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Well handicapped Jacksonslady looks the ideal candidate in Galway Plate

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The Tony Martin trained Quick Jack, winner of the Connacht Hotel Handicap last year, is one of the leading fancies for next week's Guinness Galway Hurdle.

By George McDonagh

THE €20,000 increase in value of the Tote.com Galway Plate next Wednesday has led to a high quality entry which includes Alderwood, Savello, Ted Veale and Spring Heeled, all previous Cheltenham festival winners.

The Willie Mullins trained Boston Bob (11-10) is the top weight for the €220,000 feature, but that is still seven pounds below the rating achieved following his defeat of First Lieutenant in the Punchestown Gold Cup of 2014.

Rebel Fitz is the fly in the ointment among the top weights. In five runs at Ballybrit, Michael Winters’ stable star has won four times and finished runner up in the other. Now a ten-year-old, Rebel Fitz took the 2013 renewal of the Galway Hurdle from Cause Of Causes, but has had some niggling injury troubles in the past 15 months and hasn’t seen racecourse action since last October.

Tony Martin’s pair of Savello, which returned to winning ways last time, and 2014 festival winner Ted Veale will find the two and three quarter mile trip taxing their stamina, while of the cross channel raiders Jonjo O’Neill’s Its A Gimmie ran a fine race when runner up to another cross channel entrant Brave Spartacus in last Saturday’s Summer Plate at Market Rasen. If the latter turns up, a fast tempo is assured from flag fall.

The David Pipe trained Dell Arca though is worth a closer look although he has only ran three times over fences, winning a class three event at Uttoxeter last time in late May. However, it is his length and a half defeat by Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Coneygree at Newbury last November that is the stand out form, even if a 22 runner cavalry charge that the Plate is will be a far cry from a five runner field irrespective of who wins it.

Alelchi Inois has been towards the head of the ante post market since the entries were revealed and this economic jumper is a dual course winner over the two and a quarter mile trip. He returned to action for the first time since last November with a defeat of Bayan when well supported for a conditions hurdle at Cork three weeks ago.

Pulled up twice in graded company late last year, underfoot conditions would not have suited Alechi Inois then and he will be a live player along with his stable companion Ballinaslow, which caught the eye behind Ravished in the recent Midlands National at Kilbeggan.

Third off a similar mark behind Road To Riches in last year’s renewal, all his racecourse wins have come on right handed tracks. Back down to the same mark as in 2014, Ballinaslow would have been closer to the winner but for getting into the bottom of the final fence and losing momentum in the process. He can go close.

The one to concentrate though is the Phillip Dempsey trained Jacksonslady whose mark of 141 leaves her just four pounds higher then when a battling nine length third in the 2013 Plate behind ‘handicap snip’ Carlingford Lough.

A closer examination of the JP McManus owned mare’s form though tells us that she runs well fresh, therefore an absence since beating Upazo by five lengths at level weights over two miles at the Punchestown festival is not of great concern. A winner over the course and distance in the Latin Quarter Chase at last year’s meeting, she was ridden then by Barry Geraghty, who is now the retained rider for the McManus operation.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Big boost for Connacht as dozen make Irish squads

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Former Galway minor hurler Shane Jennings who is one of six Connacht players named on the Irish U20 rugby squad for the upcoming Six Nations.

By Rob Murphy

THERE was some off season good news for Connacht this week with confirmation of 12 players from the Sportsground having made it into international squads at senior and U-20 level.

Six Connacht players were called into Andy Farrell’s 37-man senior international squad for next month’s two tests against Japan and USA. Three of those are looking to make their international debut in Tom Daly, Paul Boyle and Caolin Blade; while three more are looking to continue their progress with the Irish squad in Dave Heffernan (5 caps), Ultan Dillane (18 caps) and Finlay Bealham (14 caps).

For Daly, the progress from fringe starter to captaining Connacht has been a rapid one. The 27-years-old inside centre from Carlow is now a key part of Andy Friend’s plans having led the way in starts this season and his consistent form has clearly caught the eye of Farrell too, with the recent stand-out effort in the win over Munster at Thomond Park no doubt a key factor.

At 24, Boyle has already amassed 57 appearances in the green of Connacht having made his debut in 2017. He also has captained Connacht on multiple occasions and while he missed some of the end of season Rainbow Cup games, the Gorey native was a consistent almost ever present part of the back row during the PRO14 campaign.

Monivea man Blade is back in Ireland camp for the second season in a row and will hope to get his first cap this time around. The 27-years-old is being rewarded for another excellent season in the nine shirt for Connacht where he led the team in starts at scrum half and scored five tries in 20 appearances.

Ireland will play two games in the Aviva Stadium next month starting with a clash against Japan on July 3 before they host USA on July 10.

The Irish U-20s will be involved in Six Nations action, starting tomorrow against Scotland with the month-long tournament taking place entirely in Cardiff to help guarantee a safe environment for players.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway surrender top flight status after Clones collapse

Stephen Glennon

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Galway’s Robert Finnerty who scored 1-3 in their costly National League relegation play-off defeat to Monaghan in Clones on Sunday.

Monaghan 1-21

Galway 2-17

(After Extra-Time)

NO thermometer was required to take the temperature of those hundred or so die-hard Galway supporters who travelled to Clones last Sunday. With their side five points to the good and time almost up, they watched on in horror as a winning lead was blown.

The result: Galway beaten. The result: Galway are no longer a Division 1 county. The result: Galway now have just won one game in their last seven competitive outings. The result: Galway have gone from a side on the brink of something in spring of 2020 to an outfit that has regressed and have now been cast back to the land of mediocrity.

That Galway boss Padraic Joyce didn’t make himself available to the media afterwards to put some positive spin on the performance only compounded the result. By not offering some take, he left a dangerous void in which disgruntled supporters have begun to weave their own narrative about where Joyce’s Galway are at.

Ironically, with time almost up in Clones, it appeared the Tribesmen had turned the corner after a poor run of form. First half goals from Paul Kelly and Rob Finnerty saw Galway lead this thrilling relegation game by five points going down the home stretch, but in the five minutes plus of normal time injury-time, they came undone.

In hindsight, hauling off Galway’s two best forwards – Robert Finnerty and Shane Walsh (although he was nowhere near his best) – was a mistake as it not only blunted the point of attack but deprived it of the guile and experience that they needed to see this game out.

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

Galway U20s set to make up for lost time in delayed final

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Conor Walsh who is a key member of the Galway U20 hurling team seeking Leinster final glory when they take on Dublin next Wednesday.

GALWAY’S U20 hurlers have a number of injury concerns ahead of their long overdue 2020 Leinster final clash against Dublin at O’Connor Park, Tullamore, next Wednesday evening, June 23. Throw-in 7:30pm.

Among them are Sarsfields midfielder Alex Connaire and Craughwell wing-forward Adrian Prendergast, both of whom scored in the Tribesmen’s victories over Laois and Kilkenny last December, but they now look set to miss the provincial decider with groin and pelvis injuries respectively.

“This game is just too early for them, it has just come too quick,” says Galway manager Jeffrey Lynskey, who says Connaire and Prendergast join an injury list that also includes long-term victims Mark Gill of Castlegar (metatarsal) and Conor Hynes of Liam Mellows (shoulder).

“We are lucky enough though that we have depth in the squad and can pull on lads who are performing and doing well (in training). They have trained well, in fairness to them, over the last five weeks.”

Indeed, Lynskey says the form is good in the camp, outlining the focus has been getting the players back up to speed with in-house and challenges games against the Galway development panel.

“In all the in-house and challenge games, they have performed really well. They are all looking forward to getting back. They have trained hard, really, over the last five weeks and they put a serious bloc of work in during the third lockdown. Gym-wise, they all came back in fantastic shape.

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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