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Bonus point win for Connacht despite late flaws

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Connacht 34

Zebre 15

ONE could hardly fault Connacht at this stage. Four rounds down and 16 points out of a possible 20 secured. That’s good going and it has the westerners second in the table. Key to that return are the four bonus points secured, including two in the defeat to Glasgow, meaning that Connacht sit just a single point behind unbeaten Munster.

Friday night at the Sportsground was very much in keeping with the early season trends. A game of many tries with flashes of the best rugby theY produced last season mixed in with some off key scrappy spells. It’s a strange trend and, perhaps, underlines the progress Pat Lam has made with his young squad as even when all is not well the side can still produce scores at key junctures.

The Samoan Head Coach was far from happy in the aftermath of this one, similar to the previous round against Cardiff, his side had dropped their intensity dramatically in the latter stages of a bonus point home win. The final half hour was error strewn to say the least and far from a standard that would satisfy their ambitions.

The start was a different story. Matt Healy’s try was neatly taken, showcasing his pace and finishing ability and marking just the first try of the season for the prolific Dubliner. He was in superb form early on laying on a second try for Kieran Marmion soon after.

That score was the culmination of a swift counter attack that included a kick into space from Bundee Aki that just about popped up for Healy who timed his offload for the supporting Marmion perfectly. Even at that early stage, all seemed to be cantering along nicely for Connacht against a Zebre side, still without all their key men from the Italian World Cup squad.

It wasn’t a dominant display, both tries had come after the hosts had soaked up the pressure from the Parma based club and struck on the counter attack. Zebre had their fair share of possession and territory in the first quarter, but only three points from the boot of young out half Edardo Padovani to show for it.

The bonus point seemed set to follow for the hosts when Eoin McKeon touched down at the back of an unstoppable maul from a five metre lineout, yet it was Zebre who scored next. The Italians were worth the five pointer for the efforts at that stage and it came from a sublime piece of skill from Australian scrum half Luke Burgess, who executed a brilliant reverse pass for try scorer Dion Berryman to burst onto.

Full match report in this week’s Connacht Tribune

Connacht Tribune

Galway minors continue to lay waste to all opponents

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Galway's Aaron Niland is chased by Cillian O'Callaghan of Cork during Saturday's All-Ireland Minor Hurling semi-final at Semple Stadium. Photo: Stephen Marken/Sportsfile.

Galway 3-18

Cork 1-10

NEW setting; new opposition; new challenge. It made no difference to the Galway minor hurlers as they chalked up a remarkable sixth consecutive double digits championship victory at Semple Stadium on Saturday.

The final scoreline in Thurles may have been a little harsh on Cork, but there was no doubting Galway’s overall superiority in setting up only a second-ever All-Ireland showdown against Clare at the same venue on Sunday week.

Having claimed an historic Leinster title the previous weekend, Galway took a while to get going against the Rebels and also endured their first period in a match in which they were heavily outscored, but still the boys in maroon roll on.

Beating a decent Cork outfit by 14 points sums up how formidable Galway are. No team has managed to lay a glove on them so far, and though Clare might ask them questions other challengers haven’t, they are going to have to find significant improvement on their semi-final win over 14-man Kilkenny to pull off a final upset.

Galway just aren’t winning their matches; they are overpowering the teams which have stood in their way. Their level of consistency is admirable for young players starting off on the inter-county journey, while the team’s temperament appears to be bombproof, no matter what is thrown at them.

Having romped through Leinster, Galway should have been a bit rattled by being only level (0-4 each) after 20 minutes and being a little fortunate not to have been behind; or when Cork stormed out of the blocks at the start of the second half by hitting 1-4 to just a solitary point in reply, but there was never any trace of panic in their ranks.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

United wary of the threat from Treaty

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Galway United’s goal scorer Stephen Walsh gets to grips with Wexford’s Hugh Douglas during Friday's First Division tie at Eamonn Deacy Park. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy,

GALWAY United need to guard against any kind of complacency when they make the short hop down the M18 this Friday to take on Treaty United at the Markets Field (7.45pm).

The game is a meeting of the two form teams in the division, and as in previous meetings between the sides, will have an additional edge given the number of former United players in the home side’s ranks, and the pair of Limerick lads playing for United.

There might have been just the eight meetings between the sides since Treaty became the latest iteration to represent Limerick in the League of Ireland in 2021, and while United have yet to lose to the men in the candy-cane strips, there has never been more than a goal in four of their eight wins.

The most recent of those was back in February, when Rob Slevin scored the only goal of the game in Eamonn Deacy Park after a tough battle against a side who made a slow start to the season, before finally finding their groove in the past month.

Having taken just three points from their first six games before finally getting a win against Longford Town, they reverted to type with just one point from their next three games, but are now on a run of four wins on the spin, scoring 12 goals and conceding just one.

Their most recent win was a 3-0 victory away to Longford Town last Saturday, and they could have won by double that against the only side to have beaten United this season. That in itself is a warning.

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

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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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.

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

Devon crowned Women’s Connacht Cup champions

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Luke Byrnes (centre) ceebrates with Paddy Gannon (left) and Sam Omokua afetr scoring his second goal aganist St Bernard's. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

While the Salthill Devon men’s team might have lost their grip on the Connacht Junior Cup that they held for two seasons, the club’s women’s side have picked up the mantle and on Sunday last in Headford were crowned provincial champions with a 4-3 win over Manulla.

Following midweek wins for Maree/Oranmore and Knocknacarra, the stage is now almost set for the semi-finals of the Michael Byrne Cup with Salthill Devon meeting St Bernard’s on Sunday in an outstanding quarter-final, with the winners advancing to a semi-final against Maree/Oranmore, while Colga will face Knocknacarra in the other last four contest.

Just one league issue remains to be decided, with the Championship runners-up position up for grabs, as Dynamo Blues have to win their two remaining games in order to overtake Colemanstown United who have finished their programme.

WOMEN’S CONNACHT CUP FINAL

Salthill Devon  4

Manulla 3

Ellerose O’Flaherty scored twice as Salthill Devon were crowned provincial champions with a win over a Mayo side who were losing in the final for the second year in succession.

Backboned by a number of players who previously had League of Ireland experience with Galway WFC, Devon suffered an early set back when Jess Nolan put Manulla ahead, before O’Flaherty levelled matters with a cracking finish on 20 minutes, which was quickly followed by a long-range free-kick from Aoife Walsh.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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