Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Sports

Magnificent westerners crown great season with fairytale win

Published

on

Connacht full back Tiernan O'Halloran touches down for his side's first try during the Guinness PRO12 Final against Leinster at Murrayfield on Saturday. Photo: John Dickson/ Sportsfile

Connacht 20

Leinster 10

THE audacity of it all. The rugby team that represents the province of Connacht are now PRO12 champions after a campaign where they made a mockery of conventional wisdom in every conceivable way and a mesmerising performance in this final that neatly encapsulated the ambition and talent underpinning all that had gone before.

At a sun drenched Murrayfield on Saturday, the masterplan reached fruition and the heroes in green scorched Leinster with three never to be forgotten tries and 80 minutes of uncompromising, unyielding and uninhibited rugby. The perfect day.

Yet this match report can’t do the afternoon justice by merely covering the 80 minutes of rugby on the field. This game started at 4:10, not 5:30. It started when the Connacht team bus turned off Roseburn Street and in through the gates of Murrayfield. Players and management immediately spotted the sea of green that was there to greet them. ‘Game on’, the must have thought.

The bus pulled up outside the west stand entrance and thousands of supporters in green bellowed out the loudest and most haunting rendition of the Fields of Athenry one is ever likely to hear as the team got off the bus and walked in. Pat Lam led the way, briefly turning around to take it all in, looking up on the packed steps and balconies all around that had provided a natural amphitheatre to the whole scene.

Afterwards, Lam spoke of the emotion in the Connacht dressing room after that welcome and his belief that it would only bring a positive reaction. The notion of hype or pressure from your own fans affecting performance has always been a ridiculous one and the novice finalists from the western province underlined as much by conjuring up a performance that has had the rugby world talking ever since.

The winning of the game came in the first half hour, Connacht withstood some early testers as Jamie Heaslip and Leinster came out with a fire and brimstone effort. However, the men in white were repelled and repeatedly disrupted by the westerners in the first ten minutes. Tom McCartney, Ultan Dillane and Eoin McKeon notched up some huge tackles during that period.

Such tackles allowed Connacht time to get to grips with the breakdown area where they initially seemed to be on the back foot and where Eoin Reddan seemed to have the time to move the ball quickly. He would play second fiddle to Kieron Marmion from that point forward. It was a testing period but not one for panic and the early signs were good on that front.

The first attacking spark from Connacht came appropriately from a brilliant break out of the 22, ambition and skill combined with AJ MacGinty’s brilliant pass releasing winger Matt Healy deep inside his own half. The kick and chase from the prolific try scorer had Leinster scrambling and led to a 90 metre gain. While Connacht didn’t score at that point, the tone was set, this was going to be a day of high octane rugby and Leinster had better be ready. They weren’t.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Loughrea are still on track for a fast return to top flight

Published

on

The Loughrea FC squad which defeated Mervue United B in the Championship at Fahy's Field on Sunday. Back row, left to right: Keith Bane, Manager, Kieran Bane, Alan McGrath, Thomas Hoban, Christian Dunham, Stephen McCormack, Michael Lynch, Aaron Crowe, Caimin Keena, David Kelly and Alfie Davies. Front row: Bruno Henrique, Marcus Vasconcelos, Jamie Daniels, Jefferson Querioz, Daire Crowe and Michael Hosty, Kitman.

By Mike Rafferty                      

RELEGATED from the top flight at the end of last season, Loughrea are making a serious effort to go straight back up and they maintained their advantage at the top of the Championship with a hard earned 2-0 away win over Mervue United B in Fahy’s Field on Sunday.

Though the City side might be stuck in the relegation zone with just one win, they certainly made this contest competitive and it was only after a scoreless opening half that Loughrea struck twice to win. 17-year-old Daire Crowe, along with his twin brother Aaron, who plays at left full, is one of the next generation youngsters making an impression with the side and it was striker Daire who opened their account with a fine finish.

A Mikie Lynch assist help set up the second for Thomas Hoban. Striker Bruno Henriques is into double figures in the scoring stakes for the season and Marcus Vasconcelos, who was denied by a post in the opening half, were a constant threat. Substitutes Alfie Davies and Kieran Bane made a big contribution on their introduction, while Christian Dunham was another of the younger brigade who played a significant part in this success. This Saturday, Loughrea host neighbours Craughwell United as they look to maintain their top spot in the table.

University of Galway maintained their second position following a 3-1 win over Colemanstown United in Dangan. Stephen Gilmore struck a hat trick for the students, while Jason Finn got the visitors’ lone reply. They now lie two points behind Loughrea, but enjoy a game in hand.

After slipping up against Loughrea the previous week, third placed Dynamo Blues got back to winning ways with a comfortable 3-1 home victory over Knocknacarra. Pete Finnerty struck for a hat trick for the Tuam side, while Eamonn O’Donnell got the lone reply for the City outfit.

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.

 

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Galway make statement by putting Dublin to the sword

Published

on

Galway’s Kate Geraghty is challenged by Dublin’s Caoimhe O’Connor during Sunday's Ladies Football National League tie at Tuam Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway 1-13

Dublin 0-7

Ivan Smyth at Tuam Stadium

STATEMENT made! Galway flexed their muscles as they produced a terrific second half display to move top of the Ladies Football National League Division One table. After the game, the Galway camp stuck to the script in repeatedly emphasising that this was only the second game of the year, but it cannot be denied that the reigning Connacht champions are moving along nicely.

Galway led by two points at half time after an entertaining opening 30 minutes before they simply blew Dublin away with a ferocious second half display. With Louise Ward and Olivia Divilly sprung from the bench at half time, their impact was immediately apparent. Throw in Tracey Leonard’s introduction after 50 minutes and it becomes much easier to comprehend Galway’s rampant second half.

Leonard kicked two classy points, one off either foot, while Divilly was given the licence to roam around Tuam Stadium. Divilly slotted two frees as herself and the rest of the Kilkerrin/Clonberne contingent ensured Galway played at a much higher tempo. Dublin simply had no answer to the relentless pressure they faced in and out of possession.

With Nicola Ward and Megan Glynn both late call ups to the Galway starting 15, the winners were able to give more minutes to key personnel. Despite the pair’s first starts of the year, Galway looked set for a battle to the finish to maintain their winning start to the season.

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.

 

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Galway set to mix it up for league clash with Wexford

Published

on

Galway’s Adrian Tuohey in action against Wexford’s Rory O’Connor during last year's National League encounter at Pearse Stadium. The teams renew rivalry in Wexford Park on Saturday evening.

THERE’S a local perception that Galway hurlers should nearly always be beating Wexford, but statistics – at least, in terms of championship clashes – beg to differ.

Prior to the Leinster final of 2017 which Galway won comfortably on a 0-29 to 1-17 scoreline, the Tribesmen had only recorded a solitary victory over Wexford in the counties’ previous eight summer tussles, with anothern one of those games ending in a draw.

There have been four championship battles between the counties since, with Galway coming out on top in both 2018 (1-23 to 0-17) and 2020 (1-27 to 0-17), but there was a costly draw at Pearse Stadium (0-16 to 0-16) in 2019; while last year’s round-robin tie also ended in stalemate (1-19 to 1-19) at Wexford Park. It leaves Galway’s overall championship record against Wexford as won four, lost six and drawn three.

None of this will carry much relevance ahead of the counties’ National League opening round clash in Wexford Park on Saturday (5pm) – a match which also doubles-up as the Walsh Cup final – but it does show that regardless of their contrasting reputations, Galway can rarely afford to take victory over Wexford for granted.

Much focus will centre on the personnel Henry Shefflin and his mentors send into battle for their first meaningful test of 2023 – a fixture which is reportedly set to attract a crowd of around 14,000, such is the lure of the new floodlights at Wexford Park.

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.

 

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending