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Impressive champions cruise past Athenry in mis-match

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Gort's Jason Grealish who scored 1-5 in a man of the match display against Athenry in the county championship in Clarinbridge on Saturday.

Gort 2-27

Athenry 0-15

Mark Walsh in Clarinbridge

DISHING out an 18-point pasting to Athenry would have been unheard of a decade ago, but Saturday’s meeting of Gort and Athenry perhaps showed best the current positions the respective clubs occupy in the Galway hurling hierarchy.

Athenry were competitive for a good 40 minutes, but overall their second half display wasn’t up to scratch, underlined by the fact that they conceded 2-14 and only scored 0-7. A couple of outside factors influenced it.

Firstly, they played without James Divilly or Tom Flynn, both of whom lined out on Sunday for Athenry footballers in the Intermediate county final. Divilly had played right-half back and Flynn centre-half forward against Padraig Pearses and Ardrahan the two weekends previous. Secondly, it would have taken an extraordinary set of circumstances for Athenry to have qualified from Group B for the last eight.

The biggest reason as to why Athenry were over-ran after half-time though, was the quality of the opposition they were facing in the reigning county champions. Gort have some way to go to emulate the three All-Ireland club titles that Athenry have collected, but win this weekend against Portumna, and the momentum they’ll have gathered could propel them to a third county title in five years, and after that who knows.

Portumna will have had two weeks off since their tight win over St. Thomas’, and while Gort strolled to a facile win in the final quarter, there were a number of positives to take from their display.

With Gerry Quinn only being sprung from the bench, they showcased the strength of their squad, and the ability of different players to put their hand up on different days was noteworthy. Jason Grealish was outstanding against Athenry. Not only did he score 1-5 from play, but he was so often the catalyst for good Gort moves and scores.

Aidan Harte would have pushed Grealish for any Man of the Match award gong, and Richie Cummins also deserves mentioning for shooting 0-8 from play, four in four second half minutes towards the end. Gort could afford to withdraw Greg Lally seven minutes into the second half, the substituting of one of their inter-county contingent being more for an injury precaution than anything else.

One suspects Lally will be fine to play Portumna in Athenry on Sunday, a venue Gort will be more accustomed to than Clarinbridge. It was the first time a senior championship fixture was held in Clarinbridge this year, and considering all the sporting action taking place last weekend, a healthy crowd was in attendance for the Saturday afternoon throw-in.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Murtagh and Keogh edge closer to fulfilling their Olympic dreams

John McIntyre

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The Irish women's four of Emily Hegarty, Fiona Murtagh, Eimear Lambe and Aifric Keogh winning their heat at the European Rowing Championships in Italy last Friday.

AS the crow flies, Fiona Murtagh and Aifric Keogh were reared on the west wing of Galway city about six miles from each other.

Due to a three-year gap in their ages, their club and university rowing careers didn’t overlap, but now the Galway pair are an integral part of an Irish Women’s Four which is on the brink of qualification for this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Murtagh from Moycullen and Keogh from Na Forbacha, together with Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty, have next month’s Olympic qualifying regatta in Lucerne in their sights after the crew’s spectacular effort in the European Championships over the weekend.

The Irish four came within half a second of claiming gold at the expense of reigning champions, the Netherlands, with a powerful late surge that saw them overhaul Great Britain for silver medal glory.

You’d imagine that now being the second highest rated in Europe would automatically qualify the Irish crew for Tokyo, but that’s not how rowing works and all hinges on the outcome in Lucerne in May.

The six A finalists from the World Championships in 2019 automatically won their passage to the Olympic Games, with Ireland and China also expected to get through when they lined up for the B final held in Linz, Austria.

Ireland and China were in the favoured middle lanes based on times posted already in the championships, but a strong crosswind had a disproportionate impact on their performance, allowing the more sheltered boats of Great Britain and Canada to clinch the two remaining Olympic qualifying places.

Keogh was on that Irish crew, with fellow Galwegian Murtagh stepping up to international level in the interim. Though both were delighted and proud of their silver medal winning performance on Sunday, they are already focused on next month’s date with destiny.

The Irish women will remain in Italy to continue their preparations for Lucerne and when speaking to the Connacht Tribune on Monday, Aifric and Fiona wanted to articulate their appreciation for all the messages of congratulations they have received since winning European silver.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

United are ‘bulling to go’ after additional week off

Keith Kelly

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The CEO of the Bons Secours Hospital, Gerry Burke (centre) pictured with United manager, John Caulfield; and Galway United commercial manager, Francis Kelly, as he announced an extension of the partnership deal which sees the Bons continue to be the club’s official healthcare partner for the 2021 season. The partnership will continue to provide Galway United FC with access to the state-of-the-art facilities and resources at the hospital.

The frustration felt by the Galway United squad at making what turned out to be an unnecessary trip to Dublin for last Friday’s league game with Cabinteely pales in comparison to the frustration felt by the players at not getting the chance to get the previous weekend’s game against Athlone Town out of their system.

United were beyond bad in that game in the Midlands, and were lucky to only be on the receiving end of a 3-1 defeat. John Caulfield described the first-half performance in particular as the worst of his reign, and vowed there would not be a repeat.

The United manager says his players had worked hard in training and were “bulling to get going” last Friday, but he says that sense of urgency will simply transfer to his side for this evening’s visit of the league’s newest side, Treaty United, to Eamonn Deacy Park (7.45pm).

“I suppose it was good to get another week under our belts, especially for the lads who had been struggling with knocks, but to be honest with you, the lads were bulling to get going last weekend to get that Athlone performance out of their system.

“We spoke honestly in the week after that game and we were ready to get that performance out of our system. We had trained well, so the lads were disappointed not to have a game last weekend, but it gives other fellas an extra week,” Caulfield told City Sport this week.

That weekend off has given the likes of Killian Brouder, Padraic Cunningham, Conor O’Keeffe and Caoilfhionn O’Dea additional time to recover from knocks, though Caulfield says the latter two in particular are a doubt for tonight.

It has also given Ronan Manning an extra week of recovery from an injury that has seen him yet to make an appearance for United in either preseason or the league since his return to the club from Athlone Town in December, though Caulfield says the playmaker is not far from a return.

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

Utd hope to sign off a strange week by toppling Treaty men

Keith Kelly

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Galway United’s Stephen Walsh who will be hoping the Tribesmen make home advantage pay against Treaty United at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night.

GALWAY United will go looking for their first win of the season on the pitch this Friday when they welcome the league’s newest club, Treaty United, to Eamonn Deacy Park (7.45pm), having apparently opened their account in the ‘W’ column last Friday against the league’s second newest club without kicking a ball either in anger or pleasure.

United are expected to be awarded the three points for last Friday’s scheduled game against Cabinteely in Dublin, a tie which was called off by the the home side just over two hours before kick-off due to a case of Covid-19 in their camp.

The travelling United party had already made its way to Dublin – in two buses in order to comply with social distancing – and had just finished their prematch meal and were about to depart their stop-off point, a hotel in Leopardstown, when word came through that the game was off.

It subsequently emerged that there were rumours flying around Dublin all week that the game was likely to be called off as, it was claimed, a number of players at Cabinteely were deemed close contacts of a confirmed Covid-19 case at the club.

Some of those rumours had travelled down the M6 to reach Galway, but United prepared as normal for the game, and were understandably hugely frustrated at having gone to the expense and effort to travel to Dublin in two separate groups, only to have a game that was apparently under threat for much of the week called off at such a late stage

“Following discussions with the HSE around a positive Covid-19 case at the club, Cabinteely FC have informed the League of Ireland that they are unable to field a team for the scheduled SSE Airtricity First Division fixture against Galway United,” read a statement issued by the FAI at 5.41pm last Friday.

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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