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Stirring Connacht comeback fails to mask early strife

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Connacht 32

Glasgow 33

A four try second half blitz saved some blushes, but failed to rescue a victory for Connacht in the Guinness Pro12 in Glasgow on Friday night. Against a severely understrength Warriors side, Pat Lam’s men dug themselves into a seemingly hopeless position by the 50 minute mark before launching a fightback for the ages.

The harsh reality however cannot be ignored. Connacht were unable to garner a win away to a Glasgow side missing 20 first choice players to the World Cup and carrying more than a few part time squad members in the game. By the end, Glasgow had a flanker in the centre and two under 20s in their tight five. They somehow survived.

The reason for Glasgow’s win was their display in the second quarter where they turned a 6-3 lead into a 23-6 half-time advantage. Two tries and plenty of sustained pressure did the damage as Connacht failed to cope with some questionable calls going against them during the period. Glasgow were better at retaining possession, more clinical and less error strewn.

After half time, it got worse for Connacht. An attempted clearance kick from scrum half John Cooney on his own 22 metre line went awry when he received position off the line out, only to slip in the process of trying to launch the clearance kick. As he lay flat on the ground, Glasgow’s Rob Harley picked up possession and cantered home for the easiest of scores to stretch the home side’s lead to 30-3.

The recriminations were looking very real for a Connacht side not far off full strength. They were heading for a drubbing of serious proportions and appeared to be both rudderless and devoid of confidence. Yet somehow the Westerners found some inspiration and began a hair-raising fightback.

Of the starting line up, Eoghan Masterson stood out, throughout the game. Even during the worst moments for his team, the number eight was one of the few to excel and it was no co-incidence that his break off the back of a monster scrum against the head sparked the Connacht fightback and the first try finished off by John Cooney.

Soon after that score, Kieran Marmion made an entrance and the replacement was another key reason why Connacht were able to wrestle control of the contest from a now tiring Glasgow side, stretched to breaking point by some key injuries either side of half-time.

Dominance at scrum time certainly helped Connacht with Denis Buckley and Rodney Ah You to the fore as Glasgow struggled to compete. The penalty try they conceded on the hour mark underlined as much and marked a full turning point in momentum for the visitors as they moved to within ten points.

It soon got better as another scrum once again proved the launching pad for a try, this time on half way with centre Rory Parata timing a grubber kick into the 22 perfectly for Danie Poolman to run onto and score. The conversion hit the post but the margin was now five points.

Crucially, Connacht failed to maintain the momentum in the intervening minutes and Glasgow’s Rory Clegg capped off a good period of home pressure with a penalty to stretch the lead by to eight after his team had been unlucky to have a try ruled out by the television match official.

Full report in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Dropped points leaves Utd losing touch with Cork City

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Galway United's Charlie Lyons tries to halt the progress of Wexford FC's Ger Shortt during Friday evening's Frst Division tie at Eamonn Deacy Park. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway United 2

Wexford FC 2

IT might be just as well that Galway United have drawn UCD in the next round of the FAI Cup as it will give the Tribesmen a taste of what might come in the promotion play-off final later in the year.

UCD or Finn Harps will be the Premier Division side in that play-off, and United look set for that lottery of a route to promotion for a third straight year after these two dropped points on Friday night left them with a lot – maybe too much – to do to catch Cork City.

It was a belter of a game of football, but Wexford will have been the least disappointed of the two sides as they edged a shade closer to Treaty United in the battle for the final play-off spot.

United, on the other hand, fell to now be three points behind City, and with the Leesiders having a game in hand, and also a vastly superior goal difference (+41 as opposed to United’s +29), they have one hand on the league trophy, and the other reaching for the Brasso.

Stephen Walsh was scoring his 15th goal of the season on Friday night, while Rob Manley was making it four goals in five games since joining from Bray Wanderers, but it still wasn’t enough to claim the three points against a visiting side that got their reward for approaching the game in such a positive fashion.

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

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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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

Salthill serve up a strong finish to take derby spoils

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Bearna's Murcha Iarsach getting the better of Salthill/Knocknacarra's Cathal Sweeney during Saturday's Senior Football Championship clash at Pearse Stadium. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Salthill/ Knocknacara 2-15

Bearna 0-12

Eanna O’Reilly at Pearse Stadium

A very strong fourth quarter from Salthill/Knocknacara saw them see off the challenge of a Bearna side who will have regrets about a game in which they created plenty of scoring chances, but lacked the efficiency of their opponents in front of the posts.

John O’Mahony’s Salthill side struggled to gain dominance of this contest for long spells before their greater accuracy in front of goal began to tell in the second half. An impressive fourth quarter performance put Bearna to the sword, but O’Mahony will know they have plenty to improve on going forward.

The manner in which Bearna opened up the Salthill defence on a couple of occasions in the first half was notable. Salthill were lucky not to concede two goals, when both Oisín Ó Garmaile and Pádraig Ó Diolúin hit the woodwork with shots in the first half. The city men could easily have been behind at half time, rather than going in with a four point lead.

Bearna’s shooting profligacy ultimately caught up with them and undermined an early second half comeback. Three consecutive points saw them reduce the deficit to the minimum, but a couple of scorable frees were also missed, at a time when the momentum was in their favour.

Ultimately, Daithí Ó Domhnallaín’s side were outscored by 1-8 to 0-6 in the second period. Salthill were far more economical, while their use of possession was also superior to Bearna’s throughout the match.

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

Galway United face tough task in Waterford on potentially defining weekend

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Division tie against Wexford FC at Eamonn Deacy Park. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

THIS could be a defining weekend in the chase for the First Division title, as Galway United make the long trek to take on a Waterford FC side that also faces league leaders, Cork City, on Monday, in the second of two homes Munster derbies this weekend for the Leesiders.

United need to get the job done themselves in the RSC this Friday (7.45pm) before worrying how City fare at home to Treaty United on the same night, and against Waterford on Monday – and anything other than a win will mean it won’t really matter how Cork get on.

“Waterford, they are a team challenging for the title, whether they can keep up or not I don’t know, but they are in there, they are a very good team as we have seen, and they beat [cup holders] Pats [St Patrick’s Athletic] in the cup, it is another massive match for us,” United manager, John Caulfield, said of this Friday’s opponents.

Truth be told, while Waterford may be third in the table, they are 12 points behind City and are not involved in the title race, but that won’t mean they will just roll over to have their bellies tickled on Friday, and while United have the edge in the head-to-head between the sides this season, they have been thrilling, hard-fought battles.

United’s first home game of the season saw Waterford race into a 2-0 lead by the break, only for goals from Stephen Walsh and the since-departed Jordan Adeyomo (gone to Longford) to rescue a point for United.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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