Sporting Year 2022

We lost Phelim Murphy on Friday June 10.

He was described as the Godfather of Galway hurling. It took those attending more than six hours to file past the removal of his remains from his home in Lackagh. He served for more than twenty years as hurling secretary of the Galway County Board.

It was during his tenure that Galway enjoyed unprecedented success on the field of play. He was chairman of the Turloughmore club for 21 years during which the club recorded their historic six-in-a -row county championships.

St Thomas’ Hurling Club came so near against Ballyhale Shamrocks from Kilkenny in the All-Ireland club semi-final until TJ Reid let fly to steal it with time up. Just the minimum separated the sides at the end. Tough. But the drama was even better in the final. Ballyhale started firm favourites to be successful in their quest for a three-in-a-row, but they were out ballyhaled by Ballygunner 2-17 to 1-19, again the minimum. Ballygunner recorded their first title and substitute Harry Ruddle was enshrined in history.

By the way Kilcoo (Co Down ) won the football title over Kilmacud Crokes of Dublin 2-8 to 0-13 AET, 14 to 13 the minimum! The two games were played on Saturday February 12.

World Rugby Law 3,13-20: If a team loses two hookers, one injured and one with a red card, your team is reduced to 13 men. No I don’t get it either. It wouldn’t happen in the Six Nations now, would it?

Vladimir Putin went to war on Thursday February 24. We had snow ourselves that day. Wednesday February 16 was the day of days. Storm Dudley was in full throttle, but the Sigerson final went ahead and so did the Fitzgibbon semi-final.

University of Galway beat UL 0-12 to 1-6 in the football with three Kellys from Moycullen and Matthew Tierney from Ougherard. A Roscommon man Cathal Heneghan came on as a sub, tapped over three and secured the cup. It was College’s 23rd title, but only the first since 2003. The best day out for Maurice Sheridan maybe since he led Salthill Knocknacarra to glory in the All-Ireland club championship of 2006.

The Fitzgibbon final would be played in Carlow against the same opposition UL. Storm Eunice was bursting a gut, blew herself out, and was replaced by Storm Franklin. Things were looking good at half-time for the double. Cian Lynch, a Limerick man playing with University of Galway, the best hurler in Ireland, was sent to the line and Mickey Kiely closed out the game in the 63rd minute just like he did in the semi-final.

And then a week later the punishment against Cian Lynch was subsequentially rescinded. Wonder how Jeffrey Lynskey will word it in his autobiography. What a pity to have missed the double of Sigerson and Fitzgibbon.

Sarsfields played an All-Ireland semi-final during Storm Franklin on Sunday February 20 and they won. And we remember the final. Sarsfields saw off the challenge of the reigning champions Oulart The Ballagh. Siobhán McGrath was the star turn and had 1-7 to her credit. The final score was 3-12 to 4-5. The big prize on the big day at the big venue.

Galway United welcomed the new League of Ireland season on Friday February 25 with gusto. They had an important win (1-0 ) over Cork City. So? Well, Galway had not won in Cork since 1993 when the venue was Bishopstown. One had to go back to 1988 for the last win in Turner's Cross. It finished 3-1 that night when a certain John Caulfield scored for Cork. And then on Wednesday March 30, United had another big win when they welcomed the Comer Brothers to the top table for the long haul.

A terrific start to the professional boxing career of Oughterard’s Kieran Molloy when he walloped the Spaniard Damian Esquisabel in Glasgow back in February. When you play a final under the TV lights you’re sure you have it made. Aren’t you? Really? Well, not always.

Galwegians Women - called the Blue Belles - met Suttonians in the final of the Women’s Conference in Donnybrook at the end of February and left empty handed 26-0. A bit like the Salthill Knocknacarra camogie girls who got to the All-Ireland Intermediate final in Croke Park on Sunday March 6. They lost 5-14 to 2-6 to the experienced St Rynagh’s of Co Offaly.

The Six Nations came and went and boy will we remember it. We won the Triple Crown and the Under 20s won the Grand Slam. Italy beat Wales at senior level and beat England at Under 20 level. The Italians are here to stay for another while anyway.

Calasanctius College recorded a most notable double when winning the Basketball Ireland U16A Girls and Boys Schools League finals. Niamh Heffernan is another All-Ireland champion. She won the Intermediate women’s 40x20 Handball All -reland final. She beat Sinéad Meagher from Tipp in the final at Kingscourt Co Cavan. Niamh is from Claregalway.

Census Day on Sunday April 3 gave us the National League finals in Croke Park with three of the four teams from Connacht, Galway, Roscommon and Mayo in action. Looked like a good bet. Didn’t work out that way. Mayo were destroyed by Kerry, 3-19 to 0-13. And Roscommon pipped Galway 1-20 to 0-22 in time added on. Just the solitary point.

We lost golfer Tom O’Connor at the great age of 91. Remarkably Tom contested eight Costello Cup finals, winning five of them, a record that remains to this day. He won the Irish Junior cup twice, he played in the final of the Irish Senior Cup winning the top match. And he played for Connacht in the Interpros from 1960 to 1969 and in 1967 he was on the winning side when Connacht won their first ever Interpro series. He held the course record. He did it all. With a smile.

The Irish Long Distance Swimming Awards were presented back in March. Mark Dunleavy, who completed a two way Galway Bay Swim in 2021, was awarded the Irish Long Distance Swimming Award and the Jimmy Cranny Trophy. The Atlantic Masters Swimming club won the Irish Long Distance Swimming Award for completing the first relay swim from the Aran Islands to Salthill in 2020. They received the Jack McClelland Award. Now that rings a bell. Jack McClelland the first man ever to swim Galway Bay? The relay members were Cliona Pierse, Annette Cullen, Helen Colfer and Michelle Power.

What a result from the US Masters at Augusta National FC, with Rory McIlroy second and Shane Lowry third. Who’s Scottie Scheffler? Liam Nolan (Galway Golf Club ) was runner-up in the West of Ireland Championship. No, that was last year! But it was also this year as well.

In the month of Easter the Galway footballers got the better of James Horan in the brand new McHale Park in Castlebar by a point when winning the Connacht championship. But the following weekend the hurlers met Kilkenny in Pearse Stadium. Kilkenny needed a goal to even things up. Typical, they got it, all square at full time.

The Connacht rugby team made history when beating the Lions 33-30 in South Africa even if the hosts scored four tries against our three tries. But Jack Carty had his kicking boots on. But then the English women beat Ireland 69-0 in the Women’s Six Nations.

Diarmuid Mulkerrins (Moycullen ) and Cian ÓConghaile (Micheál Breathnachs ) are the All-Ireland Intermediate Handball champions. Loughrea won the Under 14 county hurling final replay 1-9 to 2-3, but it was Oranmore Maree’s Barry Keating who won the man of the match award. Good on you Barry, it doesn’t always work out that way you know.

Mountain South is back in the news. The 103 acre plot of land which the Comer Group acquired in 2018 has been earmarked to welcome a centre of excellence for Galway United AFC. The Comers are now proposing to include a centre of excellence for hockey in the west of Ireland. The plans are truly ambitious and exciting. However the planning section of Galway City Council has refused permission, So disappointing, what now?

Speaking of which, Galway Hockey Club won the Connacht Cup over the auld enemy University of Galway by the tightest of margins. Nothing is as strange as sport.

Mayo out of the Connacht Championship and the month of May just in and Galway beat Leitrim 4-20 to 0-9 in the semi-final! Some 4,749 showed up in Pearse Stadium to watch it. May Day in Pearse Stadium never forget it. Match of the year, probably. Cody and Shefflin and not a smile between them like two spoiled brats. Leave the shaking of hands out of this. Ya we won, in extra time with just the minimum, 1-24 to us and 3-17 to Cody’s boys. Gawd the tension and 14,034 watching!

At much the same time Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano were having it out hot and heavy over in New York. Katie’s undisputed lightweight crown at stake. A split decision, but our Katie took home the seven figure purse in front of the 19,185 full house.

Who won the end of season Wagatha Christie match in London? Draw I think, or did it go to penalties? Can’t remember now. Galway Bohemians back from the dead and celebrating their 90th year were back in the winners' enclosure when they captured the Jack Lillis Cup with a 2-1 win over Corofin United.

By the way did you see the photo of John Lillis, that’s the son of Finbar Lillis with the Jack Lillis Cup and some of the next generation. The genes don’t lie I’m sure you’ll agree. Irish champion Naoise O’Donnell from Moycullen, a member of Galway Triathlon Club, is selected to represent Ireland at the European championships in Bilbao and the World Championships in Abu Dhabi.

Callum Barrett, Stephen Delaney, Jimmy Cleary, Bradley McDonagh. Simon O’Donnell and Patrick Ward are all national boxing champions and all members of Olympic Boxing Club. God rest his good soul, Chick Gillan would be well pleased.

College Rowing Club has honoured past servants, Donagh O’Donoghue, who died on the May 30, 2021, Chris O’Dea, who we lost on the 17 March 2018, and two of today’s stars Cliodhna Nolan and Fiona Murtagh. They named four boats in their honour. Paddy Lally has a boat named after him too, called, you guessed it ‘Paddy Lally’.

Galway Rowing Club celebrated its centenary in 2009 and Paddy was president of the Club in 2008/2009. Paddy wrote the history and called it My time at the club. Goodness me, but he gave it lots of time down through the years. William Henry, a fair man with the pen, chipped in and put a ‘snas’ on it, but Paddy Lally, the former city councillor, always knew his own mind. A lovely production. A fine piece of history.

New York Ireland Sports Dublin United Kingdom United States football councillor Easter London James Horan Chairman Galway County Board Galway City Council National League boxing president Aran Islands Galway Rowing Club Galway Bay Cian Lynch Jeffrey Lynskey Wales Rory McIlroy Shane Lowry John Caulfield Jack Carty Kerry Tom Galway Golf Club golfer South Africa Italy Oranmore Pearse Stadium Glasgow secretary League of Ireland Loughrea All-Ireland club Kieran Molloy Bishopstown the European Championships William Henry Simon Abu Dhabi Maurice Sheridan Galway Triathlon Club hockey Oughterard Galway Hockey Club Calasanctius College Chris Olympic Boxing Club Katie Taylor Comer Group Bilbao John Lillis Liam Nolan Vladimir Putin Franklin Donagh Matthew Tierney McGrath Diarmuid Mulkerrins Cathal Heneghan May day Niamh Heffernan Atlantic Masters Swimming Club Helen Colfer Patrick Ward Kingscourt Co Annette Cullen Naoise Sigerson TJ Reid Fiona Murtagh Cody Fitzgibbon Industrial Machinery & Equipment (NEC) Dudley Scottie Scheffler Kilmacud Crokes University of Galway Cliodhna Nolan Phelim Boyle Bradley McDonagh Mark Dunleavy Barry Keating Chick Gillan Amanda Serrano Shefflin Storm Franklin Turloughmore club Christie Basketball Ireland U16A Girls and Boys Schools League Ireland Championship College Rowing Club Finbar Lillis Phelim Murphy Callum Barrett Stephen Delaney Jack McClelland Paddy Lally Eunice St Thomas Hurling Club Mickey Kiely Michelle Power Jimmy Cleary Damian Esquisabel Harry Ruddle Sinad Meagher Moycullen Tierney

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