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Under-pressure Connacht are still stalked by injuries ahead of Ospreys clash

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Connacht winger Niyi Adeolokun is chased by Peter Horne of Glasgow Warriors during Saturday's Guinness PRO12 encounter at the Sportsground. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

AFTER their opening day mauling at the hands of Glasgow, there is no respite for reigning Pro12 champions Connacht as they host table toppers Ospreys in the Sportsground tomorrow Saturday (7:35pm).

The fortunes of both teams over the opening weekend were, to say the least, polar distances apart, with Connacht humiliated 41-5 by visiting side Glasgow Warriors and the Ospreys thumping Zebre 59-5 at the Liberty Stadium.

By virtue of that eight-try, bonus point win, Ospreys lead the way after the opening round ahead of Glasgow, Cardiff Blues and Ulster. Indeed, after the first round, Connacht chase most of the pack, with Irish rivals Leinster and Munster also picking up wins.

In Connacht’s defence, they did have a number of injuries going into their season opener and it hasn’t got any easier for Pat Lam and his coaching staff as they have been left to fret over a number of more.

Influential prop Denis Buckley and centre Peter Robb both sustained concussions in the game against Glasgow. Both are being monitored and are following the Graduated Return to Play protocols under the supervision of the medical team.

In addition, back row Nepia Fox-Matamua (hamstring), scrum-half Caolin Blade (quad) and full-back Cian Kelleher (hip) are all nursing injuries sustained in the defeat to Glasgow while Rory Parata is out of action for a month after hurting his knee in a club game.

They join a long list of players recovering from injuries at the moment, including Nathan White and Ben Marshall (concussion), Quinn Roux (hip), Andrew Browne and Craig Ronaldson (thigh), Sean O’Brien (ankle), Jake Heenan and Darragh Leader (hand) and Eoghan Masterson (knee).

However, on a more positive note, prop Conor Carey, who sustained a shoulder injury with former club Nottingham last season, made a return to club rugby at the weekend and is available for selection on Saturday.

While Pat Lam will no doubt initiate changes in his starting line-up for this one – forced and unforced – it would be a surprise if Ospreys did the same after their huge victory on the opening day. To the fore in that win was Sam Parry, who became the first Ospreys forward to score three tries in a competitive game.

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

Connacht Tribune

Collins comes to Cappy’s rescue in absorbing clash

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Tommy Larkins' Keith Dervan is chased by Liam Collins of Cappataggle during Sunday's Senior A clash in Loughrea. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Tommy Larkins 1-18

Cappataggle 0-21

 By Mike Rafferty in Loughrea

RONAN Murphy provided the inspiration as Tommy Larkins got the outcome they required as their second place finish to Senior A Group 2 winners Loughrea sees them advance to the quarter-final draw of the hurling championship.

For Cappataggle, there was huge disappointment of not getting the required win that would have seen them advance directly to the knock out stages, but they have the compensation of a place in the preliminary draw.

This was a titanic battle. The hurling was fast and direct at times, but much to the annoyance of some in attendance the short puck out was used productively at both ends as the sides tried the short passing game from the back.

Without a doubt Tommy Larkins laid down the quickest foundations and only for some erratic shooting would have been more that five points ahead at the break. They probably never got an opportunity to build on the Jason Flynn goal that arrived on 29 minutes, but once the sides came out for the restart it was all Cappataggle as they tore into the opposition and had made enough ground to take the lead at the end of the third quarter.

From there to the end, it was nip and tuck as Ronan Murphy and Cian Duggan at one end and Liam Collins and Niall Collins at the other, struck over some wonderful scores to edge matters one way and then the other. Indeed, it took a late pointed free by Collins to secure the draw for Cappataggle and they were lucky to leave with even a point as Murphy, in a rare error, fluffed his lines when putting a late free wide to leave matter finishing on level terms.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

A remarkable rally sees St Thomas’ reel in the ’Bridge

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Clarinbridge's Conor Lee tries to shake off the attentions of St Thomas' Victor Manso during Saturday's Senior A Group tie at Kenny Park. Photos: David Cunniffe.

St. Thomas’ 4-20

Clarinbridge 4-17

DARREN KELLY AT KENNY PARK

NOTHING at ‘stake’ but pride and last year’s two senior hurling championship finalists had plenty of that on Saturday as St. Thomas and Clarinbridge served up a thriller in their final group game.

Both teams were already guaranteed places in the knockout stages but for the winners, a path straight through to the quarter-finals proper was the reward and they played like that meant everything.

Obviously, neither side wanted to show weakness ahead of a potential showdown later in the year. The contest even had a half-time scuffle that resulted in yellow cards for St. Thomas’ duo John Headd and Conor Cooney.

Despite all that and the changing weather, the hurling was the only item for discussion afterwards. Three first half Clarinbridge goals gave them a 3-10 to 0-11 interval lead.  Four green flags for St. Thomas in the second period reminded the county that they still are the team to beat.

And that was the talking point before throw-in following their 22-match unbeaten streak ending with a heavy defeat to Turloughmore two weeks previously. And it wasn’t looking any better for St. Thomas’ when TJ Brennan struck a second minute goal for Clarinbridge.

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

Sarsfields shade the verdict again in their spiritual home

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Turloughmore's Mikey Morris is chased by Ian Fox and Mark O'Regan of Sarsfields during Saturday's Senior A encounter at Duggan Park.

Sarsfields 0-18

Turloughmore 0-17

SARSFIELDS don’t lose too many tight matches at their spiritual home of Duggan Park and that trend continued in this slow-burning Senior A hurling championship clash on Saturday.

For three-quarters of the game, however, a close outcome appeared remote as the 2015 champions dictated the terms of engagement and continued to enjoy a healthy lead against wasteful opponents.

Turloughmore bore the gait of a team which still hadn’t come back down to earth after their unexpected trimming of St Thomas’ in the previous round. They lacked cohesion and urgency.

Their approach justified pre-match fears that, with both teams already through to the knock-out stages, this attractive fixture was compromised to some extent.

That backdrop had seemingly less impact on Sarsfields who tend to give their performance regardless of the circumstances. Up until the final quarter, they were relatively untroubled and heading for a comfortable victory.

But just when their supporters were on the brink of giving up on them, Turloughmore finally began to get motoring and despite assembling a crippling total of 17 wides, they had Sarsfields hanging on at the finish. They even had a chance to equalise in injury time only for Tom Quirke’s effort on the turn drifting wide.

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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