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Killanin men floored by conceding early second half goals

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St. Croan’s 2-10

Killanin 0-11

KILLANIN’S hopes of winning a sixth provincial club football title for Galway at intermediate level were dashed when they fell at the final hurdle in the Connacht Championship decider against St. Croan’s (Roscommon) last Sunday at Tuam Stadium.

Despite playing their hearts out from start to finish, they narrowly failed to secure provincial silverware which would have crowned a wonderful season. In front of a huge crowd, the Galway champions were well in contention until they conceded two second half goals in a six minute spell.

That formidable double blow proved too much to claw back and St. Croan’s were worthy winners in the end. After an evenly balanced opening period the sides were tied on 0-6 each and the stage was set for another exciting half-hour between two teams that matched each other kick for kick and score for score up to that.

It was 8/7 in Killanin’s favour when the first goal arrived, courtesy of Shane Smyth and when James Connaughton side-footed a second ‘major’ six minutes later it put the Roscommon champions into the driving seat. Try as they might, Killanin just could not make any real dent in the lead despite a huge physical effort and to make matters worse they were reduced to 14 men near the end when corner-forward Niall Walsh, one of their better players, was red-carded on the word of a linesman after getting entangled with an opponent.

Big Kevin Walsh was sent into the fray late on to try to provide some inspiration but after he moved into the full-forward position he was starved of possession and he had to be replaced after limping off with a leg injury. In fairness they lost to a fine team which had a huge win over Ballyhaunis in the semi-final and now meet John Mitchel’s, (Liverpool) next time out. It has, nevertheless, been a great year for Killanin.

A memorable victory over neighbours Moycullen in the county final and promotion to senior football have both been achieved with some style and although they may be down at the moment, they can now take a well earned break and prepare for next year on their own terms. By avoiding the long winter slog that would surely drain their energy, Killanin will be fresh and ready for action when they start next year as a senior club.

They were more than a match for their Ballymoe-Ballintubber opponents in the first half and they had edged into a narrow lead early in the second, only to be undone by those two goals. St. Croan’s had gone close to a sensational start and they might well have netted within seconds of the throw-in. Midfielder Ross Timothy raced away and got clean through the defence, but his shot was brilliantly smothered by Killanin goalkeeper Shane Sheridan.

Wing-back Daniel Malone did give Croan’s the lead with a point shortly afterwards but Cathal Sweeney soon levelled with a superb score and further points by Jonathan Heaney and Patrick Sweeney, following a great run by Ruairi Greene, made it 0-3 to 0-1. Niall Walsh also scored but Michael Holland and Shane Smyth (2) made it level pegging in a fine, sporting contest that was giving great entertainment to the 3,000 crowd.

Full report in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Devon trip-up in Athenry to lose ground in title race

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Knocknacarra's Davy Knight moves in to challenge Ricky Kent of Tuam Celtic at Cappagh Park, last weekend. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Athenry 1

Salthill Devon 0

Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

With a one round league there is not much room for error and in Moanbawn on Wednesday evening, Athenry played as if their lives depended on it as they saw off their fellow Premier Division title challengers in a bruising encounter.

A Cole Connolly goal on 18 minutes was all that separated the teams at the finish, but in fairness the home side offered the greater attacking threat on the night and should have won with something more to spare. For those who witnessed the occasion, it was compulsive viewing.

The commitment and passion brought to the game by both sides was honest as all the players offered everything for their sides cause. However, much as Salthill Devon tried, they were outmanoeuvred by a home side who always offered something extra.

For the duration, it was Athenry who threatened the most and carried the more threat in attack, but twice in the opening half it took two brilliant reflex saves by home custodian TJ Forde to keep them in the game.

A snap shot on six minutes by Gary Shanahan was tipped over at close range by the goalkeeper and he repeated the feat later when denying Jackson de Silva after the big Brazilian got his head to a Timmy Molloy corner. Those efforts aside Devon got very little breathing space from the home back four of Gary O’Connell, Dan Cunningham, Morgan Leggett and Declan Cullen.

After Colm O’Donovan could not connect with a diving header following a Ryan Shaughnessy cross, the home side took the lead shortly afterwards, when visiting custodian Arek Mamala had a clearance half-blocked by Connolly and the rebound fell kindly for the Craughwell native as he executed the perfect lob over the stricken goalkeeper and into the net for a 1-0 advantage.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Lions debut for Aki

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Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw will renew their centre partnership tomorrow when the Lions take on Japan. Photo: INPHO/James Crombie.

Bundee Aki will become the fourth Connacht player to pull on a Lions jersey after he was named in the starting XV that will take on Japan tomorrow in Edinburgh in a challenge game ahead of the summer’s trip to South Africa.

Aki will renew his Connacht and Ireland centre partnership at Murrayfield with Robbie Henshaw in a side featuring six Irish players, with a seventh on the bench.

“That combination obviously goes back to the Connacht days,” Lions head coach, and former Connacht and Ireland head coach, Warren Gatland explained. “It’s the two Connacht lads coming together and I think they are obviously great mates as well, so that kind of helps.”

Aki follows in the footsteps of Ray McLoughlin, John O’Driscoll, and Ciaran Fitzgerald in becoming a Lion while still playing for Connacht, and Gatland says he expects the Connacht man to surprise a few people with the various facets to his game.

Henshaw had moved on to Leinster by the time he was picked for the 2017 tour to New Zealand, but having played against club sides Chiefs, Highlanders and Blues, he had to withdraw from before playing in a test match after picking up an injury against the Hurricanes, but Gatland is expecting great things from their partnership.

“A lot of people sort of see Bundee as someone . . . and we know he is capable of getting the ball across the gain line, but he has got a lot more than just that to offer.

“He has got some real rugby skill, some great footwork, and a passing and offloading game. So, we are expecting some real quality rugby out of both of those two men,” Gatland said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Galway left with lessons to learn after league final loss

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Galway defender Siobhan Gardiner is about to challenge Kilkenny’s Miriam Walsh duruing the National Camogie League final at Croke Park on Sunday Photo: INPHO/Ryan Byrne.

By Eanna O’Reilly

WHEN Galway look back on Sunday’s league final defeat to Kilkenny, they will undoubtedly focus on the third quarter of the game as the period when things went badly wrong. After dominating the opening half, with a three-point lead at the interval, Galway appeared to be in a strong position. By the 39th minute, however, the Tribeswomen found themselves five points behind after an extraordinary turnaround from Brian Dowling’s Kilkenny side.

During that period, the Cats scored 1-5 without reply (all from play) to put themselves firmly in the driving seat. This eight-point turnaround forced Cathal Murray’s side to chase the game for the remainder, which they did admirably, drawing level by the 60th minute. However, the surrender of a strong half time position was something they will be very disappointed with.

Galway began brightly, with some excellent attacking play early in the game. Catherine Finnerty showed her running threat in the opening half, drawing three fouls from the Kilkenny backs. Carrie Dolan had a tremendous first half, taking two good points from play along with five pointed frees. Dolan hit two from the sideline on the Cusack Stand side, from very difficult angles, which were superb.

Sarah Spellman worked hard in the half forward line and had some effective moments, while the inside trio looked dangerous. Ailish O’Reilly, Siobhán McGrath and Aoife Donohue carried a major threat when supplied with possession. McGrath almost put Finnerty through on goal and O’Reilly linked up well with Dolan for two points, while she was fouled for another pointed free.

Donohue drew two fouls, which were pointed, while she also scored herself after a great move involving Niamh Kilkenny and Finnerty. Galway created a major goal chance when Spellman’s attempted shot broke to Dolan, but her effort was saved by Aoife Norris. Unfortunately for the Galway free taker, she missed her easiest placed ball of the day just before half-time.

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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