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Tough draw for Castlegar in senior hurling title race but Mellows fare better

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Castlegar's Tomas Mannion and Liam Mellows Aonghus Callanan whose teams were drawn in separate groups in this year's senior hurling championship.

REIGNING county senior hurling champions Sarsfields will have their credentials seriously tested in 2016 after they ended up in a group of heavy-hitters when the draws for the 2016 county hurling championships were made on Tuesday night.

The men from New Inn/Bullaun, who won their seventh SHC title last November, will open their campaign against St. Thomas, with Loughrea facing Turloughmore and Castlegar taking on Gort in the other Group ‘A’ fixtures.

2016 county finalists Craughwell, now under player/manager Fergal Healy, also have a difficult group opener after being drawn to play Portumna. Cappataggle and Liam Mellows and Padraig Pearses and Ardrahan cross swords in the other Group B opening day ties.

In Senior ‘A’, the top two in each group qualify for the quarter-finals with the next two going through to the preliminary quarter-finals.

The restructuring of the competitions into Senior ‘A’ and ‘B’ championships has ensured the games in Senior ‘B’ are just as competitive. Ironically, 2015 intermediate holders Abbeyknockmoy begin life back in top flight hurling against Moycullen, the team they defeated in last year’s decider.

That will be a must-win game for both in Group ‘A’ given they will face stiff opposition in their remaining matches against Tommie Larkins, Beagh, Kiltormer and Killimordaly.

In Group ‘B’, Kilnadeema / Leitrim, Clarinbridge, Mullagh, Athenry, Carnmore and Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry will vie for the top position to ensure automatic qualification for the knockout stages. Teams finishing second and third in their Senior ‘B’ group must play off against a team in the opposite group to advance.

As for the intermediate championship, 2015 semi-finalists Kinvara and Ahascragh/Fohenagh have been kept part, with the latter drawn in a more difficult section containing Rahoon/Newcastle, Kilconieron, Ballinderreen, Annaghdown and Oranmore/Maree.

While no dates have been officially released for the senior and intermediate championships, 2015 U-21 ‘A’ winners Kilnadeema/Leitrim will begin the defence of their title against Oranmore/Maree on April 9th/10th. The other two teams in their group are Turloughmore and Kilconieron.

Connacht Tribune

Galway’s early season cheer thanks to FBD Final success

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Galway’s Matthew Tierney and Tony Gill leading this attack against Roscommon’s Aengus Lyons during Friday's FBD League Final in the Connacht Air Dome. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway 1-18

Roscomon 1-16

John McIntyre in Bekan

ONLY the second Friday in January and Galway footballers already have some silverware on the sideboard. How’s that for hitting the ground running in 2022.

Mind you, there were enough flaws in Galway’s erratic display in the Connacht FBD League Final to ensure everybody in the Tribesmen’s camp will be keeping a sense of perspective after the county’s tenth triumph in the competition.

Between a lethargic start and nervous finish, Galway made life difficult for themselves on their second visit to the new Connacht Air Dome in the space of a week. In the long run, it’s probably better anyway that they are not burning it up so early in the season.

Though Roscommon were short nearly two thirds of their regular team – largely due to the club commitments of the Pearses and St Faithleach’s contingents – they were significantly the sharper outfit in the first half and were unlucky to lead by only 0-10 to 1-6 at the interval.

That 23rd minute goal was badly needed by Galway and, typical of modern-day football when players are liable to pop up anywhere, it wasn’t the greatest surprise to see Patrick’s Kelly’s lofted pass across the square finished to the net by full back Seán Fitzgerald.

Playing only his second game at this level, the young Barna defender displayed a positive temperament in venturing so far up field as he was having some early difficulties on Donie Smith in front of the Galway posts.

It was symbolic of the winners’ initial defensive troubles. Conor Cox was an even bigger handful in the Roscommon inside line as he rattled over three points inside the opening four minutes after the accurate Rob Finnerty had got Galway off their mark in their first attack of the final.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Clarinbridge underline status as local hurling’s rising force

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Clarinbridge's Gavin Lee is chased by Kevin Grennan of Castlegar during Saturday's County U20 A hurling final at Duggan Park. Photos: Joe Keane.

Clarinbridge 0-20

Castlegar 0-14

Ivan Smyth at Duggan Park

CLARINBRIDGE’S dominance at underage level continues as they claimed the U20 A hurling title when overcoming a slow starting Castlegar outfit at Duggan Park on Saturday.

Gavin Lee fired over 12 points as he produced a Man of the Match display. His brother David chipped in with four scores, all from play, as Clarinbridge withstood their opponent’s best attempts at a comeback.

In what is the first year that the reduced age grade came into effect, it felt fitting that Clarinbridge were the side to claim the county title as they look set to become the next big force in Galway hurling.

The South Galway club claimed the Minor A crown last November when beating Oranmore-Maree on penalties. This gave them their fifth title at this age grade in seven years. This is their second title in four years at the U21/U20 grade. Add in the fact that, last October ,they became only the third Galway club to win the Féile Division One Hurling title and it is clear to see that the ‘Bridge are in a healthy position talent wise.

Clarinbridge led this game by 0-11 to no score after 26 minutes and although Castlegar managed to fire over seven points without reply either side of half time, they never managed to get within one score of their opponents.

When Castlegar look back on this final, their wastefulness in the opening half will be a source of frustration. They missed their first nine shots on goal with six wides and three dropping short. Over the course of the game, they created more scoring opportunities (29 to 28), but their shooting woes in the opening half meant they were always chasing the game.

Both sides looked nervous in the early exchanges, struggling to find the target. Despite a Gavin Lee free in the first minute, Clarinbridge found it tough to make their early dominance count as they struck four wides in the opening 10 minutes.

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.

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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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Connacht Tribune

Galway cut a sorry sight in Parnell Park horror show

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Galway goalkeeper Eanna Murphy who saved his team from an even heavier defeat against Dublin's in Sunday's one-sided Walsh Cup encounter at Parnell Park.

Dublin 3-29

Galway 0-19

John McIntyre at Parnell Park

IT’S only the middle of January and this was just a tournament fixture, but Sunday’s Walsh Cup encounter at Parnell Park proved a sobering experience for new Galway hurling manager Henry Shefflin.

After watching his charges fall to a crushing 19-point defeat against Dublin, Shefflin got an early insight into the scale of the challenge facing him in trying to make Galway serious championship challengers in 2022.

Their somewhat callow selection proved only cannon-fodder for a rampaging Dublin outfit whose superiority at times was embarrassing. In terms of physical power, craft, teamwork and working to a game plan, Mattie Kenny’s team was operating at a different level.

It proved a field day for Dónal Burke in particular. He ran amok in the Dublin half-forward line, scoring 18 points in total, including eight glorious efforts from play. Galway had no answer to him.

Dublin only scored one goal in the opening half, but they created a half-dozen clear-cut chances. Goalkeeper Eanna Murphy came to Galway’s rescue twice, some desperate defending denied Dublin a couple more, while Colin Currie missed a sitter when hitting the side-netting from point-blank range.

Unprepared for the intensity Dublin brought to the battle, Galway were quickly at sixes and sevens. Their defence was repeatedly cut to ribbons; midfield was under pressure; while their attack could make little headway against ravenous and sharp opponents.

It all made for unedifying viewing for Galway fans in the crowd of over 2,000. They trailed 1-16 to 0-8 at the break and despite a host of changes in personnel – including the introduction of the Mannion brothers, Padraic and Cathal – and positional changes, the trend of the game never altered.

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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