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CITY TRIBUNE

No goals but controversy aplenty in league clash

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Galway United's Padraic Cunningham having received treatment from physio, Kevin Darcy, after landing heavily on his shoulder against Derry City on Monday night. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway United 0

Derry City 0

There were plenty of talking points form Galway United’s rearranged Premier Division clash with Derry City on Monday night, but the main one was that United have now climbed off the foot of the table following an entertaining scoreless draw.

There was a fair smattering of controversy from the game – a stonewall sending off that wasn’t given, the state of the pitch, a high boot to the throat – but the upshot of it all is that United have lost just one of their last 11 competitive games, as Shane Keegan’s side continue to move in the right direction.

That movement is quite slow, mind: they have just one league win all season, but they could have added a second if the officials had done their job properly in the fifth minute of Monday’s game and sent-off Derry City captain and goalkeeper, Ger Doherty.

A ball was played down the right channel for Padraic Cunningham, and as he controlled, Doherty came racing out of his penalty area to confront him. The United man took aim and tried to shoot low to Doherty’s left, but the City ’keeper dived to execute a wonderful save. The problem was he was there yards outside the box.

So, it was a deliberate handball, the first test for a sending off in this instance. He blocked a goal-scoring opportunity with his hand, the second test. And while there was a defender lateral to him, he was not in a line between the goal and the trajectory of Cunningham’s shot, so Doherty was also the last man, the third test.

Yet Clare referee, Rob Hennessy, decided that Doherty had not denied a goal scoring opportunity and so only showed Doherty a yellow card, yet another howler to add to the long list of bad decisions made in the league on an almost weekly basis.

When asked after the game about the decision not to show Doherty a red card, City manager Kenny Shiels replied by slamming the state of what was a very poor playing surface. He had a point – and he also called for action to be taken against clubs over the state of poor pitches – but it was a complete deflection of the question put to him.

He moaned that the state of the pitch forced him to make two substitutions, and suggested that it cost his side the win. The fact of the matter is that Doherty’s continued presence in the game cost United the win, as the goalkeeper pulled off a string of saves in the second-half to ensure a share of the spoils.

City had the better of the first-half exchanges, and Ronan Curtis had a shot take off the line by Lee Grace in the 11th minute; while Conor Winn went full-stretch to deny Barry McNamee midway through the half.

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

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Devon trip-up in Athenry to lose ground in title race

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Knocknacarra's Davy Knight moves in to challenge Ricky Kent of Tuam Celtic at Cappagh Park, last weekend. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Athenry 1

Salthill Devon 0

Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

With a one round league there is not much room for error and in Moanbawn on Wednesday evening, Athenry played as if their lives depended on it as they saw off their fellow Premier Division title challengers in a bruising encounter.

A Cole Connolly goal on 18 minutes was all that separated the teams at the finish, but in fairness the home side offered the greater attacking threat on the night and should have won with something more to spare. For those who witnessed the occasion, it was compulsive viewing.

The commitment and passion brought to the game by both sides was honest as all the players offered everything for their sides cause. However, much as Salthill Devon tried, they were outmanoeuvred by a home side who always offered something extra.

For the duration, it was Athenry who threatened the most and carried the more threat in attack, but twice in the opening half it took two brilliant reflex saves by home custodian TJ Forde to keep them in the game.

A snap shot on six minutes by Gary Shanahan was tipped over at close range by the goalkeeper and he repeated the feat later when denying Jackson de Silva after the big Brazilian got his head to a Timmy Molloy corner. Those efforts aside Devon got very little breathing space from the home back four of Gary O’Connell, Dan Cunningham, Morgan Leggett and Declan Cullen.

After Colm O’Donovan could not connect with a diving header following a Ryan Shaughnessy cross, the home side took the lead shortly afterwards, when visiting custodian Arek Mamala had a clearance half-blocked by Connolly and the rebound fell kindly for the Craughwell native as he executed the perfect lob over the stricken goalkeeper and into the net for a 1-0 advantage.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Lions debut for Aki

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Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw will renew their centre partnership tomorrow when the Lions take on Japan. Photo: INPHO/James Crombie.

Bundee Aki will become the fourth Connacht player to pull on a Lions jersey after he was named in the starting XV that will take on Japan tomorrow in Edinburgh in a challenge game ahead of the summer’s trip to South Africa.

Aki will renew his Connacht and Ireland centre partnership at Murrayfield with Robbie Henshaw in a side featuring six Irish players, with a seventh on the bench.

“That combination obviously goes back to the Connacht days,” Lions head coach, and former Connacht and Ireland head coach, Warren Gatland explained. “It’s the two Connacht lads coming together and I think they are obviously great mates as well, so that kind of helps.”

Aki follows in the footsteps of Ray McLoughlin, John O’Driscoll, and Ciaran Fitzgerald in becoming a Lion while still playing for Connacht, and Gatland says he expects the Connacht man to surprise a few people with the various facets to his game.

Henshaw had moved on to Leinster by the time he was picked for the 2017 tour to New Zealand, but having played against club sides Chiefs, Highlanders and Blues, he had to withdraw from before playing in a test match after picking up an injury against the Hurricanes, but Gatland is expecting great things from their partnership.

“A lot of people sort of see Bundee as someone . . . and we know he is capable of getting the ball across the gain line, but he has got a lot more than just that to offer.

“He has got some real rugby skill, some great footwork, and a passing and offloading game. So, we are expecting some real quality rugby out of both of those two men,” Gatland said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

50 domestic abuse 999 calls to Galway Gardaí cancelled

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway’s Garda Chief has committed to a ‘root and branch investigation’ after an internal review unearthed over 50 domestic abuse calls that were cancelled by local Gardaí.

An internal Garda inquiry has revealed that nationally, members of the force cancelled between 3,000 and 4,000 domestic abuse-related ‘999’ calls between 2019 and 2020.

At a meeting of the City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) on Monday, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley told members that the inquiry found 53 such calls in the Galway Division.

He said he had been tasked by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to sift through the calls and follow up on how they were handled by Gardaí.

“In relation to domestic incidents where calls were cancelled, I have 53 from my division. I am carrying out a root and branch investigation and perhaps at the next JPC meeting, I will be able to give an update of the findings.

“I have only listened to a number of the calls at the moment and I’d rather be in possession of the full facts before commenting any further,” said Chief Supt Curley.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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