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A Different View

100,000 steps for Cormac embodies soul of the GAA

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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

One person’s useless tat is another’s stuff of dreams

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The world is divided into two kinds of people; those who like to live in a world of clean, white lines and minimal clutter – and those of us who just love accumulating stuff.

Stuff covers a multitude, which – depending on your perspective – might be alternatively defined as either the souvenirs or detritus of your life.

Books, match programmes, concert ticket stubs, seashells, Dinky cars, beer mats…it’s all stuff that one person wants to treasure and the other, invariably, wants to throw straight out in the bin.

And it’s at the core of a fair percentage of domestic differences too – ‘it’s my stuff’; ‘don’t move my stuff’; ‘your stuff is taking over the house’ – because, for every hoarder, there’s an aspiring Marie Kondo who wants to take minimalism to new heights.

Attics are invariably full of stuff that hasn’t seen the light of day in years; old cardboard boxes of childhood toys, suitcases packed with dusty photo albums, boxes of video cassettes for which there is no longer a VCR; clothes that you didn’t want but also didn’t want to throw out – and it’s only a matter of time before they’re back in fashion and you’ll have shed the three stone it would take to close the zipper.

Overall, it’s the kind of stuff that you hoped you’d get back to and wallow in nostalgia, years after you consigned it to the darkest recesses of the eaves.

Those who abhor clutter have a different approach, working on the basis that – if you have stuff stored in a box and you don’t open that box for three years – you don’t need that stuff anymore.

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

Sense of belonging that brings it all back home

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It was a chat with a ‘Galwegian in exile’ that brought it all home to me; although now domiciled in the capital for more years than he’d lived in the west, he was delighted to bring his Dublin-born daughter to the All-Ireland Football Final wearing her maroon jersey.

To be honest, she’d probably have gone to Croke Park dressed as Elsa from Frozen because it was just a day out – but Daddy couldn’t have been prouder if his eleven-year-old came on for Damien Comer with five minutes to go.

The sense of place is understandable when it comes to ourselves as born-and-bred Galwegians, because while you can change where you live as often as you like, even if you wanted to, you can never change where you’re from.

But trying to impose your own geographical heritage on the next generation is alternatively seen as understandable and a little selfish at the same time.

It’s a topic for discussion in our own house on occasion because while the two lads grew up in Galway, they were in fact born in Dublin – and if they want to pull my chain, all they have to do is remind of that fact.

My reply is a tired and stock one, to the effect that although Jesus was born in a stable, nobody ever suggested that made him a horse.

The more serious point is that you are shaped by your formative years rather than the maternity hospital of your arrival – and those years were spent in Galway.

Galway is their point of reference for sport and music and school friends and nights out and pubs and college – and almost everything else that really matters.

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

Gaeltacht days – and a rite of passage to remember forever

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

A scholarship to Irish College wasn’t so much a backhanded compliment as an inverted acknowledgement of your grasp of the language – in other words you got one because you were bordering on useless, or to put it more diplomatically you’d benefit more than the rest from a couple of weeks of immersion in your native tongue.

Only it then transpired that the experience of three weeks in the Gaeltacht taught you that going there had a small bit to do with learning Irish for sure – but a whole lot to do with growing up, or at least beginning that blossoming process.

And you would do all this in an atmosphere as alien to your small teenage self as free elections are to the people of Russia; céilís, cispheil, comhra agus craic – as well as an Irish language version of the Streets of London written and taught to us by Art Ó Dufaigh that still lives in the memory bank, even longer than Ralph McTell’s original.

The truth, when you get there, is the realisation that three weeks in the Gaeltacht is a little like a week at the Galway Races or the Rose of Tralee; just as the horses or the Roses are ostensibly the reason for going, they’re really just the hook to get you there.

And so it is that you go to the Gaeltacht to learn the language but you come home having learned so much more.

My Gaeltacht summer was at the tail end of the seventies with three weeks in Beal a’ Dangan and céilís in Nestor’s Hall, brought there in a bus by a young man called Máirtín Tom Sheáinín who would go on to enjoy a stellar career as a broadcaster – particularly presenting Comhrá – but was back then a knacky driver with a dream, traversing windy roads in pitch darkness.

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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