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Surprising league loss to Cavan proves big reality check

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Sunday's National league tie at Pearse Stadium. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway 0-10

Cavan 0-12

FOR the second successive Sunday the Galway senior footballers were left counting the cost of missed goal opportunities as Cavan, inspired by the excellent shooting of substitute Martin Dunne, came with a late run to deservedly pocket the two points on offer at Pearse Stadium.

Despite being armed with a 0-7 to 0-2 lead at the break, having played with the aid of a favourable wind blowing in towards Arus Bothar na Trá, Galway never looked in control of this Division Two contest as Cavan funnelled bodies back into a blanket defence that the home side struggled desperately to unlock.

When the chances to put clear daylight between the sides came, either side of the interval, Galway were not clinical enough to take them, as Danny Cummins blazed over the bar in a one-on-one situation before Paul Conroy inexplicably ignored a three-on-two overlap, with Michael Martin well placed inside, and opted to shoot for his own point. To compound the error, Conroy’s shot drifted horribly wide.

Cavan took full advantage of this second let-off, impressively outscoring the natives by five points to one in the closing ten minutes to seal a victory which moves Terry Hyland’s well-drilled side above Galway in the table. Kevin Walsh’s men will seek a reversal of fortunes against Laois this Sunday but should the same level of performance transpire then Galway will quickly be sucked into a relegation dogfight.

From the off, Cavan realigned defensively and pulled Ronan Flanagan, a defender by trade but named in the half forward line, back to the last line of defence to mark Adrian Varley. Conor Moynagh then assumed a roving sweeper role and blocked off one of Galway’s preferred delivery routes into the left corner to telling effect.

Both full back lines were on top in the early stages as the play meandered from end to end, with the early kick-off time perhaps contributing to both sides appearing leaden-footed. Galway full-back Finian Hanley twice broke up early Cavan forays, and Paul Conroy kicked the first score of the day on five minutes when using the wind to good effect to land a fine point from distance.

With Galway also committing extra numbers to defensive duties, Cavan were ponderous in attack, with only a Fergal Flanagan wide to their name by the ten minute mark. Galway kicked their second point when Gareth Bradshaw powered through the centre onto an Adrian Varley handpass to win a free that Conroy tapped over.

Michael Martin duly added another free from a tighter angle on the right, and the game for now appeared to be going to plan for the home side. Finally, though, Cavan got off the mark when Cian Mackey fed Jack Brady in the left corner, and Brady worked himself some space before firing over a good point.

More worrying was the sight of Cavan’s Tomas Corr cleanly fielding the resultant kick-out and, with Galway beginning to struggle around the middle third, ‘keeper Manus Breathnach began to resort to a short kick to utilise the numerical advantage in defence. While guaranteeing possession, it also slowed down Galway’s progress forward and allowed Cavan to regroup.

Good work by Danny Cummins on 18 minutes, for the second time forcing a turnover with a good tackle, led to arguably Galway’s best score of the half when Sean Denvir, with little clear options ahead of him, floated a clever pass over the head of Damien Comer, who duly split the posts to put Galway 0-4 to 0-1 in front.

Aware that the game could easily be slipping away, Hyland introduced Martin Dunne on 23 minutes, forcing another reshuffle as corner-back Killian Brady made way. Dunne’s impact was almost instantaneous, as he picked up a ball in the right corner, from where he had no right to score, but score he did with a beautiful curling effort.

Cavan were then awarded a penalty when half-back James McEnroe galloped forward down the right before being hauled down by the retreating Denvir. After a disciplined opening where Galway had not conceded a single scoreable free, they were now facing a spot-kick which could have given the Ulster side the lead.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Young Mystics cast their spell over Limerick visitors

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The NUIG Mystics squad that defeated Limerick Sport Husklies in the Women's Divison 1 last Saturday. Back row, from left: Kyle Walsh (assistant coach), Courtney Cecere, Laoise Walsh, Ava McCleane, Olivia Sasse, Sara Messler, Maggie Byrne, and Paul O'Brien (head coach). Front: Meadhbh O'Brien, Hazel Finn, Kara McCleane, Laura Lopez Morera, Caoimhe O'Sullivan, and Aoife Ryan. Missing from photo: Aine McDonagh.

NUIG Mystics made it two wins from two with a five-point win over Limerick Sport Huskies on Saturday in the Women’s Division 1, but there was disappointment for Galway’s other three sides.

Moycullen ran Tralee Warriors close on Sunday in the Men’s Super League but suffered another narrow defeat, having lost on the opening day to NUIG Maree. Maree’s hopes of making it back-to-back wins were ended with a poor fourth-quarter performance away to Neptune on Saturday, the Cork side running out convincing winners; while Titans also suffered a second defeat, going down at home to Dublin Lions.

WOMEN’S DIVISION 1

 NUIG Mystics 65

 Limerick Sport

 Huskies 60

A strong final quarter which saw Irish underage international Hazel Finn rattle in nine points helped Mystics make it two wins from two against a visiting side that was overly reliant on Yuleska Ramirez Tejeda.

The US import returned a stunning 31-point haul for her side, to add to the 27 points she hit on the opening weekend’s 79-76 win over Portlaoise Panthers, but a better spread of a scoring threat for Mystics saw Paul O’Brien’s claim what was at time a scrappy win.

It is a very young Mystics squad this year – there were three 18-year-olds in their starting five on Saturday – but they are mature as players, none more so than Kara McCleane, who finished the game with 23 points.

She drained a three in the first quarter to help Mystics take a 16-11 lead, with McCleane hitting 10 of those points, but the visitors rallied in the second quarter, with Ramirez Tejeda (8) and Taylor Herd (6) helping them draw level at 29-apiece at the break.

Maggie Byrne began to dominate under the defensive boards for Mystics, and when she threw in a big 3-pointer, which was soon followed by one from Finn, Mystics moved into a 41-31 lead early in the third quarter, with the visitors’ first points of the quarter coming just before four of the 120 minutes had elapsed.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Shefflin named as surprise new Galway senior hurling manager for first intercounty role

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Henry Shefflin

Galway GAA are pinning their hopes on one of the greatest hurlers of all time proving that he’s fairly handy at management as well after unveiling Henry Shefflin as the new Galway senior hurling manager.

The shock appointment of Shefflin (42) was confirmed on Wednesday night, catching many people on the hop, including our sister paper, the Connacht Tribune, as it had been widely expected that Davy Fitzgerald was getting the job.

“Galway GAA is delighted to announce Henry Shefflin as the new Galway senior hurling manager,” read a statement posted on the Galway GAA website on Wednesday night.

“Henry’s achievements as a player are unrivalled. As a manager he has guided Ballyhale Shamrocks to All Ireland Club titles in 2019 and 2020. Henry will be joined by fellow Kilkenny man Richie O’Neill as a coach and his management team will be finalised in the coming weeks,” the statement read.

The appointment ends a seven-week period of speculation as to who would replace Limerick native Shane O’Neill who held the position for two years, before announcing at the start of September that he would not be seeking a third year in charge.

He had led Galway to the All-Ireland semi-final in 2020, only to lose to Limerick; before a nightmare 2021 in which Galway failed to win a game in the championship, losing lost to Dublin in the Leinster semi-final, and Waterford in the All-Ireland qualifiers.

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

Connacht need the win for two very different reasons

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Abraham Papali’i will be hoping to start against Ulster this Saturday, having come off the bench in last weekend's defeat to Munster. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

By JOHN FALLON

The switch of Connacht’s game against Ulster from the Sportsground to Aviva Stadium was, from the outset, met with not insignificant negativity by some fans and the business community, and with the anticipated attendance expected to be in the region of a disappointing 8,000 or so, some must be wondering if was worth moving the fixture at all.

Two things can alter that. There could still be a decent run on tickets which would make the venture financially worthwhile; and the other is a Connacht victory. A Connacht loss and the forfeiture of home advantage will come into the equation.

It could, equally, be argued that no matter where this game is a played, form so far in the URC suggests an Ulster victory. They are the only side with maximum points, four straight bonus point wins, and Connacht go into it with just one win in four.

Connacht coach Andy Friend says the players and management are not under any extra pressure to win Saturday’s clash.

“No, I don’t think so. I think we’ve got a lot of Connacht supporters who are going to be there. Family and friends are going to be there, so there’s always pressure to try and impress in front of them and to make sure you’re playing the best brand of rugby.

“But I don’t think moving the game to the Aviva has added pressure to us. Certainly, I don’t feel that, and I don’t think any of the players feel that.”

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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