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Niland does the damage in big win for Clarinbridge

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Clarinbridge's Evan Niland has Carnmore's JP O'Connell and Eoin Grealish in close attendance during the clubs' Senior B championship tie at Kenny Park last Friday evening. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Clarinbridge 1-20

Carnmore 0-12

David Killarney at Kenny Park

CLARINBRIDGE registered their first win of the county championship on Friday night, overcoming Carnmore by an 11 point margin in Athenry. Eight different scorers contributed for the 2011 All-Ireland champions whose overall team work was far superior to Carnmore’s, with Evan Niland (1-12) putting in an impressive display at corner forward.

Carnmore struggled to find any fluid rhythm throughout the 60 minutes with their game plan relying on a constant long ball strategy into the full forward line which proved unsuccessful throughout the encounter. A variety of weapons in Clarinbridge’s arsenal proved too much for their opponents to handle, with basic errors also preventing Carnmore from keeping up with the frequent scoring of Clarinbridge.

The game got underway with Carnmore taking the lead when Barry Hanley fired over his first free of the game from 60 yards. Clarinbridge hit right back and went ahead through wing forward Barry Daly, who struck over after being picked out by keeper Aaron Bindon, before Sean Kilduff got his name on the score sheet from distance.

Both teams then exchanged scores from frees with Hanley and then Niland’s first of the contest, to leave the gap at one point in Clarinbridge’s favour. The winners then went further two ahead thanks to two more points from Niland – another free along with a great point from the left touchline from all of 60 yards.

George Hanley narrowed the lead back down to two after being found by Ciaran Fahy and firing over from 35 yards, followed by some quick thinking from Clarinbridge’s Kilduff who found Eoin Forde with a line out ball which Forde returned back to Kilduff, who struck his second point from the right.

Barry Hanley and Niland once more exchanged frees to leave the gap at three points on the 20 minute mark with sloppy fouls which Niland punished at every turn costing Carnmore.

Clarinbridge then went six points ahead with three quick-fire points from Forde after being picked out by midfielder Billy Lane, followed by two more frees from Niland. Hanley got his fourth of Carnmore’s five points, to finish off the half with Clarinbridge heading into the dressing rooms with a more than comfortable five point lead.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Connacht to stage first leg of big Euro clash with Leinster at the Sportsground

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The Sportsground

CONNACHT have no plans to move the home leg of their European Champions Cup last 16 clash against Leinster in April away from the Sportsground, despite demand likely to far exceed the 6,129 capacity limit on the College Road venue.

The province has qualified for the knockout stages of the premier European club rugby competition for the first time in its history, and given the fact that Leinster will provide the opposition in the two-leg Last 16 clash, the temptation may be there to move the game to a venue with a bigger capacity, but Connacht attack coach Pete Wilkins said this week that there were no plans for such a move.

“It’s not something I have heard mentioned,” said Wilkins of the potential of moving the game to the likes of Thomond Park.

“Fundamentally for us, we love playing in the Sportsground and the atmosphere that is generated there. It is certainly not something that has come across my radar at this stage, all the talk about it has been of it being at the Sportsground but if I hear otherwise, I’ll let you know,” said Wilkins, who has stepped in as temporary head coach at Connacht, after Andy Friend was deemed a Covid-19 close contact, which ruled him out of last weekend’s trip to Paris.

Connacht’s place in the knockout stages was assured before their final pool game with Stade Francais on Sunday, but rather than being because of a slip-up by Castres, it was due to the fact that Cardiff were granted a 28-0 win over Toulouse after the game between those sides was called off due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in the French camp.

As it turned out, Connacht still grabbed the bonus point they needed against Stade to secure their place in their own right – in fact, they took two bonus points – but it could and should have been even more, only for Connacht to throw away a second-half lead for the third consecutive European game to lose a game they were on track to win.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Connacht blow another big lead but still create history

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Connacht’s Caolin Blade whose impressive display against Stade Francais in the Champions Cup on Sunday saw the scrum half score one of their four tries.

Stade Français 37

Connacht 31

BY JOHN FALLON

SELDOM has a team achieved so much in such underwhelming circumstances. Blowing a substantial lead and falling to a late defeat for the second week in a row in the Champions Cup has taken some of the gloss off Connacht reaching the knockout stages for the first time.

Another late collapse, coupled with drawing four-time champions Leinster in that knockout double-leg round in April, has deflated some of the euphoria around a notable milestone, but it will be great to have Connacht involved in the business end of the competition at a time, for context, none of the Welsh, Scottish or Italian teams have managed to make it that far.

But captain Jack Carty said they need to learn how to manage a lead if they are to improve as a squad. The previous week they blew an 18-point advantage and got caught at the death and this time, despite playing with an extra man for almost half the match, they failed to mind an 11-point lead in another nine-try thriller and will head into the knockout stages for the first time having won just one game.

Six bonus points along the way made all the difference and while defeat at Stade Jean Bouin ultimately didn’t impact on their final place or a knockout date with Leinster in April – five other teams have also advanced on the back of a single victory – a win in Paris would have been a huge boost but instead they fell to an eighth successive away Champions Cup game.

Carty said it was a big boost to advance but there is obvious room for improvement and the pool campaign could have been so much better.

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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CITY TRIBUNE

Good weekend for Galway sides in Connacht Junior Cup

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The Corrib Rangers side who played Athenry AFC in the U-19 Connacht Cup semi-final in Moanbaun recently. Back row, from left: Hope Brodericks, Chloe McPhilbin, Erin Kilcommins, Sophie Rafferty, Abbey Kenny, Chloe Cubbard, and Chloe Kenny. Front: Kayce Flanagan, Katelyn Harlow, Alannah O'Connor, Sophie Echefu, and Saoirse Walsh. Photo: Kennedy-Beirne, Eirefoto.

Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

Hibernians 1

Colemanstown United 1

(AET – Hibs won 4-3 on pens)

Despite missing a penalty and being a man down, a Jason McPhilbin goal looked like being enough to see Hibernians through to the last 16 of the Connacht Junior Cup, only for Sean Hardiman to volley home a stunning equaliser from outside the box and level matters deep in additional time.

It was the type of body-blow that could have killed off any team, but despite extra time providing little in the way of excitement, the city side were spot on with all four efforts in the penalty shoot-out, as the visitors missed twice to end their prospects of advancing.

The league positioning of both sides should have given a fair indication of how this contest would materialise, but midtable Hibernians never looked like outclassing the bottom of the table visitors. The city side were comfortable 4-2 winners when they last met in the league, but Saturday’s contest seldom indicated that it would be riddled with goals.

Chances were certainly hard to find, although an opening half penalty awarded to the home side when McPhilbin was fouled in the box, wasn’t taken advantage of when the same player’s effort was saved by visiting custodian Alan Finn.

Stephen Walsh’s side wasn’t helped when Jason McDonagh was red-carded before the break, but in fairness to Hibernians, such was the workrate from the rest of the team, it was difficult to know they were a man down. Colemanstown’s only chance of note in the opening half came when Gareth Lally had a header well saved by PJ Ward.

The home side made the perfect start to the second half, when McPhilbin seized possession after a ball broke off goalkeeper Finn in the 52nd minute and made it 1-0 with a close-range tap-in. They threatened to add a second on a few occasions, as Hulgraine headed over following an Alex Murphy corner, with the substitute winger providing a few good deliveries into the box that were not seized upon.

Colemanstown pressed on somewhat more in the closing quarter, but Conor Devlin, Caimin Rooney, Dean Cullinane, and Nathan Ward gave little away at the back for the home outfit. Gareth Lally and Damien Wynne threatened a breakthrough for the visitors as Richie Lally and Kerill Hardiman tried to get them back into the game.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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