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Keegan’s intervention to see Galway FC prolong season

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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.

Connacht Tribune

Cappataggle pull off mighty win despite early loss of Mannion

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Cappataggle's Paul Claffey tussling for possession with Stephen Barrett of Liam Mellows during Sunday's Senior A championship encounter at Kenny Park. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Cappataggle 0-19

Liam Mellows 0-17

CAPPATAGGLE may have watching out for magpies or stocking up on rabbit’s feet all summer in advance of the 2021 Galway senior hurling championship, but when it came down to the big moments in this absorbing SHC first-round fixture, it was their character rather than any lucky charm that got them through it.

Reduced to 14 men following the dismissal of Jarlath Mannion after just two minutes, Cappataggle spent most of their time thereafter chasing a result. However, despite their numerical disadvantage, Tony Nevin’s men never gave up, even if at times, they clung to Liam Mellows like a tired boxer out on their feet.

Four times they came from behind in the second half to tie up the game, the last of which was injury-time when the outstanding Liam Collins belied his young years to show composure to fire over a free to level up the contest at 0-17 apiece.

Collins was again central to the action less than a minute later when he brilliantly snapped a Paul Claffey delivery under pressure and set up substitute James Egan for the lead score three minutes into time added on. It was only Cappy’s second time to lead in the contest, having nudged ahead by a point in the frantic opening minutes of this fixture.

Collins wasn’t finished yet, either. Deep into injury-time, Liam Mellows’ Adrian Morrissey was pulled for over-carrying and the teenager rattled over the free to add the full-stop to what was a remarkable feat by his side.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Athenry let winning hand slip as Reilly goal saves Pearses

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Former Galway minor Dean Reilly who scored a late equalising goal against Athenry in the Senior B hurling championship clash at Duggan Park on Saturday.

Athenry 1-16

Pádraig Pearses 1-16

Ivan Smyth at Duggan Park

A goal in the third minute of injury time from Dean Reilly salvaged Pádraig Pearses a draw in a game that Athenry should have killed off before the corner forward’s late heroics.

When Conor Burke struck an inspirational score in the 58th minute, Kieran Coffey’s side led by six points and seemed destined to pick up a valuable two points to take them to the summit of Group One.

Up until this point Pádraig Pearses were reliant on Emmet Ward frees as the sharpshooter converted 11 placed balls throughout the course of this game. Aside from the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Ballymacward side were hanging on and trying to keep tabs on a youthful Athenry outfit.

Pádraig Pearses showed admirable determination in the closing stages, however, as a well worked Tomas Flannery score and two Ward frees slashed Athenry’s lead to three points in injury time. Athenry saw two efforts drift wide of the posts during this period and they were punished to the extreme.

In the 63rd minute, a precise Fergal Flannery puckout found Jimmy Gelston in space on the Athenry 45 metre line. The substitute cut inside and drew the last defender before handpassing to Dean Reilly who coolly finished to the bottom corner of the net.

To concede a goal in injury time and squander a winning position will no doubt frustrate Athenry, but Coffey and his management team will ponder how Gelston was able to cut inside the defence and offload possession without meeting a forceful challenge. To further rub salt in the Athenry wounds, talented forward Cian Burke limped off before half time with his fitness now a concern ahead of their final two group 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.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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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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Connacht Tribune

Ballinderreen blast out of the traps in first round win

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Ballinderreen's Hugh Moylan puts in a strong challenge on Portumna's Owen Treacy during Sunday's Senior B championship clash at Kenny Park. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Ballinderreen 4-15

Portumna 1-19

A savvy first half performance, in which Ballinderreen blitzed Portumna for four goals, laid the foundation for Ray Hayes’ charges to secure a merited opening round victory in Group 3 of the county senior ‘B’ hurling championship at Kenny Park, Athenry on Sunday.

To the fore was Niall Coen, who tallied a hat-trick against their shell-shocked opponents, while Roy Lane also proved a handful in the inside line, netting Ballinderreen’s fourth and finishing with a personal tally of 1-6.

In many respects, Ballinderreen did to Portumna in that opening period what the former All-Ireland senior club champions did to many a team in their best years. And they looked good doing it.

After just two minutes, Coen had the ball in the Portumna net, having seized on a delivery from Kieran Ryan. Ballinderreen hit their second just before the water break when a long ball in from Evan Morgan found Lane and he rifled his effort beyond Ivan Canning from an acute angle to give his side a 2-3 to 0-4 lead.

In this time, Portumna sought to gain a measure of momentum with points from Ronan O’Meara, Joe Canning, who sadly was forced off injured early in the second period, and Neil Connelly (2). However, each time Ballinderreen responded – Luke Prendergast striking over two points and Lane adding a free.

Quite simply, Ballinderreen were buzzing and upon the resumption of play Coen seized on another long delivery – this time from Padraig Lafferty – and hit Portumna for the third goal to make it 3-3 to 0-4.

Over the ensuing 10 minutes, both sides traded points. O’Meara (2), Jack Canning and Joe Canning (free) were on target for Jimmy Heverin’s outfit while Kevin Lane, Roy Lane and Morgan pointed for Ballinderreen.

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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