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Six of the best as Corrib Rangers go top

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Corrib Rangers hit a weakened St Patrick’s for six at Laurel Park on Sunday morning as they moved three points clear at the top of the Premier Division.

Two up at the break, Corrib Rangers pulled away in the second half with Brian Connolly and David Goldbey both grabbing a brace as the visiting side struggled to gain any sort of forward momentum to run out 6-0 winners.

St Patrick’s certainly had their chances in the opening half with the woodwork denying them on two occasions, but that aside the home outfit were the dominant force and two goals in the opening quarter set them on their way.

The lead goal on 12 minutes was rather fortunate as a Connolly cross was deflected into his own net by Enda Heenaghan; and stand-in goalkeeper JJ Greaney could do little about the second either as Oscar Sibanda released Paul Smith to finish low past the unprotected custodian.

The Caherlistrane visitors deserved some reward in the closing stages of the half, as firstly Mike Ward struck the crossbar with a free-kick, while Rangers left-back Rob Keady threatened his own goal with a back header that went out for a corner off the butt of the post.

If the visitors had their moments in the opening half, just a Luke Donnellon header threatened in the second half, as Corrib Rangers dominated and made it 3-0 on 59 minutes. Keady and Sibanda did the spadework down the left, before Goldbey applied the close range finish. Goldbey then turned provider as he set up Connolly to fire the fourth low past Greaney.

Unchallenged at the back, Corrib Rangers were allowed to get forward at every opportunity and Jason Murphy, Martin O’Connell and Stephen Kirk all went close to adding to their tally. Finally, two goals in the closing four minutes saw Goldbey and Connolly double their accounts, as they scored unchallenged from in front of goal.

At the half-way stage of the season, Corrib Rangers now lie three points clear of second placed Mervue United, with both having played nine games.

In other Premier Division action, Hibernians can certainly get themselves into a title challenge as they have games in hand, and they displayed great character to come from 3-2 down in the closing stages to eventually win 5-3 against St Bernard’s.

Tuam Celtic did things the hard way when they initially lost a two goal advantage, before scoring a late winner as they caused somewhat of a shock when defeating NUI Galway 3-2 at Clonthue Road.

The home side led 2-0 at the break as Thomas Gleeson opened their account when he raced away to slot home in a one-on-one situation, before Daniel Burke added the second from the penalty spot after Manu was upended in the box. A late Mike Togher header secured a home victory and moved them into a more comfortable mid-table position.

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Wootton weaves his magic in vital bonus point victory

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Connacht winger Alex Wootton breaches the Cardiff cover on his way to scoring a second try in Saturday's PRO14 encounter at the Sportsground. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Connacht 32

Cardiff 17

Rob Murphy at the Sportsground

THE Cardiff players were strewn across the pitch, faces buried in the Sporstground soil. Alex Wootton had just made their lives a misery for a second time in a blistering five minute spell and a game that was very much within their grasp had suddenly disappeared off into the distance. That was the scene in first-half injury time on Saturday evening as Connacht cut loose with a burst of brilliance.

Wootton now has ten tries in 13 appearances, an astonishing return from his first season in the green of Connacht. Munster’s loss is very much Andy Friend’s gain it seems. It helps too that there’s a backline orchestrator in the shape of Jack Carty who is playing at the very top of his game with one all encompassing display after another in recent months. The Irish door isn’t opening, but he keeps on knocking away.

But back to those Cardiff defenders, they were crestfallen at half time and positively dejected by full time. For most of the contest their team seemed to be in the ascendency in terms of possession and territory, but Connacht held all the aces when it came to the level of additional quality needed to be a serious contender in this competition. There’s no shame in being second best but the Welsh regions do struggle with the concept.

The Connacht coach has injuries to concern him but nothing overwhelming, Tom Farrell is probably the first choice centre for example and he’s out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury, Quinn Roux would start most big games but we learned this week a neck injury will keep him out until April, while Denis Buckley started this game on the bench. So this was pretty much a full strength side.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Galway keeping all options open for 2021 summer racing festival

John McIntyre

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A lone racegoer follows the action at last year's Galway Summer Racing Festival which was held behind closed doors at Ballybrit.

MICHAEL Moloney is a pragmatist. He’s not a hostage to pipedreams or fanciful thoughts ignoring reality. He doesn’t build up false hope and plays a straight bat.

The Galway Racecourse General Manager knows the odds are currently against punters flocking through the Ballybrit turnstiles for this summer’s annual seven-day racing festival, but he is not without hope that circumstances may change.

“As it stands, the only public health guidelines we are working off is that there will be no gatherings of over 50 people before September. That’s what the Tániste Leo Varadkar said a couple of weeks ago.”

That conclusion gives Galway little wriggle room at present, but with the 2021 festival still five months away – it starts on Monday, July 26 – local stakeholders are keeping their fingers crossed that the overall Covid-19 picture will be much better by then.

Whatever way the cards fall in relation to mass gatherings at sporting events by late summer, Moloney emphasises that Galway Racecourse will be ready to respond quickly to any improved scenario.

Ahead of last year’s festival, Moloney admitted that Galway was heading into the unknown with the meeting being staged behind closed doors and Ballybrit set to be devoid of the atmosphere it has become famous for.

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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Saddling up for a battle with cancer

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Susan Kennelly says wearing her cycling gear, like above in Salthill, and getting on her bike gives her a boost in her battle with cancer.

A city-based doctor has become the second person in the country to be named as a Bike Like Me advocate as part of a campaign by Cycling Ireland to inspire more women and girls to discover cycling and feel confident on their bikes.

Susan Kennelly (42), who lives in the city centre, is a member of Galway Bay Cycling Club and is the second of six Bike Like Me advocates to be announced as part of the campaign.

Currently battling breast cancer, she says she has found solace in being able to jump on her bike and take to the roads, saying that putting on her cycling helmet and cycling gear allowed her to feel the same as everyone else and boosted her morale in her own health battle.

“Particularly this year I really appreciated how normalising cycling could be. I had no hair because of chemo, no eyebrows or eyelashes and had lost weight but hopping on a bike with my helmet and cycling clothes meant I really looked no different to anyone else,” she says.

Why did you start cycling?

After stepping down from competitive rowing after several years I wanted something that would keep me physically active but without the same training commitment as rowing.

A friend suggested I join Galway Bay Cycling Club and I instantly knew this was right for me! I loved getting out in the open air and the sense of comradery and security with group cycling but at the same time I didn’t have to worry about letting a crew down if I couldn’t make a spin.

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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