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Orgilgo Bay tipped for hurdle glory and McCoy’s selected mount can take Plate

John McIntyre

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GALWAY HOPEFUL: The Black Russian, trained by Carnmre's Fergus Hanley, has a choice of engagements at next week's summer festival.

IT’S a tip in itself. Champion trainer Willie Mullins is usually mob-handed when he plans an assault on National Hunt racing’s bigger prizes, but next Thursday he will rely on only one horse in the richest hurdle race in the country at Ballybrit.

Not only is strong ante post favourite Pique Sous the stable’s lone challenger for the €250,000 Guinness Galway Hurdle, but Mullins is also lining up the six-year-old grey for an audacious double attempt in the Betfred Ebor at York next month.

Winner of the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, Pique Sous will be making his first appearance over jumps since being pulled up in last year’s Galway Hurdle when the heavy underfoot conditions conspired against Ruby Walsh’s mount.

Running off the same mark as 12 months ago, Pique Sous is already the hype horse for next Thursday’s highlight, but he will have to overcome a potentially numerically strong cross-channel raiding party, headed by top weight Purple Bay which romped home in the Summer Hurdle at Market Rasen last Saturday.

Apart from Purple Bay, trainer John Ferguson could also be represented by Parlour Games, Bordoni and Dubai Prince on his first ever visit to the Galway festival, while among other UK possibles are Alan King’s Mountbazon; the Seamus Mullins trained Fergal; Vulcanite, the second highest rated in the race; and Donald McCain’s in-form Gabrial The Great.

Though Pique Sous leads the strong home defence – at least in the minds of the bookmakers – punters will obviously be taking stock of other leading contenders such as Quick Jack which was last seen finishing third to Gilgamboa in the Boylesports.com Hurdle at Leopardstown back in January.

His trainer Tony Martin has never won the Galway Hurdle but the stable’s runners were in cracking form at last year’s festival chance. Furthermore, Quick Jack is currently set to carry only 9st 10lbs and could be a blot on the handicap.

Gordon Elliott’s Bayan, which was recently successful on the flat at Leopardstown and finished third in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham in March, also heads to Ballybrit with a strong profile, but the one we like best at longer odds is John McConnell’s Orgilgo Bay, assuming the four-year-old makes the final cut.

An honorable third in the Fred Winter Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival, Orgilgo Bay pulverised an admittedly modest field at Downpatrick earlier this month and though winning the Galway Hurdle is a big ask for a four-year-old, Perugino Diamond showed it could be done in 2000.

Top owner JP McManus saw his colours fill the first three places in last year’s Galway Plate with Carlingford Lough and Tony McCoy leading the way, and it’s clear from the original entries that the Limerick native is anxious for more glory in the €200,000 showpiece next Wednesday.

McManus, incredibly, is is responsible for 14 of the 59 entries, with Kid Cassidy, now trained by Christy Roche and second in the Grand Annual in Cheltenham in 2013, heading the weights. Naturally, racegoers will be keeping a close eye on which horse McCoy ends up riding, but it would be no surprise if he opts for It’s A Gimme, an impressive scorer in the Summer Plate at Market Rasen last Saturday.

The Dessie Hughes trained Art Of Logistics is another of the leading ante post fancies, but was unimpressive in justifying cramped odds of 2/9 in Punchestown in early June, while Charlie Byrnes has already indicated that his novice, Domination, a winner at Royal Ascot may skip the race as he is unhappy with the horse’s handicap mark.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Sporting stars and coaches offer ideas on how to make it

Stephen Glennon

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Carnmore's Paul Kilgannon who interviewed successful coaches and sports stars for his latest book: Be The Best You Can Be In Sport: A Book for Irish Youth.

WITH contributions from 50 sports stars and coaches, Paul Kilgannon’s second book, ‘Be The Best You Can Be In Sport: A Book for Irish Youth’ offers a succinct blueprint for any youth looking to excel in their chosen sport – and, indeed, for those coaching aspiring athletes.

In recent years, Kilgannon’s reputation has grown, particularly since he released his first book, ‘The CARVER Framework’, which focused on the development of the child and young player through a coaching model which the Carnmore native formulated.

While that book was a great success, his latest offering, released just before the Christmas, looks set to surpass it given the amounts of plaudits it has received locally and nationally, with the likes of The Irish Examiner and The Irish Times referencing it among their sports books of 2020.

Then again, one only has to look at those who contributed to the book to see why. They include Henry Shefflin and Eamonn O’Shea (hurling), Kieran Donaghy and Johnny Cooper (Gaelic football), Stuart Lancaster and Andy Friend (rugby) and Mick McCarthy and Kevin Doyle (soccer).

There are also contributions from a number of Galway coaches and sports stars, among them Corofin footballers Gary Sice and Liam Silke, sports psychologist Tony Óg Regan, physio David Hanly and expert game analyst Dave Morris.

One area Kilgannon was also conscious to promote was young females in sport and some of the role models who lent their experience are ladies footballers Rena Buckley and Valerie Mulcahy (Cork) and Sinead Aherne (Dublin), former Republic of Ireland international Claire Scanlan, Ireland rugby player Lindsay Peat and athletics star Nadia Power.

“That (having the female perspective) was something that was really important,” says Kilgannon. “I tied in early with the 20×20 group and they got me a few (interviewees). I struggled with female coaches, though. I didn’t get one or two of them over the line, and there is not a huge body of them there or, at least, that I’m aware of.”

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.

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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

Daithí Burke who is likely to be Galway’s only All Star between hurling and football in 2020.

John McIntyre

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Daithí Burke who is likely to be Galway's only All Star between hurling and football in 2020.

NINE Galway players between hurling and football are in line for All-Stars awards in 2020, but the county may have to settle for just one honour.
Aidan Harte, Daithí Burke and Padraic Mannion are all nominated in defence for the hurling team, with Joe Canning, Conor Whelan, Brian Concannon and Cathal Mannion shortlisted for recognition up front.
Galway’s two nominations for the football team – which is set to be dominated by six-in-a-row champions Dublin – are team captain Shane Walsh and the long-serving Paul Conroy.
The anticipation is that only Daithí Burke will make the final cut – a scenario which would see the Turloughmore man win a fifth All-Star award, emulating the feat of Galway greats Joe Cooney, Pete Finnerty and Joe Canning.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Connacht aiming to close the deal this time in refixed clash

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Connacht’s Alex Wootton breaking the tackle of Munster’s Chris Farrell at the Sportsground in their previous outing. The Westerners host the Ospreys in a re-arranged PRO14 tie on Sunday.

RUGBY returns to the Sportsground on Sunday as Connacht take on the Ospreys in a re-arranged PRO14 clash that will kick off at 3pm. Two rounds of European action have been postponed, the Six Nations is on the horizon and players are just keen to be playing rugby, so rarely has a simple league clash against a Welsh region brought so much enthusiasm within the competing squads.

Connacht will be looking to maintain their position among the top three in their conference over the next couple of months. A place in the March 27 final seems beyond them after the narrow defeat to Munster last time out, but securing their place in the Champions Cup for a third successive season would be a major achievement. Head coach Andy Friend underlined the mood in the camp this week.

“We were disappointed to see the European games postponed but I’m pleased we have a fixture to slot in here. This is good for us. It was also good to have one week away from the Sportsground. There’s always a lot going on but just not to have to come in to the office for a few days was good for everyone. People bounced back in this morning and there’s a spring in their step.”

This tie fell by the wayside in November and once the European competitions were postponed two weeks ago, both parties jumped at the chance of bringing the fixture forward to keep momentum going with the Ospreys having won five of their last six games in all competitions and Connacht coming off some high octane if ultimately disappointing run of results during the same period – the one exception being the famous win in the RDS against Leinster.

The main feature in Connacht’s defeats has been indecision and critical errors in the closing minutes of games. Against Racing 92, Bristol, Ulster and Munster, Connacht had late chances to either win games or at least secure some much needed bonus points and on each occasion, the westerners failed to keep their composure and execute. Friend spoke about the impact of those mistakes this week.

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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