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Connacht Tribune

Late heartbreak for gallant Connacht in South Africa

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Cheetahs 26

Connacht 25

ONLY seconds remained in Saturday evening’s PRO14 clash in the heart of South Africa as Connacht players stood under the posts no doubt mulling over all manner of things, but mostly just watching on helplessly as Neil Marais expertly slotted the kick that edged his side in front. It was a smash and grab job from the hosts, they had saved themselves right at the end.

Connacht were crestfallen on the final whistle as this was without doubt the most gut-wrenching finish to a game since Kieran Keane arrived as they had done more than enough to earn what would have been only the second away win by any side this season at the high altitude Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein. The Cheetahs got out of jail then, keeping their play-off hopes very much on track in their first ever season in the competition.

It was already an historic first ever fixture for the province in the southern Hemisphere and after dominating the second and third quarter of the contest where they outscored their opponents 25-6, Connacht looked on the verge of a victory that would have had its own little spot in the provincial annals. Yet a bad start and a shaky finish – where questionable refereeing calls only added to the frustration – left Keane and his side gutted at full time. A season of disappointments continues in this competition.

Giving any team a ten-point head start is almost always a pivotal error but considering the venue and the strength of opposition, Connacht’s start was almost unforgivable. Missed tackles and indiscipline gave the Cheetahs the platform but even then, the main error came at the breakdown as a combination of players went to sleep in the pillar positions and powerful number 8 Uzair Cassiem took full advantage, charging through a gap unopposed.

Kicking in high altitude must be an enjoyable experience for exponents of the art, Marais’ certainly demonstrated as much with an 87% strike rate over the day, including some long range belters, his tenth minute effort had his side 10-0 ahead in the contest with Connacht looking to be gasping for air after every series of play.

 

Full report in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Clifden break new ground with a five-star final show

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Clifden's Gearoid King, who has Michael O'Toole in support, breaking out of defence against St Ronan's of Roscommon during Saturday's Connacht Club Junior Football Final at Hyde Park. Photos: Bernie O'Farrell.

Clifden 1-16

St Ronan’s 0-10

John McIntyre at Hyde Park

A lot can change in one year. Just ask the mould-breaking Clifden junior Gaelic footballers for confirmation.

In the space of 12 months, Galway’s most westerly Gaelic football bastion has gone from fighting relegation to being crowned Connacht champions.

It’s some turnaround in fortunes by any standards, and Clifden are not finished yet with an All-Ireland Club semi-final to look forward to in early January.

Having taken out highly-rated Islandeady of Mayo in the semi-final, suddenly the burden of favouritism for provincial glory fell on Clifden’s shoulders, but they made light of this new-found status at Hyde Park on Saturday.

Coming up against St Ronan’s of Roscommon – a club which was fighting for survival itself just five years ago – in the Connacht final, a progressive Clifden outfit carried too much firepower and quality for opponents who are based close to the Sligo border.

Having suffered defeat in the club’s two previous provincial final appearances – in 2006 and 2015 – Clifden were determined to make it third-time lucky and the fact their supporters rarely had cause for concern underlines how much they were in control.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

An Spidéal raise their game after being hit by black card

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Kinvara full forward Joshua O’Connor is challenged by Liam Ó Fatharta and Eoin Ó Conghaile of An Spidéal during Saturday's County U19 B Football Final at Tuam Stadium. Photos: Iain McDonald.

An Spidéal 1-10

Kinvara 1-6

Eanna O’Reilly at Tuam Stadium

AN Spidéal claimed the county under 19 B football title on Saturday following an entertaining contest with North board winners Kinvara at Tuam Stadium.

The Connemara side were deserving winners on the day as they played the superior football for long spells. Nevertheless, they were well tested by a hard working Kinvara side, who produced a strong third quarter performance and took the lead in the 43rd minute.

An Spidéal weathered the storm however, to take control of the contest in the final quarter, scoring the final five points of the game to deservedly take the title.They displayed a greater ability to generate scores from play, which made all the difference in the end. An Spidéal’s tallied 1-6 from open play, while Kinvara were held to 0-3 by comparison.

Both sides deserve credit for serving up an entertaining spectacle in tricky conditions at Tuam Stadium. Kinvara played against the wind in the opening half but made a bright start when Oisín Ivers pointed from the right corner.

An Spidéal replied with their first score, which proved to be a major one. A strong run from Liam Ó Conghaile saw him break through Kinvara’s defence before firing a shot to the bottom corner past Shaun Philips.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

A glimpse back to darker days when we turned on each other

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A photo taken in happier pre-civil war times on October 27, 1921, at the wedding of Kevin O’Higgins (centre) to Birdie Cole (centre front). O’Higgins is flanked to his right by Eamon de Valera and on his left by Rory O’Connor, the latter to be executed just over a year later on the orders of O’Higgins. Photo: Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

One of my regrets in childhood and younger life was that I never really got to know my ageing father. There was a rural way of life back through the 20th century where older farmers tended to marry younger women, one of the consequences being that by the time the youngest of the children had reached teenage years, their father would have slipped into old age.

It wasn’t all bad though and as a child, I’d hear first-hand stories of what times were like during The Troubles from the War of Independence through to the Civil War. My father wouldn’t always talk about it that often, but here and there, he’d mention tales of hiding behind walls when they’d hear the sound of Crossley Tenders – lightweight lorries which carried parties of Black-and-Tans across the country to ‘put manners’ on the restless natives.

Tales of guns and ambushes were quite frightening but also somewhat alluring yarns for a young lad of 11 or 12 summers as here and there, my father would mention that what followed on after the hated Black-and-Tans was even worse. He would recount tales from the Civil War and how even the closest of families were torn apart, depending on whether they were pro-Treaty or not.

He would point to a spot on a field where IRA members fired shots at the Free State-controlled railway station in Ballyglunin, or maybe a house where two brothers fought on opposite sides during the Civil War. As years passed, and elderly parents moved on, talks of the Tans and the Treaty faded, but of late with the 100th anniversary of so many awful events in 1922 now being recalled, curiosity again took hold.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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