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Sunday to tell if the tide is really turning for Galway

John McIntyre

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The Claregalway U13 Soccer soccer team which won the gold medal in the Connacht Community Games finals.Back row, left to right: Paul Brennan (Manager), Calum Brennan, Gavin Lee, Robert Timmons, Pabyn Phiffer, Michael Cotter, Alex Haugh, Shane Martin (selecter). Front row: Brian Shannon, Mike Donoghue, Adam Whyte, Christy Brennan, Ben Lavelle, Liam Lean.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

It was one of the blackest days in the history of Galway football – a record-equalling 17-point defeat to arch provincial rivals Mayo; two players sent off; and it all happened on home soil. It was May, 2013, in front of a crowd of over 16,000 at Pearse Stadium and there was no place to hide for manager Alan Mulholland and his players after a traumatic and demoralising Connacht semi-final.

Taking the match at face value, you’d imagine that Galway’s short term future as a footballing force was a write off but, within a couple of months, they were scaring the lives out of Cork in Croke Park. Some pride had been restored with a few more All-Ireland winning U-21s being bloodied as the men in maroon stopped the rot and gave supporters tangible hope that better days might be ahead.

However, 2014 was a slow-burner with more hardship being experienced by the Galway camp. Losing to Leitrim in the FBD League was deflating, but arguably even worse was a Division Two league thumping from Laois. Further bad news was the retirement of Michael Meehan from inter-county football as the Tribesmen struggled to avoid the genuine threat of relegation to the backwoods of Division Three.

In the end, Galway steadied as the league campaign progressed, highlighted by a morale-boosting home win over Down and pushing Ulster champions Monaghan all the way in their final Division Two outing in Clones. Nobody was viewing them as serious championship contenders but, at least, they had toughed out a difficult spring and a couple of their younger brigade were beginning to find their feet at this level.

Still, there was no great confidence behind them heading to Ruislip for their Connacht championship opener against last year’s surprise provincial finalists London, with a minority of fans even fearful that the unthinkable might happen – a victory for the exiles – but Galway flew out of the blocks and though the home resistance was awful, they galloped to a big win in setting up a semi-final clash with Sligo last month.

If only on the basis of the counties’ three previous championship meetings – with Galway winning none of them – it represented a serious enough test of Mulholland’s men, especially at Markievicz Park, and though it wasn’t until the second half that they pulled clear of Sligo, the visitors had a significant superiority in class and pace with Shane Walsh, Danny Cummins, Fiontán Ó Curraoin and Thomas Flynn winning most of the individual plaudits.

In the build up to that game, St. James’ pair Johnny Duane and Eoin Concannon were released from the panel for off-field indiscipline, but Galway readily put that controversy behind them in setting up a final date with Mayo. For their part, the champions received something of a reality check in unimpressively fending off Roscommon’s spirited challenge at Hyde Park even if, in retrospect, it was the perfect outcome for James Horan’s charges – not playing particularly well, but still getting the result.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway hit out over camogie’s failure to have a split season

Stephen Glennon

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Galway senior camogie manager Cathal Murray who has yet to commit to another term in charge.

NEW Galway Camogie Chairman Brian Griffin has described the Camogie Association’s 2021 draft inter-county fixtures proposal, which does not allow for a split season between club and county, as “disappointing”.

Indeed, noting the Camogie Association has failed to gauge the mood of its membership, which he believes would be in favour of a split season, the new Chairman hopes Croke Park will revisit their proposal.

“It is disappointing,” says Griffin, who replaced outgoing Chairman Gerry Hennelly at the recent AGM. “You would expect they would have looked at it. They had plenty of time to examine it and there wouldn’t have been much resistance from County Boards if they did.

“A split season would give us a better chance to run our club championships, if it was the same as last year, right through the summer months and it would give people at club level an even playing field. There are lots of players who don’t play for their county and for them to have a clear run, like they had last year, was fabulous.”

In the Camogie Association’s 2021 proposal, the inter-county competitions would more or less revert to pre-2020, with the National Leagues running from February to May and the All-Ireland series from July to September.

This would leave just the remainder of May and June free for clubs in the first nine months of the year – and, even at that, county managements would still want access to their players while the Leaving Cert. examinations in June would also impact on club fixtures.

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

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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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

Connacht almost pull off a sensational comeback

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Connacht’s Tom Daly prepares to block down the clearance kick of Munster’s Keith Earls during Saturday's PRO14 encounter at the Sportsground. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Connacht 10

Munster 16

LIKE miners hammering away at a wall of granite rock, Connacht valiantly pounded and chiselled away at what is arguably European rugby’s most effective defensive unit on Saturday and didn’t lose heart. For virtually the entire game, Munster repelled everything that came at them, yet with the finish line in sight, they seemed to underestimate the level of resilience in their opponents and were almost caught.

The story of the game should have been a simple one. It was Munster being Munster, crushing the morale of their opponents. Connacht were 16-3 down by the hour mark, Chris Farrell’s try (while Connacht were down to 14 men), a conversion and three penalties from JJ Hanrahan marked Munster’s scores, Connacht’s response came from Jack Carty. So how did the all-powerful visitors go from unbreakable to unstable during those closing minutes.

Not many teams would still be full of the joys of life after eight visits to the opposition 22 without a single point to show for their efforts. Eight times during the game, Connacht had a platform to breakdown the Munster defence and they failed on each and every occasion up to the 75th minute of this bone crunching encounter. They had lost the likes of Sean O’Brien, new signing Ben O’Donnell, Sean Masterson and Finlay Bealham to injury at that point. Each left the field exhausted and in visible discomfort.

That’s not to say those on the field weren’t feeling the force of endless hits from the likes Tadgh Beirne, CJ Standar, Peter O’Mahony and Gavin Coombes either. They were and they were lucky to be in one piece for that matter. Yet it’s not the physical toll that makes the late revival so surprising in this fixture, it’s the mental toll. Just how Connacht managed to still be in the fight searching for a score by the end is worth considering because it might be a positive indication as to what is to come in the coming months.

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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CITY TRIBUNE

Bradshaw believes Galway on right road to challenge Dublin

Stephen Glennon

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Gareth Bradshaw, who has retired from inter-county football, pictured in action against Roscommon's Niall Kilroy in the 2019 FBD League.

MOYCULLEN’S Gareth Bradshaw, who announced his retirement from inter-county football at the age of 33 last week, believes that the Tribesmen can challenge for All-Ireland honours in the coming years.

Giving Galway boss Padraic Joyce his full backing, Bradshaw says, however, that both Joyce and his squad need time to reach the level that six-in-a-row champions Dublin are at.

“I do believe Galway are not far away, given the talent that’s there,” says Bradshaw, who is a Health & Safety manager with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE), which develops onshore wind farms in Ireland.

“Having Padraic in there, knowing what he gives on and off the field, if he is given the time and the autonomy to go and do what he wants to do, I fully expect Galway to be competing with Dublin over the next couple of years.”

Of course, there is much debate these days about the massive resources available to Dublin, which far outweigh those of any other county. Yet, Bradshaw notes that if you look at “the cold, hard facts, Galway also has so much more going for it”.

He adds: “I know when you have two flagship teams – hurling and football – it demands a lot of finance, but for what we have in Galway – two fine third-level colleges and so many businesses supporting us – there is no reason why we can’t be better than what we are on the financial side of it.”

As a player who gave 14 years of service to the maroon and white, the determined defender experienced it all with Galway – the highs and the lows – and, yet, before his journey is discussed, it would be remiss not to allude to Moycullen’s magnificent county senior championship win in 2020.

He describes the club’s first ever senior title success as “a dream”, stating he always believed Moycullen had it in them to win the Frank Fox Cup.

“I had no doubt it was going to happen at some stage with the crop of talent coming through, but you were always questioning would it happen in your playing days. Thankfully, it did.”

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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