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Out-of-sorts Galwegians have lost early season swagger

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Galwegians Gary O'Brien tries to elude the challenge of Shannon's Robbie Deegan during the All-Ireland League Division 1b tie at Crowley Park on Saturday. Photos: Enda Noone.

Galwegians 3    

Shannon 18

GALWEGIANS early-season form appears to have suddenly deserted them as they suffered a third straight defeat and their second in the UBL Division 1b at home to a fired-up Shannon on Saturday.

The Blues came into this game determined to get back to winning ways after the Christmas break, but it was another bad day at the office as they never got going against their determined visitors.

Shannon started the brighter and took an early lead courtesy of a second minute penalty from out-half Tadhg Bennett. However Wegians were soon on level terms when their first incursion into opposition territory led to a 30m penalty which was slotted over by full-back John Cleary.

Unfortunately, the table toppers were getting on the wrong side of referee Will O’Connor who was blowing them off the pitch at the breakdown, and with the first quarter barely up, the official lost patience and binned Wegians tight-head prop Doran McHugh.

Shannon opted for a five metre scrum penalty but Wegians turned it over and relieved the pressure, although Bennett soon restored a three-point lead with his second penalty.

Wegians were struggling to find any rhythm, although they were somewhat unlucky not to grab the opening try when returning centre Brian Murphy burst through the middle, only to be pulled back for a forward pass.

The turning point of the game came on the half-hour mark when Wegians were camped deep in opposition territory and looking set to add to their scoring tally. Shannon had forwards Lee Nicholas and replacement prop Kevin Griffin binned in short succession, and the home team, unsurprisingly, opted for a succession of five metre scrum penalties.

At one stage, a penalty try looked a formality, only for number eight Anthony Ryan to pick and go too soon. And from the next scrum play, the seven-man Shannon scrum somehow dug deep and turned the ball over to relieve the pressure.

It was a game-changing moment, and it got even better for the visitors on the stroke of half-time. With the Wegians lineout misfiring, the visitors stole lineout ball near the Wegians 22, and although they had just 13 men on the pitch, they still found numbers out wide.

Winger Colin Conroy gambled on a hit but missed his man, and Shannon left-wing David O’Donovan was sent over for the opening try of the game, giving them an 11-3 lead at the break.

Wegians came out fighting at the start of the second-half, but they wasted an immediate opportunity when a five metre line out was again coughed up allowing Shannon to clear their lines. Cleary missed a 30m penalty shortly afterwards, and the confidence appeared to visibly drain out of the home side who had been free-scoring in the first half of the season.

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

Connacht Tribune

Aran Islands look to be hitting their stride at the perfect time

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Conal Ó hIarnáin had a fine game at midfield for Oileann Arainn in their win over Oranmore/Maree.

Oileáin Árann 0-18

Oranmore/Maree 1-9

Ivan Smyth at Pearse Stadium

Oranmore/Maree suffered defeat at the quarter final stage for the fourth year on the trot as they were simply outgunned by an Oileáin Árann side which has now reached its third semi-final in five years and appear to be peaking at the right time.

Nine players found the target for the winners compared to six for Oranmore/Maree, but it was the Islanders’ opening half display which was the key to this victory as they led by 0-10 to 0-3 at half time.

Oranmore/Maree were struggling to create chances as they kicked just two wides which coupled with their three first half points showed that they struggled to break through a physical Oileáin Árann outfit.

Sean Mulkerrin and Mark Ronaldson enjoyed an interesting duel as the Galway full-back was tasked with keeping the former Mayo forward quiet. The pair were both standout performers for their sides but aside from Ronaldson, Oranmore-Maree’s forwards struggled to make an impact on this game.

If you told Oileáin Árann that their top scorer in this year’s championship, Tyler Ó Flaithearta, would not register a score in this game, then they would have feared the worst. That’s what transpired although his teammates stood up to the plate as seven different players kicked scores in the opening half. With Ó Flaithearta kicking 1-19 and Ronaldson scoring 2-16 across the group stages, a shootout between the two was anticipated, but it never transpired.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Clarinbridge upset the odds to send Loughrea packing

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Clarinbridge's Mark Kennedy gets his pass away despite the best efforts of Loughrea's Neil Keary in their preliminary quarter-final clash in Athenry last Saturday. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Clarinbridge 1-10

Loughrea 1-7

Niall Canavan at Kenny Park

Clarinbridge pulled off a big upset when knocking a Loughrea outfit many deemed challengers for a county senior title out of the championship race at a wet Kenny Park, Athenry, last Saturday.

Incessant rain throughout ensured this wasn’t a day for the hurling purists as both sets of players struggled to stay on their feet as weather conditions worsened during a game that had the potential to be the tie of the round.

That said, while it had little of the free-flowing hurling that supporters would have hoped for, it was certainly a compelling contest between two teams who battled valiantly throughout.

In the end, Clarinbridge deserved to win: they had a better scoring threat with Michael Daly, Mark Kennedy and Gavin Lee prominent on an afternoon when scores were hard earned. Evan Niland, too, worked extremely hard, while Shane Bannon, TJ Brennan and Patrick Foley also played leading roles.

Loughrea, though, will be bitterly disappointed to exit the championship after their heroics against Sarsfields a week previously. They continued to play a short passing game, and, in the conditions, a more direct approach may have yielded better dividends.

Too often, they laboured in attack where the tussle between Jamie Ryan and Clarinbridge’s Shane Bannon was intriguing. They also hit some early wides, including three in the opening stages, and in a game that wasn’t going to be a high scoring contest, they were to prove costly.

Yet, they fought bravely to the end with Paul Huban, Johnny Coen, Caimin Killeen and Ryan to the fore on an afternoon when the introductions of the Mahony cousins, Emmett and Brian, could possibly have happened sooner given their experience. It was needed in the energy-sapping conditions.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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Connacht Tribune

Favourites all advance in Junior Cup

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Athenry's Colm O'Donovan about to cross the ball against Tuam Celtic in last weekend's FAI Junior Cup match between the sides in Tuam Photo: Kennedy-Beirne, Eirefoto.

Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

The potential for surprise is always a possibility in cup action, but while the weekend’s FAI Junior Cup’s six games saw some competitive contests, there was no outcome that could be considered as a shock.

Athenry had a real battle on their hands before they saw off Tuam Celtic by the odd goal in seven, while it was equally competitive as Gort United came from two down to level matters with Mervue United B, before the city side secured an additional time winner in a 5-4 success.

The meeting of two Premier Division sides saw Loughrea and Maree/Oranmore A go head-to-head and it was the visitors who ran out impressive winners here.

However, there was no joy for the Maree/Oranmore B side for despite taking the lead at home against Hibernians, it was the Premier Division outfit who turned on the power in the closing stages to pull away for victory. Elsewhere Salthill Devon and Mervue United also advanced in relevant comfort; while Ballinasloe Town also advanced with a win over Dunmore Town.

Tuam Celtic’s promotion to the Premier Division this season has seen them struggle on occasions, but they have proved that they have the ability to test the best on occasions and on Friday night under lights in Clonthue Road, they made visitors Athenry work very hard for a 4-3 win.

Last season’s beaten semi-finalists displayed all their quality in the opening quarter as goals by Adam Duffy and Cole Connolly, with a deflected effort, had them two up. The home side were struggling to get to the pace of the game in the early exchanges, but once they pulled one back through Mike Swinhoe, matters got more competitive.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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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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