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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

Only 1,000 a day but Galway Summer Festival still promises to be memorable

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Michael Moloney, CEO of Galway Racecourse.

THERE won’t be many there, but Galway racecourse is pulling out all the stops to make sure the race-day experience is as near normal as possible at Ballybrit next week.

With only a daily attendance of 1,000 – plus industry staff –  the famed Galway Summer Festival will bear little resemblance to the usual throngs associated with the week-long meeting.

But with half the enclosure cordoned off next week, it means the restricted crowd will be more confined which should help in generating something of an atmosphere.

About eight bookmakers will be operating at the festival, and punters will also be able to avail of Tote facilities.

A marquee has been set up in the Boomakers’ Ring from where a table service will be available for the supply of liquid refreshments. There will also be catering stations, and everything will be outdoors.

There will be an industry bubble near the parade ring for jockeys, trainers, HRI personnel and the media which the general public won’t have access to.

Entrance to the racecourse will only be via the Parkmore Road as the centre of the course will remain closed for the duration of the festival.

Given the hot weather, it’s no surprise that 10mls of water is being spread on the course daily and Galway CEO, Michael Moloney, reports that the going on both the National Hunt and flat tracks is good.

“The lads come in around 4am and do the watering overnight to maximise its impact. We are trying to keep on top of the situation, but it’s a bit of a Catch 22 as the forecast is for temperatures to cool and for some rain next Wednesday.”

Though remaining frustrated that their application for a daily attendance of 5,000 was turned down, Moloney believes that the lucky few who attend Ballybrit will still enjoy the festival.

“I think we will have a nice little atmosphere given that the crowd won’t be so spread out,” said Moloney, who expressed delight with the strong level of entries for the meeting.

Though no cross-channel challengers are entered for the Tote Galway Plate, there are three possible contenders from the UK in the Guinness Hurdle –  Copperless, the runaway winner of the Swinton Handicap Hurdle at Haydock in May, Neil Mulholland’s Scottish Champion Hurdle hero Milkwood, and Mrs Hyde, trained by Brian Ellison who has five Galway festival winners to his name.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Anything could happen but Galway ready to give it a go

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Galway's Matthew Tierney of Galway celebrates after scoring his side's second goal in their Connacht semi-final win over Roscommon. The Tribesmen face Mayo in Sunday's provincial final at Croke Park.

TWO of the traditional GAA powerhouses, Galway and Mayo, clash in the Connacht senior football decider as all roads this Sunday lead to … Dublin!

Yes, the more cynical among the GAA fraternity may perceive that the move is finance driven, but, whatever the motive, it does mean that 18,000 supporters have the opportunity to attend one of the great showpieces of the year. In the 16 months that’s just been, we’ll certainly take it.

While the staging of the Connacht decider, due to throw-in at Croke Park at 1:30pm, outside of the province is novel, to say the least, it is not unheard of as Galway and Mayo senior ladies footballers held their Connacht final replay at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick in 2019.

That LGFA game was the curtain-raiser to the clash of Galway and Mayo men in the All-Ireland qualifier series and, while Galway lost out to Mayo in the main event, the Tribeswomen’s victory in their provincial showdown at an ‘outside’ venue beforehand may be a good omen for Sunday.

Other than that, the record books show that Galway and Sligo did meet in the 1922 Connacht final at Croke Park – played in early October 1923. Sligo had won the original fixture – and beaten Tipperary in the All-Ireland semi-final – but a Galway objection resulted in the game being re-fixed for Castlerea.

However, Central Council ordered that it be played at Croke Park. Galway won 2-4 to 2-2, before losing out to Dublin on a 0-6 to 0-4 scoreline in the delayed All-Ireland decider.

At any rate, both Galway and Mayo will seek to make their own piece of history on Sunday. The good news from a Galway perspective is that captain Shane Walsh should be fit to line out, having been forced off with a hamstring injury late on against Roscommon.

“He is fine,” confirmed Galway boss Padraic Joyce at last week’s press conference. “It was a worry the way he pulled up in the game. He had a little bit of a hamstring issue, but it wasn’t torn, just more tightness than anything else. He is fine; he is training away.”

The Kilkerrin/Clonberne sharpshooter’s availability represents a significant boost to Galway. In the National League, he tallied 0-26, 0-16 from placed balls, and, although quieter against Roscommon, he converted two crucial frees in their 2-11 to 0-12 Connacht semi-final victory.

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

Maree/Oranmore and Corrib Rangers claim crucial wins

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Maree/Oranmore FC players celebrate as Eoghan McDonagh lifts the cup following their 3-2 win over Salthill Devon in Eamonn Deacy Park on Tuesday night to clinch the Galway FA U-21 Premier League title. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

Hibernians 2

Corrib Rangers 3

Two years ago, Jimmy Jennings hung up his boots after he had offered a wonderful service to his local club Corrib Rangers, and before that, OLBC. Mainly used as a central defender, but also as a temporary striker, he was 38 at the time and had paid his dues to both clubs.

Of course, the current season is a strange one, with just a one round league and confusion about relegation and as the brief season wound down, Corrib Rangers were in trouble in the lower regions of the table.

A call to Jennings by manager Dave Daly saw the veteran return and after making an initial substitute appearance in a 1-1 draw with Maree/Oranmore, he was introduced on the half hour mark on Sunday in Bohermore and changed the course of the game with two smashing goals.

An equalising header in first half additional time was powerful and morale boosting, before he struck for the winner just four minutes from time.

A lot was at stake in the last game of the Premier Division season. A win for either of the two teams in Bohermore had the potential to move them from the relegation zone – depending on results elsewhere; while draw was no good to either as they would remain in the bottom two.

As matters transpires, the wins for Rangers and Maree/Oranmore has seen them join St Bernard’s on eight points and if there is relegation, it will take a play-off to decide who goes down with bottom of the table Hibernians.

It was the home side who looked the better outfit in the early exchanges, but they struggled to turn possession into opportunities. They did, however, take the lead on 14 minutes when striker Nathan Ward (striker) pass released Alan Conneely and the winger cut in before firing past Gary Martin for a 1-0 advantage.

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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