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‘Wegians pay the price for failing to take their chances

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Aidan Moynihan kicked well for Galwegians against Old Belvedere.

Old Belvedere 24

Galwegians 12

For the second week running, Galwegians suffered a disappointing and frustrating defeat away to a Dublin side, this time going down to Old Belvedere at Anglesea Road on Saturday in Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League.

’Wegians came into this game determined to open their away winning account, but the hosts took the lead on 12 minutes courtesy of a penalty from Shane McDonald. But ’Wegians were getting on top and deservedly took the lead when winger Ed O’Keeffe crossed for a well-taken try, which was converted by out-half Aidan Moynihan for a 7-3 lead.

’Wegians should have added to their lead, but some scoring chances went abegging and they failed to add to their scoring tally, and instead it was the hosts who scored next when Steve Crosby landed a penalty to reduce arrears.

And although the visitors should have held on to the lead, they went in to the break in arrears when they conceded a crucial score in the last play of the half. Although they managed to turn over a home scrum, the Blues failed to adequately clear their lines which allowed Belvedere to take a quick lineout. This set up an attacking move and an overlap created the opportunity for centre John Kennedy who crossed near the corner for a sucker-punch score.

’Wegians dominated the third quarter but once again struggled to make their possession and dominance count on the scoreboard. Finally they made it count on the hour mark when O’Keeffe crossed the whitewash again for his, and ’Wegians’, second try of the game, although Moynihan was wide with the conversion to leave them in front by the narrowest of margins.

However the final quarter saw the Blues implode somewhat as the game completely turned ran away from against them. Crosby soon added another penalty to put the hosts back in front for the third time at 14-12, and thereafter it all went downhill for Wegians.

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

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St Thomas’ to start chase of title hat-trick against Cashel

Stephen Glennon

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St Thomas' Conor Cooney tussling for possession with Liam O'Donovan of Liam Mellows during last year's Galway senior hurling final.

COUNTY champions St. Thomas’ will get their three-in-a-row bid underway against Castlegar in the senior club hurling championship before facing 2015 champions Sarsfields and 2013 winners Portumna in the subsequent rounds.

All was revealed in the Lough Rea Hotel on Monday evening when the new draws for the revamped hurling championships – across all grades – were made post the Covid-19 lockdown.

One suspects, St. Thomas’ will be reasonably happy with their draw, given they accounted for two of their three opponents in the group stages of last year’s competition – defeating Castlegar on a 1-16 to 0-12 scoreline before thumping Portumna 6-26 to 0-19 in their next group tie.

However, given the sporting upheaval of the Covid-19 lockdown, no one can say for certain how teams will react upon their return to championship action on the weekend of July 25/26 and the champions will be wary of the threats posed by all three outfits in their Group 3 campaign.

2019 county finalists Liam Mellows also havea number of tricky assignments in Group 2, no more so than their championship opener against last year’s semi-finalists, Turloughmore.

When the two sides met in the group stages last year, Mellows manager Louis Mulqueen had to receive medical attention following an incident along the sideline.

To compound the 2017 champions’ woes, Liam Mellows lost that game 1-20 to 2-11 in their only defeat in the group phase and, no doubt, they will be eager to set the record straight when the sides meet again later this month.

The other two teams in Group 2 – Clarinbridge and Oranmore/Maree – were both promoted from Senior ‘B’ last year and, in a quirk of fate, they face off against each other in their first game upon their return to top-flight hurling. It’s a huge fixture for both clubs as whoever wins will, most likely, retain their Senior ‘A’ status for 2021.

In Group 1, 2019 semi-finalists Cappataggle have been drawn against great rivals Loughrea once again. The teams are no strangers to each other having met on numerous occasions in the past number of years, including the 2019 County League final, which Cappy won, and the group stages and quarter-finals of last year’s championship.

Although Loughrea got the upperhand in the group game (1-18 to 1-15), it was Cappy that took the plaudits in the quarter-final when they brushed aside the ‘Town on a 2-18 to 0-14 scoreline to advance to the semi-finals.

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

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Last year’s finalists are drawn in same group as Tipperary and Monaghan

Stephen Glennon

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Galway's Tracey Leonard in control against Kate Keaney of Donegal during the ladies football National League tie in Letterkenny last February. The Tribeswomen have been drawn in the same championship group as Tipperary and Monaghan.

2019 All-Ireland finalists Galway have been pooled with Monaghan and last year’s intermediate champions Tipperary in Group 2 of the revised LGFA All-Ireland senior ladies football championship.

As one of last year’s semi-finalists, Galway – along with Cork, Mayo and champions Dublin – were seeded for Tuesday’s draw, which was conducted under the watchful eyes of LGFA President Marie Hickey. Also in attendance was TG4 Ard Stiúrthóir Alan Esslemont as the 2020 finals mark the 20th year of the long-standing partnership between the LGFA and TG4.

While most would see the fixtures in the Tribeswomen’s group as winnable games, Galway team manager Tim Rabbitt insisted that they will not be taking either of the opposition sides for granted.

“Tipperary are a Division 1 team and are obviously the intermediate champions from last year. We played them in the (National) League this year and we had a really good battle with them,” he noted.

“Tipperary also drew with Dublin in the League as well so they are a really good team, with some exceptional players like Aisling Moloney. So, that will be a really tough game for us.”

Noting the “brilliant tradition” that Monaghan ladies football boasted, he also believed the Ulster side will provide a stern test. “Although Monaghan are down in Division 2 now, we don’t know that much about them. So, we will have to do a bit of (background) work on them because it will be another tough game.

“I can’t remember the last time Galway played them in championship but we went up to Monaghan last year when they were in Division 1 of the National League and we only won it by a couple of points. It was a right battle.”

Indeed, where these games are played will be a factor, particularly given the time of year, and this was not lost on Rabbitt. “They haven’t the venues decided yet so we are not sure if they are going home or away – giving everyone one home game – or using neutral venues. So, that is another issue.

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

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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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O’Neill is braced for big battle with rivals Wexford

Stephen Glennon

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Galway hurling manager Shane O'Neill who is expecting a big challenge from champions Wexford in the Leinster semi-final.

ALL may have changed, and changed utterly, but with Galway’s senior hurlers drawing Wexford in the semi-final of this year’s revised Leinster and All-Ireland championships, the recent rivalry between the two counties is sure to remain undiluted.

Galway boss Shane O’Neill has acknowledged as much, noting it’s a game both sets of managements and players will be looking forward to. “I think Davy Fitz (Fitzgerald) has done a fantastic job down there; you can see that yourself. They have played Galway over the past three years and those matches have been tight.

“They won the Leinster final (defeating Kilkenny last year) – and they have been very strong now for a few years – but, generally, the games between Galway and Wexford have been extremely tight.

“I think the way they are hurling they get some great scores and they are also very hard to get scores against. So, overall, we will have our work cut out for us because they are the Leinster champions and, I suppose, we finished fourth, albeit on scoring difference, in Leinster last year.”

Believing that his players, no more than Wexford’s, will be relishing the challenge, one such player that Galway supporters will be delighted to see returning to the maroon and white is Sarsfields’ Joseph Cooney, who has returned from Australia.

“Yeah, Joseph came back just as Covid hit so he is back,” confirmed O’Neill. “He has had an awful lot of work do himself and he has put in that work. He is no different though than others. We have had other players who have been in and around the squad who we asked to do a bit of work.

“Some of those will be coming back in – and we are looking forward to seeing them – because our squad is fluid. Where we have 36, it isn’t a defined squad now or it won’t be for the remainder of the year. We are going to see who has form and who doesn’t and look at how they get on in the club championship.”

Indeed, given the limited amount of time O’Neill and his management team have in assessing and preparing their players, the revised 2020 Galway club championships now take on greater significance.

“Absolutely,” he agreed. “They will be playing every second week in the championship themselves, so it will come thick and fast. They won’t have time to breathe, effectively; but, it should just make for a really exciting championship.

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

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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