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Second attempt to crown county hurling champions

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There is heartbreak for Craughwell's Brian Callanan, who has been ruled out of Sunday's replay with a hand injury.

Stock has been taken . . . the videos have been studied . . . revised strategies have been worked out in both camps . . . but now it’s down to the action inside the ring as Craughwell and Sarsfields resume hostilities at Pearse Stadium on Sunday (1.45pm).

This county senior hurling final replay in the darkening days of November presents both clubs with the opportunity to lay on a classier dish than what was put on the table at Kenny Park on Sunday week last . . . whether it will turn out that way remains to be seen.

A strong wind, a sticky surface and two sides erring on the side of caution in terms of defensive numbers, made for dour fare in the drawn game, but for all that, the clash was still quite absorbing in terms of tactics and the sheer will of both sides to get over the line.

Early on in that tie, Sarsfields had the gimp of winners about them but as the second half progressed the Tom Callanan Cup seemed to be within the grasp of Craughwell – in the end, neither side could have any regrets about leaving the result behind. Both were happy to settle for a less-than-pretty stalemate.

A more weather-resistant playing surface at the Salthill venue, allied to a relatively drier if colder forecast for the weekend, should help to further hopes of a more open hour’s play, although it does seem likely that the sweeper tactics will again be employed by both sides.

Niall Morrissey for Sarsfields and Craughwell’s Niall Healy gave a great exhibition of freetaking in the drawn game and accuracy from placed balls again seems likely to play a major role in what should again be a very tight encounter.

An equal share of 24 points in the drawn match – and only 11 of them from play – meant that the big players on both sides in the drawn encounter tended to be in defence.

Shane Dolan, Ian Daniels, Mark Horan and powerful centre-back Adrian Cullinane ruled the roost for Craughwell and it was little different at the other end where Cathal Murray, Darren Skehill, the roving Diarmuid Murray, the Quinns – Niall and Ronan – and Eamon Cleary, kept space and time on the ball to a minimum.

Craughwell seem unlikely to make any changes from the drawn match although they have lost standby attacker Brian Callanan, who broke a hand in training last Friday evening. Apart from that, they report a clean bill of health and manager Stephen Glennon is looking forward to the tie.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Familiar foes are set for intriguing senior decider

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Kilkerrin-Clonberne’s Claire Dunleavey and Claregalway's Charlotte Cooney in action during the 2019 Galway senior ladies football final in Milltown. The clubs meet in the decider for the third consecutive year on Saturday.

By Ivan Smyth

IT will be a case of familiar foes meeting when Kilkerrin/Clonberne and Claregalway square off in the county final in Annaghdown on Saturday (4pm). Willie Ward’s all conquering Kilkerrin/Clonberne side will be aiming to win their ninth county title in a row, but they come up against a Claregalway outfit who drew with them in the group stages of this year’s championship.

The sides will meet in the county final for the third year running and the fifth time in seven years. Last year’s decider ended in a nine point win for Kilkerrin/Clonberne, although the victory margin slightly flattered the champions. Claregalway manager Eugene Kearney is aware of the difficult task his side faces when they come up against this all conquering Kilkerrin/Clonberne outfit.

“We are well used to the opposition and we are looking forward to taking them on. We have a huge task ahead of us. We are under no illusions to the size of the task we face. In terms of preparation, we have tried to improve ourselves in the year since. We are just focused on our own dressing room and our own players. We are trying to improve the mindset and show we can achieve with Kilkerrin/Clonberne have.”

Kearney’s charges will be monitoring the fitness of Ciara Burke who is suffering with a hamstring issue. His side have impressed in this year’s competition remaining unbeaten, while drawing with Saturday’s opponents in the group stage. They ruthlessly put Corofin to the sword in the last four, prevailing by 5-17 to 2-5.

“If you stand still you are going backwards so that’s why we aren’t going through the motions in any game. We’ve had a full squad since the Coen Cup finished up so we have been able to work together and improve game by game. We are under no illusions to the size of the task. I’m quietly confident in this squad’s ability, but it will all come down to who is better on the day.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Craughwell make short work of an outclassed Kilnadeema/Leitrim

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Kilnadeema/Leitrim's Adam Nolan launching an attack against Craughwell's Stephen Hynes during Sunday's senior hurling quarter-final at Duggan Park. Photo: Joe Keane.

Craughwell     0-27

Kilnadeema/Leitrim    0-9

Darren Kelly at Duggan Park

IT won’t have anything to do with the Galway hurling manager’s position, but Brian Hanley must have been one of the happiest hurling supremos around last weekend following this impressive statement from his Craughwell contingent on Sunday afternoon.

While Davy Fitzgerald and Henry Shefflin filled column inches about inter county roles, Hanley showcased his managerial worth with Craughwell’s return to senior hurling title contention, and still having areas that need to work on.

No doubt, the lack of goals might trouble the 2015 finalists and they were handed numerous chances. But it also must be stated that Kilnadeema/Leitrim’s energy was well down on their shock elimination of Turloughmore seven days earlier.

Craughwell returned to Senior A in 2020 before falling at the preliminary quarter-final hurdle. And despite not being fancied by some to emerge from a group containing Turloughmore and Castlegar this term, they advanced unbeaten without showing their full hand.

And they set the tone for this encounter just two minutes into proceedings. Thomas Monaghan opened the scoring before Adam Clarke added a second 60 seconds later.

Clarke’s reputation is rising rapidly in Craughwell and he was the star of the first half. He made it 0-3 to 0-0 on six minutes before Brian Molloy got Kilnadeema/Leitrim off the mark.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

St Thomas’ in different class on difficult day for Kilconieron

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St Thomas' Conor Cooney securing possession against Niall Martin of Kilconieron during Sunday's senior hurling quarter-final at Duggan Park. Photos: Joe Keane.

St. Thomas’ 3-29

Kilconieron 1-9

Darren Kelly at Duggan Park

IT took the county champions time to get going, but St. Thomas’ stunning performance in ruthlessly dismissing the challenge of Kilconieron showed that they are still the team to beat in the senior hurling championship.

The four-in-a-row chasing title holders rifled in goals from Conor Cooney, Darragh Burke and Eanna Burke to give a master class, and highlight the difference between contesting Galway’s top tier prizes and picking up intermediate glory.

But before all that, we saw the unity in sport as a free flowing senior hurling championship quarter-final was halted in its tracks.  A nasty injury to Kilconieron corner back Martin Ryan raised alarm bells immediately – even St. Thomas’ players called for help as attention diverted from hurling.

For over 15 minutes, supporters waited for the ambulance to arrive and bring the defender for attention. His team mates gave him a guard of honour – a freak fall ending his afternoon and season. Everyone, including his opponents, clapped him off the field.

It’s hard to know how this contest would have developed if it hadn’t suddenly stopped. Kilconieron led 1-3 to 0-1 after four minutes with David Mangan getting their goal, but St. Thomas’ were already finding their rhythm and didn’t look back when play reconvened on 27 minutes.

Many pundits felt this was the most clear-cut of the weekend’s four quarter-final encounters to predict, but Kilconieron were determined to keep everyone guessing as they opened the scoring inside 40 seconds thanks to Conor Caulfield raiding down the right.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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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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