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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

St Thomas’ rewrite modern-day record books with thrilling final replay triumph

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St Thomas’ Mark Caufield and Kieran Hanrahan of Loughrea in a race for possession during Sunday's Galway Senior Hurling Final replay at Pearse Stadium. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

St Thomas’ 1-15

Loughrea 0-17

John McIntyre at Pearse Stadium

THERE is no doubt about it anymore. St Thomas’ are the most successful team to have graced the hurling fields of Galway in over half a century.

True, they still have ground to make up on Sarsfields, Athenry and Portumna, in particular, on the All-Ireland stage, but the men from Peterswell and Kilchreest continue to rewrite modern-day records on the domestic scene.

Not since Turloughmore in 1965 has a team won five county senior hurling titles on the trot, and the fact that St Thomas’ were pushed to the limit to emulate that achievement only adds lustre to a remarkable sequence of big-day triumphs.

Sunday’s replay at Pearse Stadium had a lot to live up to from the drawn final the previous week, but the second helpings served up by St Thomas’ and Loughrea were every bit as appetising as first-time around. This was another classic when once again you couldn’t be sure about the outcome until the very end.

St Thomas’ have never been taken to the brink like this before in a Galway final. For them to be still champions after two epic contests not only underlines their quality, but also the team’s resilience and redoubtable spirit.

A gallant Loughrea threw everything at the title-holders for the second time in eight days. Playing some glorious hurling and totally committed, they still couldn’t shift Conor Cooney and his colleagues from their lofty perch.

Oh, they had chances to take Sunday’s replay to extra-time, and they will be haunted by late efforts from Neil Keary (twice) and Jamie Ryan which drifted wide of the posts. It was probably the only period over the two matches that Loughrea’s nerve failed them.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Treviso visit the Sportsground in what is a must-win clash for home side

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It is not the game you’d have picked out as being a potential season-defining one for Connacht, but defeat at home to Treviso this Saturday (3.15pm) would as good as end the domestic season for the western province with only three chocolates eaten from the Advent Calendar.

Connacht go into the game on the back of yet another game in which they flattered to deceive, a poor display against Munster undoing a lot of the good work of a run of three wins in four games that proceeded last weekend’s trip to Thomond Park.

Head coach, Peter Wilkins, says the players had a tough and hard-hitting review of that game on Monday, and that while they will take the lessons learned from their displays, it is in the past now, with all the focus now on tomorrow’s game.

“The players have been in a really positive headspace, it was a really constructive, but I would say also a confronting review [of the Munster game], and that is what the needed, players taking ownership of mistakes and decision making.

“It is one thing standing up in front of the group and saying ‘I own that’ but it is also about coming up with solutions, how you as an individual or a team can do better next time, they didn’t need picking up emotionally, but there was a fiery determination to do better next time,” he said.

Wilkins, who took over from Andy Friend as head coach ahead of the start of this season, admits that the performance and result against Munster “wasn’t good enough, I think the result and the scoreline reflects that”, but there is no sense of panic in, or pressure on, the squad.

“I don’t think there is an increasing pressure,” he said when asked if Connacht were now entering the realm of must-win 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.

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

Thompson the hero as Salthill pull out all the stops in victory

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Salthill Knocknacarra's Lauren O’Donnell secures possession ahead of Chloe Johnston of O’Dwyer's during Sunday's All-Ireland Club Junior Ladies Football semi-final at the Prairie. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Salthill/Knocknacarra 1-7

 O’Dwyer’s 1-6

DARREN KELLY IN THE PRAIRIE

SALTHILL/Knocknacarra’s tales of achievement across all four codes in the last 12 months reached another milestone last Sunday as their ladies football team qualified for the All-Ireland Junior Final.

Last December, the senior hurlers became Connacht champions before the camogie side marched on to a national decider in Croke Park last March.

John O’Mahony’s footballers were just one point short of Moycullen in October’s senior football final. But as the countdown to Christmas began with Friday’s Toy Show, the ladies footballers are 60 minutes away from the club’s biggest present since 2006.

The city side won’t grace Croke Park like their camogie counterparts but overcame torrential conditions to reach to win an All-Ireland semi-final and will face Cork’s Naomh Abán on Sunday week.

Lauren O’Donnell’s goal was the first half highlight as the sun and blue skies graced the occasion, next door to the county senior hurling final replay. But Mother Nature turned vicious upon Loughrea’s defeat in Pearse Stadium and with a half-hour later start, this semi-final felt the full force of the sudden change in weather.

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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