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Rugby dominates Galway Sports Stars awards

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IN a year in which the Connacht rugby team broke new ground in spectacular style, it’s highly appropriate that the Galway Sports Stars Hall of Fame award for 2016 will be presented to a former Irish captain and a man who also led the Lions tour of 1983 to New Zealand.

Loughrea native Ciaran Fitzgerald, skipper of the triumphant Ireland Triple Crown teams of 1982 and 1985, will have his exploits on the rugby field honoured at the 52nd annual Galway Sports Stars banquet in the Galway Bay Hotel on Saturday night, February 4.

It’s going to be an occasion dominated by the sport of rugby as Connacht’s mould-breaking Guinness Pro12 success will be celebrated with three different awards – Coach of the Year: Pat Lam; Player of the Year: John Muldoon; and the Team of the Year accolade

It will also be a big night for the Sarsfields Camogie Club as their great exploits at different levels, including a first ever county senior title, is recognised with the Club of the Year award, while multi-medal winner Siobhan McGrath will pick up the individual Camogie honour.

Galway captain David Burke, who also central to St Thomas’ regaining the Galway title, has been chosen as the Hurler of the Year, with the Gaelic Football award going to Corofin’s defensive dynamo Ciaran McGrath, a player who has twice recovered from career-threatening injuries.

McGrath’s clubmate, Dáithí Burke, is honoured with a Special Achievement award following a hectic season which saw win a hurling All Star and play a leading role in Corofin capturing the Galway football title for a fourth year-in-a-row and also regaining the Connacht crown.

Jockey Paddy Brennan, who enjoyed a landmark season thanks to the exploits of Cue Card and reaching 1,000 career winners, picks up the Horse Racing award for the fourth time, while another multi-award winner Sean Breathnach, Irish Shot Putt champion, takes the Athletics accolade again.

Also, no strangers to these awards are Daryl Horan, whose fantastic season with Dundalk ensures the Salthill man wins the Soccer accolade for the second year in succession, and Ronan Mullarney, who followed into the footsteps of some legendary Irish golfers by winning the prestigious Mullingar Scratch Cup.

Newcomers to the honours list are Niamh Duggan (Ladies Football), Gabriel Dossen (Boxing), Eoin Rockall (Basketball), and Aoife Shorten (Swimming), while National champions, the NUIG Coxless Fours, will be feted with the Rowing award.

Another highlight of the presentation banquet promises to be the honouring of TJ Beatty as the Special Dedication award winner in recognition of his lifetime’s involvement with athletics between competing, coaching and administrating.  Gold medal cycling winner in Rio, Eoghan Clifford will have his great achievement recognised with the Paralympics award.

The Sports Stars awards are the definitive benchmark of sporting achievement in the county and special guest at the presentation banquet – the social highlight of the local sporting year – will be Eamonn Coughlan, the former World 5,000m champion.

Galway’s biggest private employers and medical devices company, Medtronic, continue as sponsors of the Sports Stars awards, and the panel of local journalists who adjudicate on the awards are indebted to the company for its valued support.

The selection panel comprised of: John McIntyre, Connacht Tribune; Billy Coss, Tuam Herald; Mártan Ó Ciadhra, Raidio na Gaeltachta; Frank Farragher, Connacht Tribune; Stephen Glennon, Connacht Tribune; Michael Glynn, Connacht Tribune; Seán Bán Breathnach, Raidio na Gaeltachta; Keith Kelly, Connacht Tribune; and Dara Bradley, Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Referee shortage sees local games called off

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The Salthill Devon side that beat Corrib Celtic 4-1 in Drom last Friday night. Back row from left: Jackson Da Silva, Andrew Connolly, Cillian Doyle, Shane O’Rourke, Calum Crowe, and Arek Mamala. Front: Matthew Barrett, Darren Darcy, Matthew Murray, Michael Gallagher and Vinny Faherty. Photos: Iain McDonald.

Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

It is not often that Mervue United have to wait until the third series of games in the Premier Division to get their first win, but after earlier losses to Maree/Oranmore and Athenry they finally secured their first success on the all-weather at Fahy’s Field on Sunday morning.

A 2-1 win over St Bernard’s moved them off the foot of the table, but in a close contest it was an outcome that could have gone either way. Mayo native Eoin Prendergast took both his goals well, although they were of the simple variety as deliveries over the top exposed the visitors cover and the former Conn Rangers striker was left with simple tap-in’s as they led by two at the break.

In contrast the St Bernard’s reply was a cracking effort as Matty Finn crossed from the right and the inrushing Paddy Mullins headed powerfully past Rob Carr to pull one back.

The visitors had plenty of opportunities to get back on level terms, but it was an occasion when their finishing let them down. Twice Dillon Murphy threatened a breakthrough, but his opening effort few across the face of goal; before failing to connect with a Keith Forde delivery.

Brian Moran had an effort that was easily gathered by Rob Carr, before Matty Finn was well off target with a late chance. All the opportunities were not at the one end, as Mervue threatened when Robert Carroll headed over following a Eli Sheedy corner; while Prendergast missed a great chance to complete his hat-trick, but fired over from in front of goal after a neat knockdown by Stephen Larkin set him up.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Lyons’ spectacular bicycle kick carries day for United

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Mikie Rowe of Galway United and Cork City's Cian Coleman in a race for possession during Friday night's First Division tie at Eamonn Deacy Park.

Galway United  2

Cork City 1

By Mike Rafferty at Eamonn Deacy Park

THERE is no doubt that the Galway United players will have had more of a pep in their step at training this week as their come-from-behind victory over Cork City at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night finally ended their five match winless streak and. hopefully, in the process installed a bit of confidence in their own ability.

No doubt the fact that the visitors would have clinched the Airtricity First Division title if they were to win was a further incentive for the home side to raise their game to a level that had gone missing in recent outings.

However, United did fall behind for the fourth game in succession, before two goals in a three minute spell by Wilson Waweru and Charlie Lyons rescued the situation and moved them to within seven points of the league leaders. United do enjoy a game in hand and while they are free this weekend, their next outing away against Treaty United will bring them level on games played with Cork City.

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 thrashed by Ulster but internationals return for tough South African trip

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Connacht's Caolin Blade who scored their only try in Saturday's heavy URC defeat to Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium.

By JOHN FALLON

ANDY Friend says Connacht need to pick up the pieces quickly from an opening night hammering (36-10) to Ulster after going down by five tries to one in Belfast.

Ulster dominated the opening half and were good value for their 14-3 lead as Connacht had to defend for long periods of a half littered with mistakes by both sides.

Centres Luke Marshall and Stuart McCloskey were dominant and the two combined for the opening score after 27 minutes, before 21-year old hooker Tom Stewart crowned his first start by punishing poor defending when he looped around a lineout to score three minutes from the break.

Connacht finished the half with a boost when Conor Fitzgerald landed a penalty from 35 metres to cut the gap to 11 points but they fell apart after the restart, coughing up six penalties in ten minutes.

Scrum-half Nathan Doak extended the lead with a 45th minute penalty and then he touched down for a try six minutes later when Stewart was stopped just short.

Doak’s third conversion made it 24-3 as both sides emptied their benches and Ulster secured the bonus point when full-back Stewart Moore got over after Connacht No.8 Paul Boyle was binned for offiside.

Replacement scrum-half Caolin Blade got over for a consolation try ten minutes from time after former Leinster out-half David Hawkshaw also impressed after coming on, but other than the performance of another ex-Leinster player, flanker Josh Murphy, there were few other consolations as Ulster finished on a high with replacement prop Callum Reid getting the touchdown and Doak converting from the right.

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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