunday’s replay to extra-time, and they will be haunted by late efforts from Neil Keary (twice) and Jamie Ryan which drifted wide of the posts. It was probably the only period over the two matches that Loughrea’s nerve failed them.

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

Treviso visit the Sportsground in what is a must-win clash for home side

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It is not the game you’d have picked out as being a potential season-defining one for Connacht, but defeat at home to Treviso this Saturday (3.15pm) would as good as end the domestic season for the western province with only three chocolates eaten from the Advent Calendar.

Connacht go into the game on the back of yet another game in which they flattered to deceive, a poor display against Munster undoing a lot of the good work of a run of three wins in four games that proceeded last weekend’s trip to Thomond Park.

Head coach, Peter Wilkins, says the players had a tough and hard-hitting review of that game on Monday, and that while they will take the lessons learned from their displays, it is in the past now, with all the focus now on tomorrow’s game.

“The players have been in a really positive headspace, it was a really constructive, but I would say also a confronting review [of the Munster game], and that is what the needed, players taking ownership of mistakes and decision making.

“It is one thing standing up in front of the group and saying ‘I own that’ but it is also about coming up with solutions, how you as an individual or a team can do better next time, they didn’t need picking up emotionally, but there was a fiery determination to do better next time,” he said.

Wilkins, who took over from Andy Friend as head coach ahead of the start of this season, admits that the performance and result against Munster “wasn’t good enough, I think the result and the scoreline reflects that”, but there is no sense of panic in, or pressure on, the squad.

“I don’t think there is an increasing pressure,” he said when asked if Connacht were now entering the realm of must-win games.

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

Thompson the hero as Salthill pull out all the stops in victory

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Salthill Knocknacarra's Lauren O’Donnell secures possession ahead of Chloe Johnston of O’Dwyer's during Sunday's All-Ireland Club Junior Ladies Football semi-final at the Prairie. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Salthill/Knocknacarra 1-7

 O’Dwyer’s 1-6

DARREN KELLY IN THE PRAIRIE

SALTHILL/Knocknacarra’s tales of achievement across all four codes in the last 12 months reached another milestone last Sunday as their ladies football team qualified for the All-Ireland Junior Final.

Last December, the senior hurlers became Connacht champions before the camogie side marched on to a national decider in Croke Park last March.

John O’Mahony’s footballers were just one point short of Moycullen in October’s senior football final. But as the countdown to Christmas began with Friday’s Toy Show, the ladies footballers are 60 minutes away from the club’s biggest present since 2006.

The city side won’t grace Croke Park like their camogie counterparts but overcame torrential conditions to reach to win an All-Ireland semi-final and will face Cork’s Naomh Abán on Sunday week.

Lauren O’Donnell’s goal was the first half highlight as the sun and blue skies graced the occasion, next door to the county senior hurling final replay. But Mother Nature turned vicious upon Loughrea’s defeat in Pearse Stadium and with a half-hour later start, this semi-final felt the full force of the sudden change in weather.

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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