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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.

Connacht Tribune

Cappataggle pull off mighty win despite early loss of Mannion

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Cappataggle's Paul Claffey tussling for possession with Stephen Barrett of Liam Mellows during Sunday's Senior A championship encounter at Kenny Park. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Cappataggle 0-19

Liam Mellows 0-17

CAPPATAGGLE may have watching out for magpies or stocking up on rabbit’s feet all summer in advance of the 2021 Galway senior hurling championship, but when it came down to the big moments in this absorbing SHC first-round fixture, it was their character rather than any lucky charm that got them through it.

Reduced to 14 men following the dismissal of Jarlath Mannion after just two minutes, Cappataggle spent most of their time thereafter chasing a result. However, despite their numerical disadvantage, Tony Nevin’s men never gave up, even if at times, they clung to Liam Mellows like a tired boxer out on their feet.

Four times they came from behind in the second half to tie up the game, the last of which was injury-time when the outstanding Liam Collins belied his young years to show composure to fire over a free to level up the contest at 0-17 apiece.

Collins was again central to the action less than a minute later when he brilliantly snapped a Paul Claffey delivery under pressure and set up substitute James Egan for the lead score three minutes into time added on. It was only Cappy’s second time to lead in the contest, having nudged ahead by a point in the frantic opening minutes of this fixture.

Collins wasn’t finished yet, either. Deep into injury-time, Liam Mellows’ Adrian Morrissey was pulled for over-carrying and the teenager rattled over the free to add the full-stop to what was a remarkable feat by his side.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Athenry let winning hand slip as Reilly goal saves Pearses

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Former Galway minor Dean Reilly who scored a late equalising goal against Athenry in the Senior B hurling championship clash at Duggan Park on Saturday.

Athenry 1-16

Pádraig Pearses 1-16

Ivan Smyth at Duggan Park

A goal in the third minute of injury time from Dean Reilly salvaged Pádraig Pearses a draw in a game that Athenry should have killed off before the corner forward’s late heroics.

When Conor Burke struck an inspirational score in the 58th minute, Kieran Coffey’s side led by six points and seemed destined to pick up a valuable two points to take them to the summit of Group One.

Up until this point Pádraig Pearses were reliant on Emmet Ward frees as the sharpshooter converted 11 placed balls throughout the course of this game. Aside from the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Ballymacward side were hanging on and trying to keep tabs on a youthful Athenry outfit.

Pádraig Pearses showed admirable determination in the closing stages, however, as a well worked Tomas Flannery score and two Ward frees slashed Athenry’s lead to three points in injury time. Athenry saw two efforts drift wide of the posts during this period and they were punished to the extreme.

In the 63rd minute, a precise Fergal Flannery puckout found Jimmy Gelston in space on the Athenry 45 metre line. The substitute cut inside and drew the last defender before handpassing to Dean Reilly who coolly finished to the bottom corner of the net.

To concede a goal in injury time and squander a winning position will no doubt frustrate Athenry, but Coffey and his management team will ponder how Gelston was able to cut inside the defence and offload possession without meeting a forceful challenge. To further rub salt in the Athenry wounds, talented forward Cian Burke limped off before half time with his fitness now a concern ahead of their final two group 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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Connacht Tribune

Ballinderreen blast out of the traps in first round win

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Ballinderreen's Hugh Moylan puts in a strong challenge on Portumna's Owen Treacy during Sunday's Senior B championship clash at Kenny Park. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Ballinderreen 4-15

Portumna 1-19

A savvy first half performance, in which Ballinderreen blitzed Portumna for four goals, laid the foundation for Ray Hayes’ charges to secure a merited opening round victory in Group 3 of the county senior ‘B’ hurling championship at Kenny Park, Athenry on Sunday.

To the fore was Niall Coen, who tallied a hat-trick against their shell-shocked opponents, while Roy Lane also proved a handful in the inside line, netting Ballinderreen’s fourth and finishing with a personal tally of 1-6.

In many respects, Ballinderreen did to Portumna in that opening period what the former All-Ireland senior club champions did to many a team in their best years. And they looked good doing it.

After just two minutes, Coen had the ball in the Portumna net, having seized on a delivery from Kieran Ryan. Ballinderreen hit their second just before the water break when a long ball in from Evan Morgan found Lane and he rifled his effort beyond Ivan Canning from an acute angle to give his side a 2-3 to 0-4 lead.

In this time, Portumna sought to gain a measure of momentum with points from Ronan O’Meara, Joe Canning, who sadly was forced off injured early in the second period, and Neil Connelly (2). However, each time Ballinderreen responded – Luke Prendergast striking over two points and Lane adding a free.

Quite simply, Ballinderreen were buzzing and upon the resumption of play Coen seized on another long delivery – this time from Padraig Lafferty – and hit Portumna for the third goal to make it 3-3 to 0-4.

Over the ensuing 10 minutes, both sides traded points. O’Meara (2), Jack Canning and Joe Canning (free) were on target for Jimmy Heverin’s outfit while Kevin Lane, Roy Lane and Morgan pointed for Ballinderreen.

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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