Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Talking Sport

St. Raphael’s boys make a little piece of hurling history

Stephen Glennon

Published

on

Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon

ST. Raphael’s, Loughrea are no strangers to creating history, given that they are the only Galway and Connacht college to win the Croke Cup in the history of the All-Ireland ‘A’ colleges hurling competition. It was no surprise then that the history-makers achieved another unique feat in the school year just gone by.

In addition to winning the Connacht Colleges ‘B’ competition for the fourth time in five years, the school was also part of the amalgamated Mercy Colleges outfit that claimed Connacht ‘A’ honours with victory over Presentation College, Athenry in the Spring.

It was the first time an amalgamated side won the provincial title but, more remarkable, was that a core group of players from the one school now held medals from both grades in the same year. “So, I suppose, these fellows are very unique in the sense that they hold an ‘A’ Connacht Colleges medal and a ‘B’ Connacht Colleges medal and it’s more than likely that it won’t ever happen again,” says St. Raphael’s manager Sean Parr.

Indeed, whatever about a core group of players winning both titles, with the Colleges hurling competitions to be restructured for the next school year, this could possibly result in amalgamated sides being disbanded – so bringing an end to the successful partnership between St. Raphael’s and Mercy College, Woodford.

At any rate, there can be no disputing the notable achievements of the St. Raphael’s players, who also won the Regan Cup (League Division 2), defeating ‘The Bish’ in the decider, and went through the school year unbeaten in the province.

To the fore in the respective campaigns was Kilconieron’s Shane Caulfield and Parr has nothing but high praise for the centre-half back. “Shane has 10 senior hurling medals with Raphael’s. He has four Connacht Colleges ‘B’, he has a Connacht Colleges ‘A’, and he has five Regan Cups, in a row.

“It is some haul. The thing about it is that if you are a hurler in the best school in Kilkenny, you are not going to be hurling on the school’s senior team in second year but Shane was in goal that year. It’s incredible when you think about it.”

Parr says, though, that the current crop of players was four years in the making and highlights this was reflected in the age profile of the St. Raphael’s and Mercy Colleges outfit. “About eight or nine of our ‘A’ team were 18 and a half. They were underage for Colleges but overage for minor hurling with their clubs. So, we had a team who were a big, physical set of lads.

“That said, we had a lot of losses along the way as well. We lost to Portumna [in the ‘A’ final] a year ago, so winning it this year was a major string in the bow. Look it, that kind of group of players only comes together once in a while and, I suppose, we capitalised on it when it happened. A lot of teams don’t.”

Unfortunately, when it came to the All-Ireland series, Mercy Colleges lost out to Kilkenny CBS in a cracking game at the penultimate stage in Banagher while St. Raphael’s, themselves, were caught by a pacey St. Mary’s of Belfast side in their All-Ireland ‘B’ semi-final.

“St. Mary’s of Belfast have almost 1,200 students – it is a CBS – while we have 400. So, it was David v Goliath stuff. I have regrets from that game in some respects. They played a running game and the following Saturday when we (Mercy Colleges) played Ulster Colleges [in the ‘A’ quarter-final] we were able to set ourselves up differently to deal with that and to counteract that.

“So, while we benefited the following week, if you could have foreseen what was going to happen and had your tactics a bit better we could possibly have overturned that result,” believes Parr, who agrees it may have been a blessing in disguise.

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

Connacht Tribune

Connacht raise the roof again with magnificent late heroics

John McIntyre

Published

on

Claregalway's Dara Whelan, Conor Flaherty, Barry Callanan and Dylan Buckley with the Padraig Stephens Cup after their County U20 A Football Final victory over Salthill-Knocknacarra at Duggan Park on Saturday. Photo: Enda Noone.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

THE dramatic finale at the Sportsground on Saturday ought to have made the RTE Six One News sporting headlines, but there wasn’t a mention of Connacht’s extraordinary late heroics against Gloucester which keeps the province’s hopes of reaching the European Champions Cup quarter-finals alive.

Instead, the rugby spotlight was on Munster’s away defeat to champions Saracens. Later during the sports segment on the Six One News, Connacht’s never-say-die comeback was relegated to the last match of the Champions Cup wrap up. RTE, in their wisdom, believed that Munster’s 15-6 loss and Leinster’s routing of a makeshift Northampton on the same day were somehow more meritorious.

If Leinster or Munster had achieved what Connacht did in the latest round of European pool matches, can you imagine how gushing RTE’s coverage would have been? When a Tipperary man with a strong GAA background starts taking offence over Connacht not getting the coverage they are entitled to, it does give an insight into why rugby in the West feels hard done by in terms of national acclaim.

For all that, last Saturday was another thumping experience on College Road. With their European Championship knock-out ambitions on the line, it was victory or bust for Caolin Blade and company. But when Connacht trailed by 24-13 with less than six minutes remaining, it was impossible to see how they could salvage a result.

A pragmatic Gloucester already had the four-try bonus point in the bag. They may have trailed 10-7 at the break having faced the elements, but  tries from Mark Atkinson (two) and captain Lewis Ludlow turned the game on its head. Connacht were remaining competitive but the breaks were going the way of a team they had never previously beaten.

The home fans in the crowd of 6,800 were understandably resigned to the worst. The yellow carding of Ludlow for a deliberate knock on meant Gloucester were reduced to 14 for the closing minutes, but nobody at the Sportsground thought much of it. Connacht were 11 points behind with time running out. They needed a miracle.

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.

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Being backed into a corner could help to ignite the Galway hurlers

John McIntyre

Published

on

Galway full back Daithí Burke giving Wexford's Paul Morris no quarter during Sunday's Leinster hurling championship clash at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

MICHEÁL Donoghue faces the biggest challenge of his management career so far after Galway’s latest subdued display of 2019 at Pearse Stadium last Sunday. A lot of the same personnel are still there from the team’s magnificent All-Ireland triumph of two years, but the form of a number of influential players has nose-dived since last September’s championship loss to Limerick.

After a late collapse against Waterford in the National League quarter-final, Galway had some questions to answer ahead of their Leinster campaign and not withstanding their significant injury problems over the past few months, the Tribesmen’s stock has continued to decline judging by this month’s displays against both Carlow and Wexford.

Though it’s far from a full-blown crisis and we must keep a sense of perspective, there’s no point being wise after the event. On the evidence of what have seen to date this summer, Galway are dicing with an unexpected premature exit from the championship unless the squad can rediscover the hunger, intensity and quality which characterised many of their performances in 2017.

The continued absence of Joe Canning – and it is a mighty blow – can’t explain everything. Sure, Daithí Burke, Joseph Cooney, Jonathan Glynn, Adrian Tuohey and John Hanbury, an important introduction against Wexford, remain short of competitive action, but as a package, Galway should still be better than this.

Failing to find the net against either Carlow or Wexford, together with the lack of fluency and sharpness, has some local alarm bells ringing, leaving the team management with plenty to ponder on ahead of Sunday week’s big collision with Kilkenny. Lose that and Galway’s season will hang on getting a result at Parnell Park – an unforgiving venue at the best of times.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
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.

Continue Reading

CITY TRIBUNE

St Thomas’ man behind the scenes typifies why club is going so strong

Stephen Glennon

Published

on

The St. Thomas' management celebrate after their county SHC final victory over Liam Mellows. Left to right: Kenneth Larkin, Claude Geoghegan, Kevin Lally and TJ Ryan.

Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon

WHAT was meant to be a few minutes of soundbite ahead of St. Thomas’ All-Ireland senior club hurling semi-final clash against Cushendall on Saturday has metamorphosed into a full-scale Talking Sport interview. Simply, because, Claude Geoghegan is an interesting guy.

For the past decade, Geoghegan has been the man behind the scenes and in his own inimitable way he has contributed just as much to St. Thomas’s success story as anybody else in Kilchreest and Peterswell. Perhaps, even more so.

As club secretary, he presided over St. Thomas’ historic county and All-Ireland club victories in the 2012/2013 season while, in the past three years, he has served as selector under managers John Burke and Kevin Lally, winning a county senior crown with each in 2016 and 2018 respectively. It is a proud record.

“I have held a few positions alright over the best part of a decade now — four or five years as secretary — and this is my third year involved now with the senior team. It is a way of life, I suppose, more than anything else,” begins the 31-year-old.

“When you are from a rural locality, it is what you are brought up with. It is what you know. If I wasn’t involved in the club in some capacity, I would feel I had a bit too much spare time on my hands. I would feel a bit odd without it, being honest.”

A history teacher at Presentation College, Athenry, Geoghegan explains his family are steeped in GAA tradition. His father Seamus hurled with the club before managing the intermediate team, as it was back then, while his older brother James has also done his duty as club secretary.

“Also, when the club amalgamated in 1968, my father was on the U14 team that won the county championship that year. We actually haven’t won the ‘A’ championship at U14 since. We have won plenty, but not that.”

Indeed, three SHC county titles in the last seven years would suggest that St. Thomas’ is a very special club but Geoghegan argues they are no different to any of the other clubs around. “Every other club is putting in the time that we are putting in. We are not special in any way in comparison to anyone else but we are incredibly fortunate to have a special group of players who have come together at one time.”

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.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads

Advertisement

Weather

Weather Icon
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending