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Kelly and Flanagan emerge tops in challenging Galway International Rally

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Donagh Kelly and Kevin Flanagan on their way to winning the 2015 Colm Quinn BMW Galway International Rally.

By Sean Hassett

THE 2015 Colm Quinn BMW Galway International Rally will go down in the history books as one of the best ever. Unusually dry weather greeted the drivers over the weekend, but with early morning ice and fog added, the route was extremely challenging for the drivers.

Donegal man Donagh Kelly and navigator Kevin Flanagan in a Ford Focus WRC took their first ever international rally win after driving a faultless event. Kelly commented at the Sunday finish ramp, outside Colm Quinn BMW, that he was “delighted to take the victory” after a very challenging event.

“The rally win to me is even more poignant as I have won the Galway International Rally in a car that was once owned by the late JJ Fleming of Galway,” added the Donegal driver.

Eugene Donnelly put in a late charge to finish second in his Colm Quinn backed MINI WRC. He beat Monaghan man Sam Moffett by a mere .7 of a second after 175 competitive kilometers.

The rally got underway on Saturday morning with the 12.8km Skehanagh stage. Fastest out of the blocks was last year’s event winner, Declan Boyle, in his Subaru WRC, setting a stunning time to pull out a six second advantage over Donagh Kelly.

He extended this lead over stages two and three but it all went wrong on stage four for the Donegal man. The Subaru’s engine refused to start before the stage and thus he incurred a three minute time penalty. This dropped Boyle from 1st overall to 10th just behind Dean Raftery from Craughwell. Raftery was beginning his comeback drive after issues in the morning caused him to hemorrhage time to the leaders.

Donagh Kelly inherited a slender lead over Gary Jennings but on the very next stage Jennings’ challenge ended when his Subaru had an altercation with a Galway dry stone wall. This promoted the Colm Quinn MINI of Eugene Donnelly into 2nd place, fiveseconds ahead of Sam Moffett. The order didn’t change during the final stage of the day with Kelly holding a 38 second lead over Eugene Donnelly overnight. Donnelly, in turn, was six seconds ahead of Sam Moffett.

Sunday morning and Kelly really stamped his authority on the event when he took the fastest time over the infamous Black Road stage. As the crews made their way from the end of the stage to the start of the next, it became apparent that the mornings fog was not clearing and stage 8 had to be cancelled on safety grounds.

By the midday service, Kelly had extended his lead to 47 seconds but the main interest was now between Donnelly and Moffett. They were having a really close battle with seconds being traded on each stage. Donnelly led going into the final loop of stages by a mere one second.

Mofett took the quickest time on the penultimate stage to go ahead by over three seconds. It looked like too big of a margin for Donnellyto make up but he drove the door handles off his Colm Quinn MINI WRC on the final stage to claim second in the rally, only .7 of a second ahead of Moffett.

Donagh Kelly cruised through the final stages, with a comfortable lead over the chasing pack, it was a case of damage limitation. When he came to the finish line of the final stage he was clearly emotional as tears ran down the Donegal man’s face. “I can’t believe it! We have been trying to win an International rally for a long time. We have come close on a number of occasions but to win and in Galway is just amazing.”

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

CITY TRIBUNE

Frustration for Galway as league victory left behind

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Galway’s John Daly breaking clear of Mayo’s Ryan O’Donoghue during Saturday's National Football League clash at MacHale Park. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Mayo 1-11

Galway 2-8

Pádraic Ó Ciardha aqt MacHale Park

IT will have been a frustrating journey home from Castlebar for Pádraic Joyce last Saturday night after Ryan O’Donoghue’s last-gasp point saw his side throw away an opening round victory against Mayo. It won’t just have been one thing annoying the Galway manager either.

First of all, Galway had let slip a precious away win in Division 1, and against Mayo of all sides. Secondly, it was a piece of sloppy Galway play which allowed O’Donoghue the opportunity to snatch the draw. You then had the manager’s frustrations with referee Joe McQuillan after a few questionable calls and, to compound matters, the sight of Rob Finnerty hopping onto the bus with a protective boot and crutches.

Now nearly a week later, it will probably be only the last of those issues that will be causing Joyce any concern. While Finnerty’s injury will be a big setback for Galway, there were plenty of positives to take from the Tribesmens’ performance in MacHale Park.

The final score and some instances of sloppy play certainly gave the hint that this was January football but there were also more than a few signs of play which saw Galway reach last year’s All-Ireland final.

Having named such a strong team, ten of those who started against Kerry in Croke Park lined out in Castlebar, it would have been cause for concern if Galway had looked miles off the pace but that wasn’t the case. Cillian McDaid, John Daly and Damien Comer, All-Star winners in 2022, continued their fine form in the maroon jersey with the likes of Paul Conroy and Seán Kelly showing why they were unlucky to miss out on those awards.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cup winners UG Maree rally to take derby clash

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Maigh Cuilinn's James Connaire stretches to try and block the shot of UG Maree's Cathal Finn. Photo: Ed Shiel.

Maigh Cuilinn 65

UG Maree 77

MAIGH Cuilinn’s season-long failures on offence came back to haunt them once again on Saturday as their hopes of pulling off an ambush against the newly-crowned cup champions crumbled in the final 15 minutes.

Having shown the class to give their local rivals a guard of honour onto the court at the call-outs before the game – and make a presentation to the visitors at half-time to mark their cup success – John Cunningham’s side then overcame a slow start to put themselves in position for just a third win of the season, only to be outscored 30-15 down the stretch.

A hot hand from cup MVP Jarrett Haines had UG Maree 9-2 up early in the game, Haines hitting all but one of those points, but Maigh Cuilinn managed to reel back that deficit, and a 3-pointer from Joe Tummon at the end of the quarter had them trailing 16-15 at the first break.

The had got their noses in front by half-time, with Grant Olsson’s physicality causing UG Maree all kinds of trouble inside on his way to eight points, with the basement side full value for their 38-34 lead at half-time; and when Maigh Cuilinn opened the third quarter with back-to-back 3s from Mateo Dargam and James Connaire to stretch 10 clear, UG Maree looked in     trouble.

Kyle Cunningham threw in another bucket from outside the arc, and Maigh Cuilinn were 50-38 to the good at the mid-way point as the table-toppers struggled for a way back into the game, but they kept their composure and slowly clawed their way back into the game.

Cathal Finn had a massive second-half for Maree, hitting 10 points and doing a brilliant job on Olsson in defence, restricting the American to a single basket in the entire second-half. With that pipeline of scores shut-off to them, Maigh Cuilinn faltered, and a 17-4 run had Maree a point ahead, 55-54, at the end of the quarter.

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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CITY TRIBUNE

Gavin named in Irish side to take on Wales in U-20 Six Nations

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Hugh Gavin in action last month in Donnybrook for the Ireland U-20 in a friendly against Leinster Development. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile.

By Ciarán Ó Flaithearta

The 2023 Six Nations gets underway this weekend in what is also a World Cup year, so there will be plenty of focus tomorrow and Sunday on the Millennium Stadium, Twickenham, and the Stadio Olimpico.

The weekend action gets underway this evening, however, when the U-20 Six Nations campaign gets underway, and the Irish squad named for the game sees two Connacht players in the starting XV, and another two on the bench.

John Devine of Corinthians has been named as inside centre, while Hugh Gavin of Galwegians has been named on the wing. Fiachna Barrett (Corinthians) and Harry West (Buccaneers) have both been named on the bench.

The 19-year-old Salthill native began playing rugby in Crowley Park at the age of six and from there on his love for the sport grew. He played the age group above his own for the first couple of years under coaches Mickey Sherlock, Gerry Lowry, and Gary Gilanders along with his father and former club captain, Barry Gavin, whom he credits for his success and that of his teammates.

“That coaching panel was really good for the club with so many of us going up and playing with the seniors and even playing provincial, it’s a real credit to the coaches.”

Gavin impressed at the underage level, earning himself a spot in the Connacht development squads before going to the next step representing the province in the U-17 squad when they played against Munster.

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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