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Sarsfields men spring a surprise thanks to lively show

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Padraig Pearses Jimmy Gelston comes under pressure from Sarsfields Niall Quinn during Sunday's senior hurling championship quarter-final at Kenny Park. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Sarsfields 2-14

Pádraig Pearses 0-12

FOR the third time in four years Pádraig Pearses have exited the senior hurling championship at the quarter final stage as a determined Sarsfields outfit swept them aside with a classy first half display on Sunday. Early goals from Ian Fox and Alan Ward were pivotal moments and Sarsfields were able to comfortably defend their lead in a disappointing second period.

At various points of the contest, Sarsfields were able to afford to go eight, ten, and even 13 minutes without a score, but they had done the damage in the first third of the match when outscoring Pearses by 2-7 to 0-3 after falling behind early. Outsized physically in many areas, Sarsfields relied on clever movement of their forwards, who rotated seemingly at will.

It was too much for Pearses, who had stationed Cyril Donnellan at centre half back from the off, but his impact on the game was minimal as Joseph Cooney kept him occupied while others picked off the scores. Pearses even drew back a sweeper to attempt to close off the spaces, but this just allowed Sarsfields’ Cathal Murray to play as a spare man and he did so with aplomb.

Allied to a half back line of Kevin Hynes, Niall Quinn, and Ronan Quinn who were hurling with an intensity and accuracy that Pearses couldn’t match, it was evident from a long way out that Pearses would have it all to do to compete. Unfortunately for them they were unable to raise their game, and a niggly second half concluded with a large scale brawl that saw Pearses’ Tommy McDonagh red carded.

Their frustrations were obvious and understandable, as they had come into the contest with arguably the better form. Sarsfields, though, were buoyed by the return of Joseph Cooney, Kerrill Wade, and Ian Skehill from injury while Galway minor Ian Fox, listed as a substitute, started to telling effect at midfield alongside Thomas Spellman.

It was Pádraig Pearses, though, who started in smart fashion as Colm Raftery fired over the opening score with just 15 seconds played. Cyril Donnellan then won a free that Tomas Flannery converted well, but Sarsfields had drawn level by the five minute mark as Niall Morrissey drove over a long range free before Noel Kelly grabbed a point from closer in.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Moloney and Parsons grab vital tries for Ireland in Six Nations victory

Keith Kelly

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Kilconly native and Irish prop Cliodhna Moloney leading this charge against Wales during Sunday's Six Nations clash at Energia Park. Moloney and her fellow Galwegian Beibhinn Parson both scored tries in the home team's 31-12 victory.

IRELAND’S women’s side has opened its Six Nations campaign with back-to-back wins, with two Galwegians to the fore in their 31-12 victory over Wales in horrific weather conditions in Dublin last Sunday.

Having began the campaign with an 18-14 success against Scotland, Adam Grigg’s side made it two wins from two when seeing off the Welsh challenge thanks in no small part to tries in the second successive game from both Ballinasloe’s Beibhinn Parsons, and Cliodhna Moloney from Kilconly, near Tuam.

Parsons received huge plaudits for a sensational try against Scotland on the opening weekend of the championship, her length-of-field solo effort helping Ireland to a narrow win. She crossed the whitewash for a second successive game last weekend, and while it wasn’t quite the lung-bursting length-of-pitch effort from the Scotland game, it was another excellent execution by the Leaving Cert student.

Welsh scrum-half Keira Bevans launched a box-kick from just outside her 22 that held up in the wind. The ball bounced once before Parsons gathered possession on the left wing, broke through one tackle, and side-stepped two more before touching down to give Ireland a 5-0 lead in the 17th minute.

“She’s phenomenal,” said Griggs after the game. “You try and help her with her game understanding and her skill level, but the x-factor that she brings is all her.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Claregalway girls left to rue another missed opportunity

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Claregalway School's Shauna Brennan getting the better of Keara Ryan, Presentation Secondary School, Kilkenny in the FAI Schools Senior Girls National Cup Final in Athlone on Monday. Photo: Gerard O’Loughlin.

Claregalway College   1

Presentation SS, Kilkenny      3

Mike Rafferty in Athlone

JUSTICE isn’t always seen to be done on the sporting fields and this was one such occasion in Athlone on Monday as Claregaway College went down in the FAI Schools Senior Girls Cup final.

The concession of an opening minute goal was a blow, but Claregalway recovered well to dominate the remainder of the half. However, they gained no reward before the break, although eventually achieving parity when Elisha Bohan finally secured a deserved equaliser.

Thereafter the game brought little joy for the Galway side, as by now Presentation had taken a grip on proceedings and their two late goals proved decisive. It was a painful reminder of Claregalway’s failure to force home their advantage in a dominant opening half.

National finals are not proving to be very rewarding for Claregalway College, as this was the third final that the same two teams have met and, on each occasion, it has been the Kilkenny team who have come out on top. Last year, they met in both the Minor (U15) and Junior (U17) deciders, so this outcome really subbed salt into the Galway girls’ wounds.

On the new 4G all-weather pitch in Athlone, conditions were very difficult at kick off time as a hail storm engulfed the ground and Claregalway were certainly caught cold as the Leinster champions scored with their first attack.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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CITY TRIBUNE

Big chance for Connacht to halt poor run in home clash with Cardiff Blues

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Connacht's influential back row Colby Fainga'a who is set to depart the province at the end of the season.

IT’S that time of year again. While all eyes are on the Six Nations, Connacht will toil away in their own corner as they face important PRO14 fixtures that could define their play-off hopes. The first of three games kicks off in the Sportsground on Saturday at 7:35pm as the Cardiff Blues come to Galway shorn of many frontline players.

The opportunity to bounce back from a run of five straight defeats in all competitions is just one of the motivating factors for Connacht. Furthermore, the Blues are in a battle with Connacht for fourth and like Connacht, they are chasing a place among the top three in the conference which would book a place in the play offs which kick off in late May.

Andy Friend’s side head to conference leaders Edinburgh the following Saturday before taking to the skies for a one game trip to South Africa to kick off March when they take on the struggling Southern Kings. All three games offer a very good chance of accumulating points with this weekend and the following weekend’s opponents decimated by Six Nations call ups and injuries.

“We all have to deliver, not just the players, but all of us,” noted Andy Friend at Tuesday’s press conference. “We had a few specific goals, one was a home quarter-final in the PRO14 which is alive and kicking. Another was to qualify for quarter-finals of Europe. We missed that, so there is now pressure on us to make sure we do achieve, and with that pressure we step up to the mark.”

There is mixed team news coming out of the three-week break. Tom McCartney has a hip injury so it’s certainly a relief for Connacht management that Dave Heffernan is fit and ready to go after his month in Ireland’s Six Nations camp. In the front row, Peter McCabe is out until March and Matthew Burke is out until next season, so it’s no harm that Denis Buckley and Paddy MacAlister are both in good form and available.

Another member of Andy Farrell’s squad to return this weekend will be Ultan Dillane, and he’ll be needed as Quinn Roux has not recovered in time from an injury picked up during the home defeat to Toulouse. Gavin Thornbury and Joe Maksymiw are both in line for selection at lock this weekend.

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

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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