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A Different View

100,000 steps for Cormac embodies soul of the GAA

Dave O'Connell

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Representatives of Lodge 14 Galway, members of the Freemasons of Ireland donating teddies to the Emergency Department at Galway University Hospitals for staff to give to children who are anxious about being in hospital (from left) Mark Charles; Basil Fenton, Provincial Grand Master South Connacht ; Fionnuala Naughton, Staff Nurse at the Emergency Department; Stephen Wright, Secretary of Lodge 41; and Brian Maloney.

A Different View  with Dave O’Connell

History will be created within our midst this weekend when the largest ever gathering of All-Ireland winning captains takes place at, of all places, Ballybrit Racecourse.

From Clare’s winning captain of last summer, Pat Donnellan, back to Brian Smith who led Meath to Sam Maguire way back in 1949, they will come from all four corners of Ireland to join with our own famous captain from 1980, Joe Connolly, on a very special day.

Joe’s nephew Cormac – son of Murt and Mary – died after a four year battle after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2011. He too was a hurler and his Castlegar team-mates were his lifeline on the darkest of days.

There is no tighter community than the GAA and they look after their own….in life then, but now in a different context.

The Connollys wanted to honour Cormac’s life in a meaningful way, while raising money and awareness for charity at the same time.

They chose Pieta House – probably with the same mindset as that courageous young Kerryman Donal Lynch, who also died at a young age from cancer. It was because they felt life should be valued and cherished, and anything that helped those who couldn’t see that should have the help at hand to steer them through.

Thus 100,000 Steps for Cormac was conceived – a three-day walk that covers around 100,000 steps and would raise around €100,000 for Pieta, now established in Tuam thanks to the phenomenal commitment of John Concannon, along with the charity’s founder Joan Freeman.

And when the Connollys – the epitome of all that’s good about the GAA – called on their own, they were met with open arms.

So they divided their initiative into three; first up today ( Thursday) are the clubs around this county who have tasted All-Ireland glory – that’s seven hurling clubs, three football clubs, five camogie clubs and one ladies football.

And over the three days, this walk will start, finish or pass through every one of those parishes to taste All-Ireland glory.

The focus on Friday falls on Galway’s All-Ireland winning senior teams including six football, three hurling, two camogie and one ladies football from 1956 to 2013. The 94 Galway All-Stars from 1971 onwards in all GAA codes have also been invited.

Legends will be falling over each other if the launch of this event some weeks back is anything to go by – household names of the present, recent and distant past, mingling with those of us who marvelled at their feats on the biggest of sporting stages.

And then on Saturday, Galway will witness the greatest gathering of All-Ireland captains ever seen – at least sixty of them and maybe up to seventy. That’s two-thirds of the 100 that are alive.

They will come from north, south, east and west and those that cannot come mainly have very good reason – some are preparing for All-Ireland glory of their own; they are playing or training for the business end of this year’s championships.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Exam points are not the only measure of education success

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

By now, the next batch of around 60,000 students set for third-level education are over a week into the Leaving Cert – the exam that will determine what course they attain a place in for the new academic year.

Their success – added to the performances of their class-mates – will determine their alma mater’s position in what are commonly known as the school league tables.

This is a calculation of how successful a secondary school is, based entirely on the number of its Leaving Certs it gets into third-level education.

In turn – based on this – parents will choose where to send their little bundles of joy when the time comes for them to make the transition from primary to second-level.

And it’s such an arbitrary method of determining the relative success or failure of a centre of education, because it leaves so much out of the equation.

Firstly, it means performance is entirely based on the numbers who go on to third-level, ignoring those who gain apprenticeships or go straight into the workplace.

Admittedly, that’s not a large cohort these days because Careers Guidance seems to begin and end with helping you to choose the right course, not the right career.

But more fundamentally, getting a good student to pass his or her exams and gain a place in college isn’t the ultimate test of a teacher; getting a student who is struggling with reading or writing to a level where they comfortably do both is a far better achievement for any teacher.

Bringing a student who is in danger of failing mathematics, for example, to a position where they pass their exams – but more importantly understand how it works – should be recognised in any measure of performance.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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Connacht Tribune

How will we acclimatise as we ease out of Covid?

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Back in the world before Covid, a mention of Corona either brought to mind a beer or a rock band – but, as we ease our way out of dire straits (another rock band, as luck would have it), we might require a different kind of acclimatisation.

Because what will the evening be like when no more deaths are flashed up as a statistic on the Six-One News?

Who will the world turn to if we have no more Fergal or George or Zara giving out the daily update in a funereal tone?

What will happen to all the people who used to go to the Department of Health press conference at tea-time in the same way the rest of us once headed for the pub?

Like Pavlov’s Dog, we’ve come to expect an evening illness update, taking consolation in it being two less than yesterday or taking fright if it’s two more.

Nobody told us who these poor people were, unless the local paper carried a tribute a week later – for the number crunchers and bean counters and prophets of doom, they were today’s statistics, to be flashed up for a few seconds every night.

And we took these figures as we got them, never questioning if a person died from Covid or with Covid; if they were described as having ‘underlying conditions’, we seemed to accept that as a very broad church.

We listened intently as Fergal or George or Zara told us what the mean age was, breathing a small sigh of relief if it remained a good distance into the future from our own age now.

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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Connacht Tribune

Home ownership should be a prerogative – not a pipedream

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Half of our 18 to 34-year-olds fear they won’t be able to buy a home in next ten years, according to a new survey. That’s not the shock – it’s the fact that half of them think they actually will.

Because the truth is that owning your own home hasn’t been as much of a pipedream since the days of feudal landlords; indeed many of them will find it a job and a half to even come up with the rent.

And that’s a sign of just how critical our housing crisis has become in the space of a single generation.

We thought that things were bad in the eighties when unemployment levels were way ahead of our pre-Covid figures; when the boat and the plane were the best 0or maybe only – chance for many to secure a job far from home.

But for those who were working, owning a home wasn’t a farfetched concept at all, because there were plenty of starter homes being built and the cost of them still bore some relation to your income.

There was a time before that, when the bank had a simple equation to decide the size of the mortgage they’d give you. It was two and a half times the combined salary for those buying the house – in other words, yours alone if you were a sole purchaser, or double that if it was yourself and your partner.

On top of that, there was no point turning up in the first place unless you had a ten per cent deposit – so it was a straight-forward calculation to find out what you could afford. And house prices, for the most part, kept within that equation.

Of course there were always homes you coveted and couldn’t afford, but you could still buy a roof over your head for a price that only took 20 years to pay back.

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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