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Roche and Kennedy keep St Bernard’s at the top

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Galway WFC defender Sophie Moloney comes away with the ball in her team's 1-1 draw with Wexford Youths WFC at Deacy Park on Sunday. Photo: Eirefoto.

ST Bernard’s maintained their Premier Division challenge on Sunday as the table toppers had to dig deep to overcome Mervue United by 2-0 at Fahy’s Field and along with Salthill Devon, they look to be the major contenders in the closing weeks of the season.

Chasing a first ever title, the Abbeyknockmoy outfit have put themselves in prime position with a series of impressive performances and a goal in each half was enough to see off a home side who made them battle every inch of the way.

The visitors gave an early indication of their intent as Jason Finn struck the butt of a post with an effort, before Craig Kennedy extracted a smart save from Peter Healy. St Bernard’s made a crucial breakthrough midway through the half  when Finn provided the cross and after taking a touch, Adrian Roche applied the far post finish for a 1-0 lead.

The resumption saw Mervue offer more of a threat in the last third of the park, but despite forcing a series of corners and set pieces, they seldom directly threatened goalkeeper Kevin Ruane, whose handing and control of his area was a real confidence booster as he maintained a clean sheet. Now, mind you, he knew little about Simon Walsh’s effort that crashed off the crossbar on 68 minutes in one of their few clear opportunities of the day.

The same player was just wide with a far post header in the closing stages and with the home side doing the majority of late pressing, the visitors were depending on some rapid counter attacking to secure a second breakthrough. Indeed, it was from such a route that they made it 2-0 on 89 minutes.

Substitute Shane King and Craig Kennedy combined with a series of passes down the right, before Kennedy displayed great composure in the box as he rounded Healy and side footed into an empty net to a chorus of massive cheering from the Bernard’s bench.

Meanwhile, in Drom there was an equally competitive encounter as Salthill Devon came from behind to defeat previous leaders Corrib Rangers by 2-1. The dismissal of four players in the closing quarter just added to the intrigue as the visitors lost three in a total lack of discipline.

It was Rangers who enjoyed supremacy in the opening half and they deserved more than David Goldbey’s stunning strike on 28 minutes, but the second half saw the home side take over and they levelled matters just past the hour mark as Oscar Sibanda made it 1-1. Eight minutes from time, Jose Garcia struck the winner for Devon as they maintained their distant challenge for league honours.

Maybe Athenry had their eye on Sunday’s Connacht Cup final as they were held to a scoreless draw by a committed and young Hibernians side. The home team enjoyed the best chances, but on a frustrating occasion they just struggled to hit the target.

Ciaran Duggan was on the mark twice for Corrib Celtic as they drew 2-2 with NUI Galway. Ian Kent and Sean Gavin scored for the students, who picked up a valuable point in their quest to avoid the drop to the First Division.

Indeed, three clubs are in the relegation mix as Colemanstown United, NUI Galway and Tuam Celtic all vie to avoid the drop. They all have to meet in head to head challenges and the outcome of these games will decide who stays up and who goes down.

Meanwhile in the title race, all roads lead to Abbey on Sunday morning as St Bernards host Salthill Devon at 11am.  While the home side have a little room for error, the visitors have none as they cannot afford to drop points as they chase the leaders. They trail Bernard’s by nine points, but have two games in hand.

Further to our story in the Connacht Tribune last week, Athenry and Corrib Rangers have appealed their loss of points for using suspended players in wins over Mervue United and St Bernard’s.

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

 

Connacht Tribune

Galway’s early season cheer thanks to FBD Final success

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Galway’s Matthew Tierney and Tony Gill leading this attack against Roscommon’s Aengus Lyons during Friday's FBD League Final in the Connacht Air Dome. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway 1-18

Roscomon 1-16

John McIntyre in Bekan

ONLY the second Friday in January and Galway footballers already have some silverware on the sideboard. How’s that for hitting the ground running in 2022.

Mind you, there were enough flaws in Galway’s erratic display in the Connacht FBD League Final to ensure everybody in the Tribesmen’s camp will be keeping a sense of perspective after the county’s tenth triumph in the competition.

Between a lethargic start and nervous finish, Galway made life difficult for themselves on their second visit to the new Connacht Air Dome in the space of a week. In the long run, it’s probably better anyway that they are not burning it up so early in the season.

Though Roscommon were short nearly two thirds of their regular team – largely due to the club commitments of the Pearses and St Faithleach’s contingents – they were significantly the sharper outfit in the first half and were unlucky to lead by only 0-10 to 1-6 at the interval.

That 23rd minute goal was badly needed by Galway and, typical of modern-day football when players are liable to pop up anywhere, it wasn’t the greatest surprise to see Patrick’s Kelly’s lofted pass across the square finished to the net by full back Seán Fitzgerald.

Playing only his second game at this level, the young Barna defender displayed a positive temperament in venturing so far up field as he was having some early difficulties on Donie Smith in front of the Galway posts.

It was symbolic of the winners’ initial defensive troubles. Conor Cox was an even bigger handful in the Roscommon inside line as he rattled over three points inside the opening four minutes after the accurate Rob Finnerty had got Galway off their mark in their first attack of the final.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Clarinbridge underline status as local hurling’s rising force

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Clarinbridge's Gavin Lee is chased by Kevin Grennan of Castlegar during Saturday's County U20 A hurling final at Duggan Park. Photos: Joe Keane.

Clarinbridge 0-20

Castlegar 0-14

Ivan Smyth at Duggan Park

CLARINBRIDGE’S dominance at underage level continues as they claimed the U20 A hurling title when overcoming a slow starting Castlegar outfit at Duggan Park on Saturday.

Gavin Lee fired over 12 points as he produced a Man of the Match display. His brother David chipped in with four scores, all from play, as Clarinbridge withstood their opponent’s best attempts at a comeback.

In what is the first year that the reduced age grade came into effect, it felt fitting that Clarinbridge were the side to claim the county title as they look set to become the next big force in Galway hurling.

The South Galway club claimed the Minor A crown last November when beating Oranmore-Maree on penalties. This gave them their fifth title at this age grade in seven years. This is their second title in four years at the U21/U20 grade. Add in the fact that, last October ,they became only the third Galway club to win the Féile Division One Hurling title and it is clear to see that the ‘Bridge are in a healthy position talent wise.

Clarinbridge led this game by 0-11 to no score after 26 minutes and although Castlegar managed to fire over seven points without reply either side of half time, they never managed to get within one score of their opponents.

When Castlegar look back on this final, their wastefulness in the opening half will be a source of frustration. They missed their first nine shots on goal with six wides and three dropping short. Over the course of the game, they created more scoring opportunities (29 to 28), but their shooting woes in the opening half meant they were always chasing the game.

Both sides looked nervous in the early exchanges, struggling to find the target. Despite a Gavin Lee free in the first minute, Clarinbridge found it tough to make their early dominance count as they struck four wides in the opening 10 minutes.

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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Connacht Tribune

Galway cut a sorry sight in Parnell Park horror show

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Galway goalkeeper Eanna Murphy who saved his team from an even heavier defeat against Dublin's in Sunday's one-sided Walsh Cup encounter at Parnell Park.

Dublin 3-29

Galway 0-19

John McIntyre at Parnell Park

IT’S only the middle of January and this was just a tournament fixture, but Sunday’s Walsh Cup encounter at Parnell Park proved a sobering experience for new Galway hurling manager Henry Shefflin.

After watching his charges fall to a crushing 19-point defeat against Dublin, Shefflin got an early insight into the scale of the challenge facing him in trying to make Galway serious championship challengers in 2022.

Their somewhat callow selection proved only cannon-fodder for a rampaging Dublin outfit whose superiority at times was embarrassing. In terms of physical power, craft, teamwork and working to a game plan, Mattie Kenny’s team was operating at a different level.

It proved a field day for Dónal Burke in particular. He ran amok in the Dublin half-forward line, scoring 18 points in total, including eight glorious efforts from play. Galway had no answer to him.

Dublin only scored one goal in the opening half, but they created a half-dozen clear-cut chances. Goalkeeper Eanna Murphy came to Galway’s rescue twice, some desperate defending denied Dublin a couple more, while Colin Currie missed a sitter when hitting the side-netting from point-blank range.

Unprepared for the intensity Dublin brought to the battle, Galway were quickly at sixes and sevens. Their defence was repeatedly cut to ribbons; midfield was under pressure; while their attack could make little headway against ravenous and sharp opponents.

It all made for unedifying viewing for Galway fans in the crowd of over 2,000. They trailed 1-16 to 0-8 at the break and despite a host of changes in personnel – including the introduction of the Mannion brothers, Padraic and Cathal – and positional changes, the trend of the game never altered.

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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