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Stalemate outcome ends league hopes of Rangers

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The West United team celebrate after winning the Joe Ryan Cup final at Eamonn Deacy Park on Sunday. Back row, left to right: Shane Reid, Lorcan Doyle, Sean Lydon, Conor Beatty, Philip Lydon, Christian Lomboto, Darragh Gordon, Christian Ryan and James Glynn. Front row: James Laffey, Aidan Fahy, Emmet Shaw, Ned Delaney, Declan Noone and Gary Small. Mascots are John Delaney and Kyle Small.

THE task was to win their final three games in their chase for title honours, but Corrib Rangers came up against an immovable object in the form of Athenry on Sunday morning and a shared outcome ended the city side’s ambitions, but was enough for the visitors to be crowned Brod Trill Premier Division champions.

In the First Division, a last minute equaliser deprived Salthill Devon of an automatic promotion spot as they shared the spoils with a Colemanstown United side who were crowned champions as a result.

Now a rare Conor Beatty special, allied to a Christian Ryan free kick, rewarded West United B with a Joe Ryan Cup final victory over West Coast United and, no doubt, the club will celebrate the win at their 70th Anniversary celebrations this weekend.

The weekend also saw Galway League clubs dominate at the Connacht Schoolboy Cup and Shield finals in Sligo where they won all eight titles at stake, with major honours for Mervue United (two), Hibernians and Salthill Devon.

Corrib Rangers  2

Athenry  2

Two down at the break, the home side’s Premier Division title ambitions looked to be dead and buried before a spirited second half revival saw them level matters, but it was of no avail as Athenry hung on gamely in the closing minutes for the required point to be confirmed as champions.

With games in hand, Rangers had to win all their remaining contests in order to overtake leaders Athenry and win a first ever title, but the stumbling block were Seamie Crowe’s side  who did what they had to do as they won their first title in five seasons.

It was certainly the visitors who made the greater early impression and after Dan Cunningham was taken down in the box on just five minutes, they had a great opportunity to make an early break though – but a smart double Conor Sweeney save kept out Colm O’Donovan’s penalty and the rebound.

They were not to denied three minutes later when Cathal Fahy headed home from close range, while just an off target Paul Smith header threatened at the other end. David Goldbey was wild and wide with a lash at goal, before Athenry upped their game again in the second quarter.

Fahy was just wide with a header, while O’Donovan had a penalty claim waved away when going down under the pressure of a Murray challenge. However, the striker did little wrong on 40 minutes, when he curled a stunning effort from well outside the box, beyond the reach of Sweeney for a 2-0 advantage.

The second half saw a role reversal as Rangers took over with the neat Jason Murphy and Johnny O’Brien gaining them some forward momentum. They pulled one back with a terrific Goldbey header on 52 minutes as the striker strained himself to get on the end of a Smith cross to make it 2-1.

Ger Bane and Brian Connolly were just off target with close range headers before the home side were awarded a penalty on 67 minutes, after Goldbey went down in the box. O’Brien slotted home the resulting spot kick to tie up matters.

While Athenry offered the occasional attacking foray as Sweeney thwarted Gary Forde and Cathal Fahy, the main threat was coming from Rangers. However, a resolute Athenry defence held firm as just set pieces offered the home side the best prospects of a breakthrough.

Evan Preston Kelly got no power into a close range shot following a Connolly corner, while Bane’s far post touch in the closing minute went just the wrong side of the post. O’Brien was wild with a free kick and as the clock ran down, the home side ran out of time in their title quest.

Corrib Rangers: Sweeney, O’Connor, Murray (Barbu 80mins), Bane, Preston Kelly, Murphy, Connolly, O’Brien, Smith, Goldbey, Sibanda.

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

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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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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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

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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