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Lynskey’s young squad defy the odds once again in terrific win

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Galway's Jack Coyne picks off a point in the first-half of Sunday's All-Ireland minor hurling final despite the best efforts of Tipperary's Darragh Peters. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Galway 4-13

Tipperary 1-16

WHEN Tipperary’s Stephen Quirke levelled Sunday’s All-Ireland minor final for the eighth time on 35 minutes, there was a sense that this could well become the third Croke Park appearance in succession in which this Galway team would feature in a nerve-shreddingly tight finale.

Within five astonishing minutes, though, Galway had shook the Premier County to their core, registering 2-2 without reply as goals from substitute Liam Forde, with his first touch, and Cianan Fahy propelled Jeffrey Lynskey’s well-drilled side towards a victory that will taste even more sweet given the fact that they were underdogs in all four of the games contested in 2015.

Yet now they stand proudly as the county’s tenth national minor champions, captain Seán Loftus accepting the Irish Press Cup on behalf of his jubilant team-mates, after a team performance that was laced with character, intensity, hard work, and, most importantly, clinical finishing when it was needed most.

Clarinbridge’s Evan Niland picked up the Man of the Match award and contributed handsomely as a full forward unafraid to take on his man and a dead ball expert. There were plenty of other heroes, though, with Shane Bannon and sweeper Loftus shining brightest amongst a disciplined defence, while Jack Coyne, Jack Grealish, Thomas Monaghan, and Brian Concannon all contributed handsomely.

Most importantly, though, this was a one-to-fifteen and beyond team effort in which everyone played a vital role. Lynskey and his backroom team of Shane Cusack, Gavin Keary, and John Commins have worked diligently to build a special team ethos within this group and the fruits of their labour were plain to see as pre-match favourites Tipperary were relentlessly hounded, pressurised, blocked, and hooked for the hour and more.

As the ensuing senior decider cruelly demonstrated, it is usually the side that can work harder for longer that will prevail in a closely matched encounter, and in this instance it was Galway who were able to sustain their energy levels and call on impact substitutes as Tipperary’s dual stars faded badly in the second half.

The opening half hour had been a cagey, tit-for-tat battle in which Galway had produced the rare moments of top quality hurling. Tipperary had their moments, but critically failed to convert goal chances that could really have sparked their attempt to win the county’s seventh minor title from eight final encounters with the Tribesmen.

Galway began sharply and had two well struck frees from Niland on the board in no time, Clarinbridge club-mates Niland and centre half back Ian O’Brien drawing the fouls. Despite Hawkeye ruling out Alan Tynan’s earlier effort, Tipperary then rattled off two quick scores from Lyndon Fairbrother and Tommy Nolan.

As an early sign of the Galway full-back line’s determination, Kilnadeema-Leitrim’s Ciarán Connor then won a race for possession with Fairbrother, before sending a clever ball up the sideline where Cianan Fahy batted back to Jack Coyne, who split the posts, albeit the umpires again were calling for Hawkeye to decide.

Coyne and Grealish were already leading by example at midfield, the Gort midfielder letting Tipp have nothing easy while Loftus was already stationed in a roving sweeper role. This left Brian McGrath the spare man at the other end and he held the centre back space he had been allotted to good effect.

Fairbrother popped over a free from the right sideline for Tipperary, but was wide soonafter with another. In the 13th minute, their target man Garry Ryan burst onto a breaking ball, galloped clear and drove a shot that appeared destined for the corner of the net before goalkeeper Darragh Gilligan’s outstretched hurl magnificently diverted the sliotar away for a ’65, which McGrath drove over.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Brilliant UG Maree pull off historic National Cup win

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UG Maree's Head Coach Charlie Crowley celebrates with the National Cup after their final victory over DBS Eanna in the National Basketball Arena on Saturday night. Photos: INPHO/Ben Brady.

DBS Eanna 69

UG Maree 74

By Keith Kelly in Tallaght

THE Fields of Athenry rang loud around the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght last Saturday night as University of Galway Maree became the first Galway side to capture top-flight silverware when claiming the Pat Duffy Cup in a thrilling end-to-end contest.

Written off and under-estimated – and at times, just simply insulted as well – Charlie Crowley’s side put in a display for the ages to claim a thoroughly deserved win on what was a stunning week for Galway basketball, with UG Mystics capturing the women’s U-20 National Cup, Colaiste Mhuire Mathair claiming the U-16 B Boys Schools’ Cup, and Calasanctius College capturing the U-16 A Girls’ Schools Cup.

Somewhat off the boil in the first half, New York’s Jarrett Haines sprung to life in the second-half when writing his own Bronx Tale at the home of Irish basketball, his 35-points display in the game earning him the undisputed MVP award.

But he was just one of a host of stars wearing jerseys that sported the blue of Maree and the maroon of Galway: Rodrigo Gomez finished with a double-double of 13 points and 20 rebounds; and Zvonomir Cutuk threw in 15 points of his own despite shipping a nasty-looking gash at the side of his head that required heavy bandaging at half-time.

Eoin Rockall and Stephen Commins showed the leadership you want from your captains. It was fitting that Commins opened the scoring with one of his trademark looping shots from beyond the 3-point arc, and he was a monster in a defensive performance from the entire Maree squad that forced Eanna into pot-shots from deep, and a return of 25% from the outside shots they were so heavily reliant on was never going to win the Dublin side the game.

Only Haines topped Rockall for time on the court for UG Maree, showing the importance to the side of a man steeped in the club, and his haul of six rebounds and nine assists was further evidence that he is the beating heart of the side.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Colga rise to the occasion in pulling off a big cup surprise

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The Colga team which defeated North End United of Wexford in the FAI Junior Cup. Back row, left to right: Mark Greaney, Conal Harkin, Jack O'Neill, Cian Greaney, Neil Greaney. Front row: Liam Corcoran, Joe Gaughan, Borios Ajang, Calum Browne, Peter Greaney, Ben Lalor.

Galway Soccer Wrap by Mike Rafferty

THERE was no shortage of drama involving all three Galway League sides in the FAI Junior Cup on Sunday as Colga provided the shock of the fifth round with a 2-1 away win over Wexford side North End United.

Salthill Devon survived via the penalty shoot out route over Clonmullion FC in Kildare, while as usual spot kicks did no favours for Athenry as they exited against Fairview Rangers.

Of all the local sides in action, Colga looked to be the one team that had it all to do but their second victory on the road was achieved in dramatic fashion. They took a 13th minute lead when Joe Gaughan curled in a cracking free kick from outside the box after Neil Greaney was fouled to put them1-0 up.

It was an advantage they enjoyed until the home side levelled matters on 70 minutes and by then North End were also reduced to ten men. Colga secured the winner on 89 minutes when Ben Lalor rose majestically in the box to head home a Mikie Donoghue corner. They had to endure seven minutes of additional time, which they survived with the minimum of fuss.

This contest was one of those games when manager Iggy Greaney had a full and fit panel to choose from, and they played with a confidence that you get from being successful. With goalkeeper Mark Greaney generally untroubled as the home side went the long ball route and Neil Greaney central to the visitors’ performance, Colga got belief from the early score and, indeed, Gaughan was just off target with another effort just after his goal. After two away games, Colga might like a stroke of luck when the last 16 draw takes place this week and be awarded with a home tie.

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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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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Connacht Tribune

Shamrocks hit the goal trail with big win in minor A final

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Brian Griffin, Chairperson of the Galway Camogie Board, presenting the Minor A Cup to Shamrocks Captain Ally Hesnan.

Shamrocks 5-12

Sarsfields 1-9

By Eanna O’Reilly at Duggan Park

SHAMROCKS claimed the 2022 Minor A camogie title after producing a tremendous performance to overcome Sarsfields in Ballinasloe on Sunday. Des O’Halloran’s charges gave a goal scoring exhibition in a contest which was generally more competitive than the final margin would suggest.

Nevertheless, Shamrocks were by far the superior team on the day, and their ability to engineer scores was top class throughout this final. Three green flags in the first half was the difference, giving the Loughrea/Kilnadeema-Leitrim ladies a seven point interval lead, after an opening period which was competitive.

In the second half, Shamrocks really took off and left their opponents behind, dominating throughout the pitch, with a number of excellent individual displays. The most eye catching of all was corner forward Emily Lawless, who took home the player of the match award after tallying 1-3 and being a thorn in Sarsfields’ side throughout this final.

Played on a sticky pitch surface, both sides displayed a good level of sharpness in producing a high quality contest. Sarsfields opened the scoring when Caoimhe Kelly pointed a third minute free. Shortly after, Niamh McInerney’s dipping free ended up in the roof of the net, giving Shamrocks a huge boost.

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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