20th Jan

Fitzgibbon round 1

"A game of two halves at Duggan Park in Ballinasloe saw reigning Fitzgibbon Cup champions UL survive a stern test of their credentials against ATU Galway, in a contest that was laden with far more quality than anyone was entitled to expect on a pitch where the stand side was still partially covered with ice.Despite the comprehensive winning margin, the Galway side were every bit as good as their star-packed opposition for the opening 30 minutes, and they would have reduced the gap considerably had they taken a lot more of their pointscoring chances in the second half, instead of chasing goals in a bid to get back into the game quickly.There was no masking UL’s quality after the break however, as they overpowered the home side, with Gearóid O’Connor knocking over scores from all angles, while the strength in depth of the team was illustrated by their ability to spring players of the caliber of Cian Galvin and Colin Coughlan off the bench.Inspired by a wonderful early goal from Ronan Murphy, set up by a delightful flick from Cian Folan, ATU Galway led for most of a first half that was absolutely fantastic to watch.Kevin Cooney carried the ATU Galway attack and he was central to the second goal, knocked to the net by Folan, while at the other end there were some wonderful points from O’Connor, Killian Sampson, and even goalkeeper Rhys Shelly.Michael Kiely’s goal from close range helped UL get their noses in front but the real swing moment was just before half time, when Cooney had the ball in the net but saw the score disallowed for square ball, while from the next attack, Mark Rogers rifled the ball to the bottom corner to make it 2-11 to 2-6 at the interval.Having survived that surge, UL had more than enough firepower in the tank to drive on and win well from there."

19th Jan

Sigerson rd 2

"UCC remain alive in the Sigerson Cup after an awesome final quarter saw them pull clear of ATU Galway at Tuam Stadium.At the turnaround their lead was just one. Then the Kingdom came to the fore as An Gaeltacht’s Cathal Begley kicked two well-taken scores while Dingle’s Dylan Geaney kept the frees ticking over. Some poor finishing at the other end proved costly for a spirited ATU Galway challenge.A cagey first half in icy conditions saw Billy Morgan’s outfit deploy Shane Merritt in front of the full-back line with Geaney and Mark Cronin at the other end close to goal. ATU Galway went in a with cause for optimism at the break trailing by just one and having missed their first two scoreable frees and dropped another one short.After converting a pair of placed balls in the first half, Geaney curled a left-footed beauty early in the second to double their lead. A high turnover soon after hinted at a goal chance but Begley was content to push the margin to three. Nathan Grainger and Geaney exchanged frees to leave ATU Galway chasing a goal with the clock ticking down.Three days after helping Ballygiblin to All-Ireland glory, the lively Cathail O’Mahony came off the bench and ruled out any hope of a comeback. His darting run along the endline eventually forced a full length save from Jack Livingstone and Sean O’Connor had the simplest of tasks to tap home.From there the contest faded to its inevitable conclusion. Some good work done, more to do for UCC."

12th Jan

Sigerson round 1

"TU Dublin produced a strong second half display at a rain-soaked Grangegorman last night to secure a Sigerson Cup opening round victory over ATU Galway.Level at 0-6 apiece during the interval, a third-quarter goal courtesy of substitute Kevin Callaghan ultimately swung the tie in the Metropolitan outfit’s favour. While the conditions made it extremely difficult to play a free-flowing brand of football, TU Dublin will nonetheless take great confidence from the way they worked themselves into the action and ultimately came away with the win that they craved.Fresh from featuring for Dublin in their O’Byrne Cup success over Wicklow in Baltinglass seven days earlier, midfielder Killian McGinnis got on the end of a sweeping move to kick TU Dublin into an early lead in the second-minute.Yet ATU Galway proceeded to storm into the contest with unanswered efforts by Dylan Farrell, Conor Reed and corner-forward Nathan Grainger. Farrell was joined in the ATU full-forward line by fellow Longford man Conor Keenan, while another player from the midlands county - Jordan Shields - lined out at left half-back.There was no reason for TU Dublin to panic just yet, particularly with McGinnis’ centre-field partner Ryan Deegan and Ryan O’Dwyer on hand to cancel out the ATU lead with successive points. The visiting Tribesmen were getting plenty of joy in attack, however, and reasserted their authority through the boots of Farrell and Dylan Ruane.Yet parity was restored when O’Dwyer and Mark Lavin both found the range for the hosts in quick succession. Darragh Campion’s superb point with the outside of his right boot squeezed TU Dublin into the lead for the very first time on the half-hour, but a second score from Ruane meant the two teams were inseparable at the break.This left the tie delicately poised and with the scoreboard remaining unaltered for the opening eight minutes of the second period, it was almost impossible to guess which way this game was going to go.However, Lavin free helped the hosts to settle and St Brigid’s club man Callaghan subsequently flicked a diagonal ball to the net on the stroke of 40 minutes to suddenly create some daylight between the teams. This was the cue for the Dublin college to flex their muscles with the impressive Lavin coming into his own.Farrell did his best to keep ATU in the frame and Galway senior panellist James Foley also broke up the field from corner-back to kick an excellent point for the Connacht side. Nevertheless, the capital men continued to pick off some fine scores to keep their opponents at bay and ultimately emerged as deserving winners in the end."

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