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Lynskey’s young squad defy the odds once again in terrific win

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Galway's Jack Coyne picks off a point in the first-half of Sunday's All-Ireland minor hurling final despite the best efforts of Tipperary's Darragh Peters. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Galway 4-13

Tipperary 1-16

WHEN Tipperary’s Stephen Quirke levelled Sunday’s All-Ireland minor final for the eighth time on 35 minutes, there was a sense that this could well become the third Croke Park appearance in succession in which this Galway team would feature in a nerve-shreddingly tight finale.

Within five astonishing minutes, though, Galway had shook the Premier County to their core, registering 2-2 without reply as goals from substitute Liam Forde, with his first touch, and Cianan Fahy propelled Jeffrey Lynskey’s well-drilled side towards a victory that will taste even more sweet given the fact that they were underdogs in all four of the games contested in 2015.

Yet now they stand proudly as the county’s tenth national minor champions, captain Seán Loftus accepting the Irish Press Cup on behalf of his jubilant team-mates, after a team performance that was laced with character, intensity, hard work, and, most importantly, clinical finishing when it was needed most.

Clarinbridge’s Evan Niland picked up the Man of the Match award and contributed handsomely as a full forward unafraid to take on his man and a dead ball expert. There were plenty of other heroes, though, with Shane Bannon and sweeper Loftus shining brightest amongst a disciplined defence, while Jack Coyne, Jack Grealish, Thomas Monaghan, and Brian Concannon all contributed handsomely.

Most importantly, though, this was a one-to-fifteen and beyond team effort in which everyone played a vital role. Lynskey and his backroom team of Shane Cusack, Gavin Keary, and John Commins have worked diligently to build a special team ethos within this group and the fruits of their labour were plain to see as pre-match favourites Tipperary were relentlessly hounded, pressurised, blocked, and hooked for the hour and more.

As the ensuing senior decider cruelly demonstrated, it is usually the side that can work harder for longer that will prevail in a closely matched encounter, and in this instance it was Galway who were able to sustain their energy levels and call on impact substitutes as Tipperary’s dual stars faded badly in the second half.

The opening half hour had been a cagey, tit-for-tat battle in which Galway had produced the rare moments of top quality hurling. Tipperary had their moments, but critically failed to convert goal chances that could really have sparked their attempt to win the county’s seventh minor title from eight final encounters with the Tribesmen.

Galway began sharply and had two well struck frees from Niland on the board in no time, Clarinbridge club-mates Niland and centre half back Ian O’Brien drawing the fouls. Despite Hawkeye ruling out Alan Tynan’s earlier effort, Tipperary then rattled off two quick scores from Lyndon Fairbrother and Tommy Nolan.

As an early sign of the Galway full-back line’s determination, Kilnadeema-Leitrim’s Ciarán Connor then won a race for possession with Fairbrother, before sending a clever ball up the sideline where Cianan Fahy batted back to Jack Coyne, who split the posts, albeit the umpires again were calling for Hawkeye to decide.

Coyne and Grealish were already leading by example at midfield, the Gort midfielder letting Tipp have nothing easy while Loftus was already stationed in a roving sweeper role. This left Brian McGrath the spare man at the other end and he held the centre back space he had been allotted to good effect.

Fairbrother popped over a free from the right sideline for Tipperary, but was wide soonafter with another. In the 13th minute, their target man Garry Ryan burst onto a breaking ball, galloped clear and drove a shot that appeared destined for the corner of the net before goalkeeper Darragh Gilligan’s outstretched hurl magnificently diverted the sliotar away for a ’65, which McGrath drove over.

For more, read 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

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

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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