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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

O’Keeffe says season’s goal of winning promotion remains very much in United’s sights

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Conor O’Keeffe in action against Cobh Ramblers FC earlier this season. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway United full-back Conor O’Keeffe insists there is no talk in the camp about the upcoming promotion play-offs, with all the focus each week being on the next game up for the side rather than the battle to join champions-elect Shelbourne in the top-flight next season.

A scoreless draw at home to Treaty United last weekend, coupled with a 2-0 win for Shelbourne away to Cork City, means the Dublin side has moved 10 points ahead of United at the top of the table with five games remaining.

Having lost just once all season – a defeat which was inflicted by United – the Tolka Park side are unlikely to let that 10-point lead slip, meaning that United’s hopes of promotion will rest with the play-offs.

O’Keeffe, who turns 28 on Sunday, says that promotion remains the goal of the squad, and that is the focus, not on the route that will be needed to secure that.

“We are taking things one game at a time, if you look beyond that, you forget to do that’s in front of you, so we are not even looking at the playoffs, you have to show up for each game.

“You have to take it just game by game, if you look farther ahead, you get a little carried away and you lose focus, and you just have to keep going.

“We just need to finish as high up the table as we can, anything can happen, it is a funny game at times, football, we have just got to believe – if you don’t believe there is no point, our goal is to get promoted and we still believe we can do that,” O’Keeffe says.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Favourites all advance with ease in the FAI Junior Cup

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Athenry's Seán O'Callaghan heads in his side's second goal despite the best efforts of Paddy Gannon and Shane Trill. Photo: Kennedy-Beirne/Eirefoto.

Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

It might only have been the preliminary round of the FAI Junior Cup, but for certain teams with ambitions, it was hopefully the start of a long trail towards ultimate success, and the four fancied sides all advanced from their games with various degrees of comfort last weekend.

In the only all Premier Division clash, James Ryan secured the match winner as West United saw off St Bernard’s 1-0 in South Park. It was Ryan again who went closest to a second, but his effort on this occasion was thwarted by the woodwork. The victory sets them up for a First Round contest against Tuam Celtic on the last weekend of the month.

Hibernians were 3-2 winners over Dynamo Blues in Bohermore as Shane Hulgraine, Nathan Ward (striker) and an own goal were enough to see off the Tuam side for whom Alex Schmitt scored twice.

Scoreless at the break, Colga did all the damage against Bohemians on the resumption as they ran out 4-0 winners with Neil Greaney (3) and Colm McDonagh sharing the goals – Colga and Hibernians meet in the next round.

As to be expected Athenry were the most comfortable winners of the day as they defeated Renmore 6-0 with three goals coming in each-half. New central defender, Sean O’Callaghan, scored his first goals for the club as he notched a brace, while Adam Duffy, Declan Cullen, Colm O’Donovan and Garvan Broughall were also all on the mark as they set up a neighbourly contest with Corofin United.

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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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

Galway United nearly there but scope for improvement

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Galway United's Joe Gorman on the ball against Kieran Hanlon of Treaty United FC during Friday night's First Division tie at Eamonn Deacy Park. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway United 0

Treaty United 0

A contest between two evenly-matched teams finished in stalemate on Friday night, nudging both sides closer to the play-offs, but leaving neither in doubt that major improvement is needed if they are to escape the doldrums of the First Division.

United shaded things in the first-half, with the visitors being the marginally better side for much of the second until they were reduced to 10 men with the dismissal of former United man, Marc Ludden.

Already providing a stubborn and frustrating resistance to their hosts, Treaty dug in even further following that 73rd minute red card, and with United struggling to find their mojo of late, the game petered out into that predictable scoreless draw.

The league takes another break this weekend with the quarter-finals of the FAI Cup taking centre stage, giving the United camp some additional time to find that spark that has been missing for the past three games following that stirring 3-1 win over Shelbourne in mid-August.

With free-scoring UCD up next for United, that additional time needs to be well spent for, while United are almost assured of the play-offs, they have serious work to do to if they are to take confidence and momentum into those play-offs, and the visit of the Students to the Dyke Road on Friday week will really test the home side.

John Caulfield made two changes to the team which beat Cabinteely the previous week, with Luke Dennison coming in for the suspended Conor Kearns in goals, while Stephen Walsh replaced Alex Murphy at left-back.

The game was preceded by a thunderous minute’s applause from both home and away fans for the late Sam Oji, a man who graced the jersey of both Galway United and of Treaty United’s predecessor, Limerick FC, who died suddenly last month from cancer at the age of just 35.

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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