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O’Brien heads to Galway October meeting with stable stars Valours Minion and Abarta

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The Val O'Brien trained Valours Minion winning the Renvyle House Hotel Handicap Steeplechase at last year's Galway October meeting. The 12-year-old is again bound for Ballybrit on Monday

LOCAL trainer Val O’Brien is preparing a big assault on Galway’s final race meeting of the year with stable stars Abarta and Valours Minion over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Athenry-based O’Brien, who is enjoying his best campaign in years, is hoping his in-form challengers can put the seal on their respective seasons by each visiting the winners’ enclosure for a remarkable fifth time in 2015.

Abarta, successful in the Colm Quinn BMW Handicap Steeplechase at the Galway September meeting, is due to return to Ballybrit on Sunday for the Renvyle Handicap Chase, with O’Brien hoping the ground rides no worse than yielding.

Since that success, the nine-year-old finished a close-up fourth at Punchestown last week, but O’Brien points out that they didn’t go a great gallop in that race and says Abarta has an ‘outside chance’ of collecting again at Ballybrit.

Even more remarkable has been the Galway trainer’s exploits with the 12-year-old Valours Minion which had never won a race until springing a 10/1 surprise in a handicap chase at Killarney in August of last year.

Seven victories later, Valours Minon is now rated 47lbs higher and showed his current well being when coming up trumps in a competitive handicap chase under Mark Walsh in Navan at the end of last month.

The veteran is being targeted at the Ennis Lifts Handicap Chase on Monday, the feature race of the card, and O’Brien expects that the Galway meeting will also mark the end of Valours Minion’s season.

“As like Abarta, I hope the ground rides on the yielding side or better. He won twice at the track last year which is always an advantage around Galway. He’s rising in the weights but showed he could handle that in Navan the last day.” said O’Brien.

Among Valours Minion’s potential rivals will be the Steve Mahon trained Aranhill Chief which was only half a length behind his Galway rival in that race at Navan after an untidy jump at the final obstacle. Rogue Angel, winner of the Kerry National in Listowel, is the highest rated entry for the race.

The highlight of Sunday’s racing is the Faber Audiovisuals Handicap Hurdle with Mahon’s Kilcolgan based yard set to be represented by Afacat which was successful at the Galway September meeting in a similar contest.

Track manager Michael Moloney reported on Wednesday that the ground is currently good, good to yielding in places. “We’ve had a few showers and the forecast is a bit broken. As it stands, Sunday should be dry with possibly some rain on Monday.

“The track is in great condition and we are in a good position as trainers have been looking forward to some easing in the ground given the dry weather of the past few weeks,” added Moloney.

Admission for both days is €15 with the action kicking off on Sunday at 1.30pm, with Monday’s card commencing at 1.25pm. The Kilkenny Group are sponsoring a Best Dressed competition on Bank Holiday Monday which is also a Students’ Raceday in support of NUIG Volunteer Services Abroad.

 

CITY TRIBUNE

United boss Caulfield not happy with recent decisions going against his team

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Galway United manager John Caulfield: seeking a fairer deal from officials.

JOHN Caulfield has called for better officiating in games as the title race enters its final run-in, saying his side has been the victim of some marginal decisions in games against the top sides this season.

Speaking ahead of the visit of Bray Wanderers to Eamonn Deacy Park this Friday (7.45pm), the United manager said the big decisions in games against the other sides in the top three – Cork City and Waterford – have gone against United this season, and he says the repercussions of those ‘bad’ decisions are only felt by the managers and players.

“It is disappointing, there have been a number of decision in big games that have gone against us, I suppose you could call them controversial, tight decisions,” he said in the aftermath of last Friday’s 2-1 defeat away to Waterford FC, in which Conor McCormack was sent off, and Waterford were awarded two penalties, the second of which they converted nine minutes from time for a 2-1 win.

“You need strong decisions being made and we had two big decisions, major decisions, go against us. Unfortunately, it is the manager that take the hits rather than action being taken in the proper channels and that is disappointing,” he said.

He has a point to a degree: Wilson Waweru was sent off in United’s first game of the season when picking up two yellow cards in the 1-0 win away to Cork City, with the second booking in particular looking unfair on the United man.

Another trip to Turners Cross in July saw another red card, with Ed McCarthy getting his marching orders in the 16th minute for a trip on Cian Bargary, who was breaking on a counter-attack. Despite the foul taking place inside the City half, and both Conor O’Keeffe and Conor McCormack covering inside, Wexford referee Sean Grant decided on a red card.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Moycullen lift the tempo on resumption in forging clear

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Moycullen's Owen Gallagher comes under pressure from Eric Lee of Oughterard during Sunday's Senior Football Championship clash at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Moycullen 1-17

Oughterard 0-14

Eanna O’Reilly at Pearse Stadium

MOYCULLEN recorded their second win of the senior championship on Sunday against local rivals Oughterard at Pearse Stadium, with a powerful spell after half time seeing them pull away decisively.

After a competitive first half finished with the sides tied at 0-7 apiece, few would have expected such a clear margin between them at the conclusion. However, the 2020 champions simply blitzed their opponents after the interval, scoring an unanswered 1-6 to take control of the contest.

Oughterard were much improved from their opening round defeat to Corofin, matching Moycullen throughout the first half and playing a much more positive brand of football. Once their opponents went into top gear after half time however, Alan Murphy’s side were thoroughly outclassed.

Oughterard had a goal chance inside the opening minute, when Enda Tierney was put through, only to blast narrowly over the bar. Moycullen responded with three consecutive points, coming from Conor Bohan, Owen Gallagher, and Dessie Conneely, all of which were high quality scores.

The contest soon swung in the opposite direction, with Oughterard dominating the next ten minutes. Ryan Monaghan got their second point, when he made a strong run from the left wing and hand-passed over. Cian Monaghan and Niall Lee added points in a two minute spell, to put Oughterard back in front by the 16th minute.

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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CITY TRIBUNE

United contribute to their own downfall against Waterford

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Galway United’s Conor McCormack whose second half dismissal contributed to their First Division defeat against Waterford FC in the RSC on Friday night.

Waterford FC 2

Galway United 1

IT was a calamitous night for Galway United in the RSC on Friday, with John Caulfield’s side slipping to a deserved defeat on a night two key players – Conor McCormack and Stephen Walsh – both picked up suspensions.

Crucially, however, while they were fully punished in terms of the game, their title challenge is still very much alive after league leaders Cork City fell to a shock defeat at home to Treaty United on Friday, and followed it up with a scoreless draw at home to Waterford in a refixed game on Monday night.

That leaves the Leesiders four points ahead of United – and seven clear of a Waterford side that might just have snuck back into the title race – with seven games remaining, so while there is huge frustration at both United’s display on Friday, and the failure to capitalise on the slip-up by City, the title race is still very much alive.

It was all so different in the 12th minute of Friday’s game when, just as word had filtered through that Treaty United had taken a shock lead against Cork City, United hit the front with yet another goal from Stephen Walsh.

Walsh – who many forget started life at United as a striker way back in 2010 – got on the end of a Rob Manley flick from an Ed McCarthy cross to fire home his 16th goal of the season from close range, and at that stage, all seemed right with the world.

It had been coming, as United had their hosts pinned inside their own half for those opening 12 minutes of play, but the tone of the night soon changed.

The goal proved too much for some in the away section of the ground: one United fan ran onto the running track surrounding the pitch in an attempt to join Walsh in on the goal celebrations, and was promptly ejected from the ground.

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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