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Keegan’s intervention to see Galway FC prolong season

Keith Kelly

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Gary Shanahan's had a goal bound headerr handled on the line on Friday night, but Ryan Manning's subsequent penalty was saved by Shels' 'keeper, Nathan Murphy.

Shelbourne 1

Galway FC 1

Jake Keegan cemented his status as a cult hero amongst Galway FC fans when he headed home a deserved equaliser five minutes from time in Tolka Park on Friday night to all but secure a promotion play-off spot for Tommy Dunne’s side.

Keegan’s goal means Galway FC go into next Sunday’s final game of the season three points clear of Wexford Youths, who are the visitors to Eamonn Deacy Park, but with the Tribesmen enjoying a far superior goal difference, Wexford will need a winning margin of seven goals if they are to leapfrog their hosts.

Friday had all the hallmarks of it being just one of those nights for Galway FC when nothing would go right as home goalkeeper Nathan Murphy had the kind of inspired performance that would have fitted in perfectly with a storyline from Roy Race’s Melchester Rovers (younger readers – ask your dad!).

He pulled off a series of top-drawer saves, including saving a 60th minute penalty from Ryan Manning, but he was eventually beaten five minutes from time with the deftest of headers from Keegan. Manning picked up possession wide on the left and curled the ball into the box, and Keegan timed his run to perfection, running across the defenders to meet the ball at the near post and while Murphy got a hand to the ball, he couldn’t prevent it from crossing the line.

As expected, Alex Byrne slotted into the heart of midfield on Friday night in place of the suspended Ryan Connolly in the only change from the side that snatched a 96th minute winner against Cobh Ramblers the previous Saturday.

As for the hosts, they made a staggering five changes to the side beaten away at Finn Harps that same weekend, with the injured Gary Dempsey the only enforced change in that quintet. They adopted the traditional 4-4-2 formation, but at times it was if they were playing with just two central defenders at the back as full-backs Brian Gannon and Lee Desmond pushed right up alongside – and often ahead of – their two wingers.

That should have meant they were vulnerable to the counter-attack, but for that to happen, Galway FC needed possession, and the visitors had hardly a kick of the ball in the opening 10 minutes. For all that, a lot of the Shelbourne play was lateral, with Conor Gleeson never called in to action.

The visitors finally began to settle, and Keegan found space to drive at the heart of the home defence just as the clock ticket into double digits, holding off John Sullivan to create the opening, but he lashed a shot wide as his balance deserted him.

He turned provider two minutes later when exploiting the space vacated by Gannon to curl an inviting cross into the box, but Vinny Faherty didn’t know whether to head it or stick a leg out, and in the end did neither.

Galway had overcome their early nerves and they grew as a threat, with the pace of Manning and Gary Shanahan proving such a concern for the home side that Gannon took the proverbial ‘one for the team’ when hauling Manning down just five yards inside the Shels half as the underage international looked set to skin him and head for goal.

But it was Keegan who was proving to be the biggest thorn in the side of Shels, and only a fine save by Murphy denied him the opener in the 20th minute after he rode the challenge of two defenders, and skipped past the would-be tackles of two more.

Galway were applying all the pressure, but they needed to turn it into a goal. They almost got one in the 32nd minute when Murphy opted to punch, rather than catch, a Manning free-kick. The ball landed at the feet of Paddy Barrett, who hit it on the half-volley, and while Murphy was beaten, Willo McDonagh was on hand to clear off the line. And then Shels scored.

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

CITY TRIBUNE

Sporting stars and coaches offer ideas on how to make it

Stephen Glennon

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Carnmore's Paul Kilgannon who interviewed successful coaches and sports stars for his latest book: Be The Best You Can Be In Sport: A Book for Irish Youth.

WITH contributions from 50 sports stars and coaches, Paul Kilgannon’s second book, ‘Be The Best You Can Be In Sport: A Book for Irish Youth’ offers a succinct blueprint for any youth looking to excel in their chosen sport – and, indeed, for those coaching aspiring athletes.

In recent years, Kilgannon’s reputation has grown, particularly since he released his first book, ‘The CARVER Framework’, which focused on the development of the child and young player through a coaching model which the Carnmore native formulated.

While that book was a great success, his latest offering, released just before the Christmas, looks set to surpass it given the amounts of plaudits it has received locally and nationally, with the likes of The Irish Examiner and The Irish Times referencing it among their sports books of 2020.

Then again, one only has to look at those who contributed to the book to see why. They include Henry Shefflin and Eamonn O’Shea (hurling), Kieran Donaghy and Johnny Cooper (Gaelic football), Stuart Lancaster and Andy Friend (rugby) and Mick McCarthy and Kevin Doyle (soccer).

There are also contributions from a number of Galway coaches and sports stars, among them Corofin footballers Gary Sice and Liam Silke, sports psychologist Tony Óg Regan, physio David Hanly and expert game analyst Dave Morris.

One area Kilgannon was also conscious to promote was young females in sport and some of the role models who lent their experience are ladies footballers Rena Buckley and Valerie Mulcahy (Cork) and Sinead Aherne (Dublin), former Republic of Ireland international Claire Scanlan, Ireland rugby player Lindsay Peat and athletics star Nadia Power.

“That (having the female perspective) was something that was really important,” says Kilgannon. “I tied in early with the 20×20 group and they got me a few (interviewees). I struggled with female coaches, though. I didn’t get one or two of them over the line, and there is not a huge body of them there or, at least, that I’m aware of.”

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

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

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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

Daithí Burke who is likely to be Galway’s only All Star between hurling and football in 2020.

John McIntyre

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Daithí Burke who is likely to be Galway's only All Star between hurling and football in 2020.

NINE Galway players between hurling and football are in line for All-Stars awards in 2020, but the county may have to settle for just one honour.
Aidan Harte, Daithí Burke and Padraic Mannion are all nominated in defence for the hurling team, with Joe Canning, Conor Whelan, Brian Concannon and Cathal Mannion shortlisted for recognition up front.
Galway’s two nominations for the football team – which is set to be dominated by six-in-a-row champions Dublin – are team captain Shane Walsh and the long-serving Paul Conroy.
The anticipation is that only Daithí Burke will make the final cut – a scenario which would see the Turloughmore man win a fifth All-Star award, emulating the feat of Galway greats Joe Cooney, Pete Finnerty and Joe Canning.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Connacht aiming to close the deal this time in refixed clash

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Connacht’s Alex Wootton breaking the tackle of Munster’s Chris Farrell at the Sportsground in their previous outing. The Westerners host the Ospreys in a re-arranged PRO14 tie on Sunday.

RUGBY returns to the Sportsground on Sunday as Connacht take on the Ospreys in a re-arranged PRO14 clash that will kick off at 3pm. Two rounds of European action have been postponed, the Six Nations is on the horizon and players are just keen to be playing rugby, so rarely has a simple league clash against a Welsh region brought so much enthusiasm within the competing squads.

Connacht will be looking to maintain their position among the top three in their conference over the next couple of months. A place in the March 27 final seems beyond them after the narrow defeat to Munster last time out, but securing their place in the Champions Cup for a third successive season would be a major achievement. Head coach Andy Friend underlined the mood in the camp this week.

“We were disappointed to see the European games postponed but I’m pleased we have a fixture to slot in here. This is good for us. It was also good to have one week away from the Sportsground. There’s always a lot going on but just not to have to come in to the office for a few days was good for everyone. People bounced back in this morning and there’s a spring in their step.”

This tie fell by the wayside in November and once the European competitions were postponed two weeks ago, both parties jumped at the chance of bringing the fixture forward to keep momentum going with the Ospreys having won five of their last six games in all competitions and Connacht coming off some high octane if ultimately disappointing run of results during the same period – the one exception being the famous win in the RDS against Leinster.

The main feature in Connacht’s defeats has been indecision and critical errors in the closing minutes of games. Against Racing 92, Bristol, Ulster and Munster, Connacht had late chances to either win games or at least secure some much needed bonus points and on each occasion, the westerners failed to keep their composure and execute. Friend spoke about the impact of those mistakes this week.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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