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CITY TRIBUNE

Six players on International squad leaves Connacht without top men for Cardiff

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Connacht's Darragh Leader whose current good form should help to compensate for the absence of the squad's internationals against Cardiff on Saturday.

FOR too long, the very idea that a Connacht player would get a call-up to the Ireland squad was a novelty. Now, it’s almost become commonplace.

When five Connacht men (Bundee Aki, Ultan Dillane and uncapped Caolin Blade, Jack Carty and Tom Farrell) were included in Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt’s Six Nations’ training squad in Portugal, the response was almost one of disappointment at others having been left out.

A sixth, Quinn Roux, subsequently got a call-up, but there were a handful of other Westerners who must have just been pipped for selection.

They now face this Saturday’s away match with Cardiff (5.15pm) – a massive game in the context of league position in Conference A – without their top men. Connacht are victims of their own success; a scenario the other provinces became accustomed to long ago.

It wasn’t like that in Nigel Carolan’s playing days but he says it’s a good complaint to have. And the attack coach reckons the province now has the strength in depth to cope with big-name absentees.

“We’ve found ourselves in that funny state of flux where we’ve been successful on the pitch. What we want is as many guys getting international recognition as we can – that’s part of our own grassroots to green shirts vision – and when those guys get that recognition, they’re taken from us for a period of time, where they need to be managed.

“One of the factors that’s contributed to the success that we’ve had is very much the competition that we’ve had in the squad and our ability to rotate the squad. Young guys are getting the opportunity. We feel that when someone is away, we’ve built up good depth across a number of positions and we feel very comfortable that whoever plays they can slot into the game plan quite seamlessly,” said Carolan.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Connacht to stage first leg of big Euro clash with Leinster at the Sportsground

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The Sportsground

CONNACHT have no plans to move the home leg of their European Champions Cup last 16 clash against Leinster in April away from the Sportsground, despite demand likely to far exceed the 6,129 capacity limit on the College Road venue.

The province has qualified for the knockout stages of the premier European club rugby competition for the first time in its history, and given the fact that Leinster will provide the opposition in the two-leg Last 16 clash, the temptation may be there to move the game to a venue with a bigger capacity, but Connacht attack coach Pete Wilkins said this week that there were no plans for such a move.

“It’s not something I have heard mentioned,” said Wilkins of the potential of moving the game to the likes of Thomond Park.

“Fundamentally for us, we love playing in the Sportsground and the atmosphere that is generated there. It is certainly not something that has come across my radar at this stage, all the talk about it has been of it being at the Sportsground but if I hear otherwise, I’ll let you know,” said Wilkins, who has stepped in as temporary head coach at Connacht, after Andy Friend was deemed a Covid-19 close contact, which ruled him out of last weekend’s trip to Paris.

Connacht’s place in the knockout stages was assured before their final pool game with Stade Francais on Sunday, but rather than being because of a slip-up by Castres, it was due to the fact that Cardiff were granted a 28-0 win over Toulouse after the game between those sides was called off due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in the French camp.

As it turned out, Connacht still grabbed the bonus point they needed against Stade to secure their place in their own right – in fact, they took two bonus points – but it could and should have been even more, only for Connacht to throw away a second-half lead for the third consecutive European game to lose a game they were on track to win.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Connacht blow another big lead but still create history

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Connacht’s Caolin Blade whose impressive display against Stade Francais in the Champions Cup on Sunday saw the scrum half score one of their four tries.

Stade Français 37

Connacht 31

BY JOHN FALLON

SELDOM has a team achieved so much in such underwhelming circumstances. Blowing a substantial lead and falling to a late defeat for the second week in a row in the Champions Cup has taken some of the gloss off Connacht reaching the knockout stages for the first time.

Another late collapse, coupled with drawing four-time champions Leinster in that knockout double-leg round in April, has deflated some of the euphoria around a notable milestone, but it will be great to have Connacht involved in the business end of the competition at a time, for context, none of the Welsh, Scottish or Italian teams have managed to make it that far.

But captain Jack Carty said they need to learn how to manage a lead if they are to improve as a squad. The previous week they blew an 18-point advantage and got caught at the death and this time, despite playing with an extra man for almost half the match, they failed to mind an 11-point lead in another nine-try thriller and will head into the knockout stages for the first time having won just one game.

Six bonus points along the way made all the difference and while defeat at Stade Jean Bouin ultimately didn’t impact on their final place or a knockout date with Leinster in April – five other teams have also advanced on the back of a single victory – a win in Paris would have been a huge boost but instead they fell to an eighth successive away Champions Cup game.

Carty said it was a big boost to advance but there is obvious room for improvement and the pool campaign could have been so much better.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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.

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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

Council looks to develop ‘outdoor museum’ to focus on Galway’s waterways

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New focus...Galway’s waterways.

Consultants will be hired by Galway City Council to develop an “outdoor museum experience” to “tell the story of the waterways of Galway”.

Tender documents estimate the project will cost between €220,000 and €250,000.

It is part of the Fáilte Ireland funded Tourism Destination Towns initiative to help tourist towns and cities offer more attractions to visitors.

The consultants will be asked to devise an outdoor museum that “tells the story of” the city’s waterways.

“The variety of water in Galway City Centre – the rushing river, still and reflective canals, historic mills and locks, and tidal Galway Bay – create a diversity of sights, sounds, smells and textures which enrich Galway for visitors and locals alike,” the tender said.

This “new attraction”, it said, will be located along walking and cycling routes leading from the Spanish Arch area along the River towards Woodquay, along the Canal to NUIG and along the Claddagh to Salthill.

“The outdoor attraction should assist in managing visitor flow by drawing visitors from the crowded areas of Shop Street, Quay Street and the Spanish Arch and dispersing visitors to other attractions such as Galway’s Westend, NUIG, Salthill and Woodquay,” according to the plan.

The waterways will be used to “tell an interesting and compelling story on the development of Galway”.

“By adding a new experience along the route we have an opportunity to increase visitor satisfaction levels by bringing the past and present to life so that it resonates with visitors, and gets them thinking, talking and engaging,” the plan said.

It is envisaged that the contractor will tell the story of Galway, including its waterways, “their development, industrial heritage and how they help shape modern Galway”.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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