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St Michael’s and Corofin clash in Tuam Stadium on Sunday in County Final

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Strange things have happened in sport . . . Munster beat the All-Blacks in 1978; non-league Hereford United knocked Newcastle out of the FA Cup in 1972; and in 1990 one Buster Douglas ‘stretched’ an unbackable Mike Tyson in Tokyo. . . but if St Michael’s topple Corofin in Sunday’s county final, it will be the local equivalent of those great sporting moments.

For Sunday’s senior football county final showdown between Corofin and St Michael’s at Tuam Stadium (4pm), the bookies are at least ‘taking money’, but it will take a hard earned 12 ‘grand’ to pull in a thousand profit on the hottest ever favourites for a Galway decider.

Finals though are always there to be won and St Michael’s will be hoping that the build-up to this county final will be an ideal ‘cover’ for them to make a serious bid for a first ever senior title. Most neutrals consider the final a ‘done deal’ before a ball is kicked, and in its own way that will bother Corofin and rankle with St Michael’s, in equal measure.

Corofin powered their way to this year’s final with margins of victory ranging from six to 24 points, and their 4-14 to 0-2 semi-final demolition of Milltown made up the minds of most people that the fate of this year’s championship had been decided.

Mountbellew-Moylough (twice) and Tuam Stars had been wiped out in previous rounds by the all-round power and integrated style of a Corofin side where players can seamlessly slip in and out of different positions. There is never a ‘one player’ to be marked . . . it’s a system that has to be taken on.

Corofin do have their ‘troubles’ in the run-up to Sunday’s final with influential forward Justin Burke ruled out with a knee ligament injury suffered in the first half of the Milltown semi-final.

It’s typical of the strength in depth of the Corofin panel that outstanding county U-21 forward of recent years Ian Burke, and brother of Justin, is now poised to fill that gap in the county champions attack. (There’s even strength of depth present in the one house!).

Corofin will also be without Gary Delaney (injured) and Padraig Kelly (honeymoon), while Greg Higgins is rated a doubt, so Corofin manager Stephen Rochford, and his selectors will have quite a few personnel issues to sort out over the next night or two when they sit down to pick their first fifteen.

St. Michael’s seem set to make very few, if any, changes from the side that defeated Barna by 0-9 to 0-7 after a very tight replay in Moycullen last Sunday.

Their big loss is inspirational full back Alan Glynn, who suffered serious internal injuries in the drawn game against Barna that will keep him out of the game until next season, while also out of action is corner back Eoghan Tummon.

The return of Neil Grogan to midfield for the Barna replay represented a considerable boost, allowing David Cunnane to slot back in the full back role to fill the vacancy left by the departure of Glynn.

St Michael’s, though, found scores hard to come by in both Barna matches with Eamon O’Donnell and Eddie Hoare presenting their main threats – the city club will know full well that they’ll need a 100% improvement in their strike rate if they’re to trouble Corofin.

John Kenny, manager of St Michael’s, told Tribune Sport that while reaching a first ever county final was a great achievement for the club, it was by no means an end to itself.

“I suppose we all know full well what a footballing force that Corofin are, and unless we go to Tuam on Sunday fully focussed and committed, we know what’s in store for us.

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

CITY TRIBUNE

Weld rolls back the years as Coltor proves best in feature

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Trainer Dermot Weld in the winners' enclosure at Ballybrit on Monday evening after saddling Caltor to land the featured Connacht Hotel Amateur Handicap. Photo: Iain McDonald.

HE may be disposed as the ‘King of Ballybrit’, but Dermot Weld hasn’t lost his touch for training big-race winners at the Galway Summer Festival.

Monday’s feature – the €100,000 Connacht Hotel Amateur Handicap – saw a maximum field of 20 runners face the starter and through the stable currently dominant at Galway threw six darts at the bullseye, it was Weld who hit the target with 14/1 shot Coltor.

A second consecutive win for jockey Finian Maguire in the most prestigious event on the racing calendar for amateur riders, however, looked unlikely as one of Willie Mullins’ half-dozen challengers travelled by far the best of the field around the home turn.

The well-fancied Foveros and Aubrey McMahon had just picked off the lone UK challenger, the pace-setting Litterale Ci, leaving the six-year-old poised to give the Mullins yard a fourth win in the last five runnings of the two-mile contest.

Though hard at work on market drifter Coltor, Maguire finally got the penny to drop inside the final 100 yards and Weld’s challenger swooped close to the line to deny Foveros by the three quarters of a length.

It was Weld’s first win in Monday’s feature since the Jane Mangan partnered Midnight Music obliged in 2012, prior to which he had won the race three times in a row between 2007 and 2009. This was his eighth victory in the race as a trainer.

“It’s a lovely race to win, it has been a very lucky race for me as a trainer and I also won it four times as an amateur jockey, starting as a 15-year-old,” said Weld.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Hurling legend Canning to hang up his inter county playing boots

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MOMENT IN TIME: Joe Canning celebrates scoring Galway's winning point against Tipperary in the 2017 All-Ireland semi-final. Joe announced his inter-county retirement this week.

HE couldn’t stay going forever and the rumour mill was in overdrive after Galway’s wipe-out by Waterford in Thurles last Saturday, but the thought of never again seeing Joe Canning in a maroon jersey is a scary one.

Recognised as one of the game’s greatest ever players and hurling’s record championship scorer of all-time, the Portumna ace has called time on a brilliant career ahead of his 33rd birthday in October.

A superb striker, lethal free-taker and the best exponent of the sideline cut we have ever seen, Canning’s extraordinary scoring deeds on the hurling fields will stand the test of time and he deserves to be feted in the same legendary company as Mick Mackey, Christy Ring, Jimmy Doyle and Henry Shefflin.

He burst onto the inter-county scene in 2008 and almost single-handily prevented Cork from winning their All-Ireland qualifier clash in Thurles, scoring 2-12 in a sensational individual display.

Many more were to come for Galway and if one was to nominate a moment in time from his inter-county playing days, it would surely be his superb winning point from the Cusack Stand side of the field in the Tribesmen’s epic 2017 All-Ireland triumph over Tipperary.

That was the year Canning finally got his hands on a cherished All-Ireland senior medal as Galway ended a near 30-year wait for the McCarthy Cup by overcoming Waterford in the All-Ireland final at Croke Park.

His tally of nine points against the same county in Saturday’s disappointing qualifier loss was enough for him to overhaul Shefflin as the championship’s record scorer – Canning assembling an extraordinary 27 goals and 485 points in nine games less.

Five times an All-Star, Hurler of the Year in 2017, winner of two minor and one U21 All-Ireland medal, Canning was also a strong presence in the county’s National League triumphs of 2010 and ’17.

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

Flattering Galway footballers blown away by Mayo impressive in second-half

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Galway's Shane Walsh gets the ball away against Lee Keegan of Mayo during Sunday's Connacht Senior Football Final at Croke Park. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile.

Mayo 2-14

Galway 2-8

NO elite GAA team in the country has had their fortunes turned upside down more by Covid-19 than the Galway footballers. Flying high before the pandemic hit Ireland last Spring, the Tribesmen have been struggling to get off the ground in the interim.

Since the resumption of inter-county activity last October, Galway have played nine competitive matches and bar league and championship wins over Roscommon, it’s been one defeat after another. Not alone that, they shipped a couple of terrible pastings in the league and have also lost their Division One status.

Their latest defeat came in only the second ever Connacht Final to be staged at Croke Park last Sunday. Unlike the county’s hurlers the previous day, Galway weren’t caught napping or passive in the opening-half. Padraic Joyce’s team were up for the fight.

Despite losing two potentially influential players – Seán Kelly and Rob Finnerty – due to leg injuries at opposite ends of the field inside the opening 25 minutes, an undaunted and well-organised Galway had the champions on the rack at half-time.

Five points clear (2-5 to 0-6) after two thunderbolts from Shane Walsh and Damien Comer, Galway were throwing down the gauntlet to Mayo in no uncertain terms. They had worked themselves into a position where regaining the Nestor Cup was a strong possibility.

Unfortunately, Galway’s challenge disintegrated on the resumption – a scenario not helped by a shoulder injury to Walsh sustained in an off-the-ball incident before the break which eventually forced his retirement. They didn’t score at all in the third quarter and only managed three pointed frees from Matthew Tierney over the entire second-half.

Sure, the strong wind was a factor in helping a more seasoned Mayo team take over, but the scale of Galway’s collapse made for unpalatable viewing. Players like Paul Conroy, Johnny Heaney, Dylan McHugh, Kieran Molloy, Tierney, Comer and Walsh who were on the front foot over the opening 35 minutes became increasingly marginalised.

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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