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Perfect time for Connacht to record first win in Scotstoun over defending champions

Dara Bradley

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Bundee Aki, who played a crucial role in Fionn Carr's try last Friday, retains his place as first centre for the game aganist Glasgow tonight. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Connacht travel to Glasgow with a genuine confidence they can record their first ever win over the Warriors at Scotstoun Stadium.

Ordinarily this evening’s (7.35pm) away fixture against the better of the two Scottish clubs is one to be chalked down as a damage-limitation exercise, where a losing bonus point would be savoured like victory. But not now.

Glasgow may have won the league last season, and deservedly so, but they are shorn of 20 of their best players who are unavailable due to World Cup commitments.

An away win is eminently achievable. If not now, when?

Connacht blew the cobwebs away in recording their fifth first-day victory in six seasons last Friday and that 29-23 win over Dragons at College Road will certainly boost morale ahead of the trip to Scotland.

The Westerners are without internationals Robbie Henshaw and Nathan White and have a number of players with injuries to survive without including Ronan Loughney, Jake Heenan, Eoin McKeon, Api Pewhairangi, Niyi Adeolokun and Darragh Leader.

But, apart from Kieran Marmion, who drops to the bench having not been able to train all week due to picking up a minor hip injury against Dragons – John Cooney gets the nod at scrum-half – Pat Lam has named the same starting XV that did the business last weekend.

Captain John Muldoon will reach the incredible milestone of lining out for the 250th occasion for his province – a proud achievement for the Portumna native.

He’s joined in the back row by Eoghan Masterson and Nepia Fox-Matamua, who scored the first Connacht try of the season on his debut.

The New Zealander also pinched possession at the breakdown in a vital intervention late-on that led to Fionn Carr’s try, which sealed the win.

That third Connacht try was exquisite – fleet-footed centre Bundee Aki earned his wages with a sweet line break deep in his own half before running 40 yards and setting up Carr, who also showed lightening pace to make it over in the corner.

It was needed, too. Despite Connacht’s good start, in which they led 14-3 at the break, Dragons had dragged themselves back into contention with a James Thomas try. With minutes remaining, the visitors were just two points in arrears and in possession in drop-goal territory in Connacht’s half of the field.

Connacht, in fairness, deserved the win overall but that passage of play highlighted the fine margins of sport at this level.

Former Connacht forwards’ coach, Dan McFarland is now second in command at Glasgow and it was unsurprising that head coach Gregor Townsend highlighted the visitors’ scrums and line-outs as areas of strength. He emphasised how Glasgow are looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat to Scarlets in front of their own fans.

“Connacht are a very good side who have a strong set-piece and come into this game off the back of a win against the Dragons last weekend. Our two opening fixtures were always going to be tough and we know we’ll have to perform very well to win. Our supporters created a fantastic atmosphere last Saturday and we’re looking forward to playing in front of them once again,” said Townsend.

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

CITY TRIBUNE

Horgan in the history books

Keith Kelly

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DARYL HORGAN

DARYL Horgan became the first Galwegian to score a senior men’s international goal when grabbing the fourth goal for the Republic of Ireland in their 4-1 friendly win over Andorra last Thursday.

Horgan, introduced as a 66th minute substitute for Ronan Curtis, got on the end of Jason Knight’s 89th minute cross to stoop low and send a diving header into the back of the net to cap a brilliant 26-minute cameo for the winger in what was his 13th senior international appearance.

The Knocknacarra native had just five minutes earlier sent in the cross from which Knight made it 3-1 to sighs of relief in the Irish camp – they had fallen 1-0 behind after 52 minutes, before a brace of goals from Troy Parrott in the 58th and 61st minutes put the Boys in Green in front and spared Stephen Kenny’s side the embarrassment of losing to a ski resort.

Horgan is one of seven Galwegians to win a senior men’s international cap – David Forde (24 caps), Alan Lee (10), Aaron Connolly (6), Greg Cunningham (4), Ryan Manning (4), and the late Eamonn ‘Chick’ Deacy (4) are the others – but he is the first to find the back of the opposition net.

He was joined from the bench last Thursday by Manning, and both players also started on the bench in Budapest on Tuesday night in the scoreless draw with Hungary, with both again being introduced in the second-half, Horgan in the 56th minute to win his 14th cap, followed by Manning in the 85th minute to win his fourth cap.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway WFC bring an end to their away woes in Cork

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Chloe Moloney who was one of Galway WFC's goal scorers in their away win over Cork WFC at Turners Cross on Saturday.

Cork City WFC 0

Galway WFC  2

By Mike Rafferty

AFTER firing blanks in their three previous away games, Galway WFC got back to winning ways when aided by two opening half goals and a first clean sheet of the season, they were worthy winners of this Women’s National League contest at Turners Cross on Saturday.

Two early headed goals by Chloe Moloney and Aoife Thompson gave them a cushion that was seldom threatened as the home side were outmaneuvered as new Galway WFC manager Stephen Lally picked up the first win of his reign.

As in previous games, the visitors were without some of their more established names, but the performances of Ruth Fahy, Lucia Lobato and Thompson helped turn an impressive performance into a worthy win. Cork goalkeeper Abby McCarthy was by far the busier of the two custodians and some good shot stopping in the early exchanges kept her side in the game.

However, there was little she could do when Galway WFC took the lead on 21 minutes, Chloe Moloney attacking a Shauna Brennan corner in a crowded box and powerfully heading home for a 1-0 advantage.

Just three minutes later, they added a second and again Brennan was at the heart of it when seeing off a challenge on the right flank, before delivering a deep cross that was powered into the bottom corner by the flying Thompson with a diving header.

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.

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

Connacht soar in final game to clip the wings of Ospreys

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Connacht’s Ben O’Donnell, who has Ultan Dillane in support, is tackled by Rhys Webb of the Ospreys during Friday's Rainbow Cup tie at the Sportsground. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Connacht 26

Ospreys 19

Rob Murphy at the Sportsground

THE Connacht team finished Friday’s final game of the season with a flurry of fierce and well timed tackles as they held off the Ospreys and secured the win. While they did that, the Fields of Athenry bellowed from the Clan Terrace creating a surreal, almost absurd atmosphere at a near empty Sportsground. The roar that followed from the handful of souls in the stands was an appropriate end to a strange season like no other.

The singing and the shouting had come from the non selected players who had all gathered in a corner of the terrace for the game, making sure that there was no doubt for those out on the field that the game and the result meant something. Overall of course, this result is just a mark on the ledger, a soon to be forgotten triumph in a season that included far too many defeats at their Galway venue.

If all that wasn’t strange enough, all the scoring happened in the first half. Connacht notched four tries, the Ospreys managed three yet it was the second half that proved to be the most compelling and captivating as the visitors from Wales came up against a brick wall. Connacht’s tackling was superb while their maul defence proved to be critical. The visitors had arrived needing and expecting to get a bonus point win to stay in contention for a place in the Rainbow Cup final, but would leave shell shocked.

The Rainbow Cup as a competition has predictably turned out to be a disaster for the PRO14 organisers. While there has been some misfortune with late season postponements because of Covid and the South African sides have been limited on travel, the format of a straight league with teams playing six fixtures was never going to inspire enthusiasm or create a fair and balanced tournament. As it stands, Benetton might get to the final without having to play any of the top six sides.

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.

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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