THERE have been some mis-matches between Galway and Laois over the years but this 26-point hammering of the Midlanders in Division 1B of the National Hurling League at Pearse Stadium on Sunday underlined what a farce this competition can be at times.
Galway, stung by the manner of their defeat to Wexford, and, no doubt, the criticism that followed, arrived for this one fully focused and, in doing so, delivered a polished display that was more befitting Division 1A than the lower tier.
However, such is the gulf in class in Division 1B between the top teams – Galway, Wexford and Limerick – and the others that it makes these fixtures a formality and, for the most part, does nothing to promote hurling, especially in this county.
For Galway’s class and greater purpose really shone through here and 3-31 on the board after the 70 minutes says it all.
Then again, despite the fact they have not won the McCarthy Cup since 1988, year in, year out Galway are regarded as genuine All-Ireland contenders – Laois haven’t harboured those aspirations since 1949, when they were beaten by Tipperary 3-11 to 0-3 in the decider! – and Micheál Donoghue’s charges played like that for three-quarters of this game.
Indeed, after just two minutes, Galway were 0-4 to 0-0 ahead; after six minutes, they had struck nine of their points (Laois still had not raised a flag); and by half-time they would have no less than 20 points on the board to Laois’ five.
This, though, is what happens when you pit a top-four team in the All-Ireland series against a county whose only ambition at this level is to maintain their courtship with mediocrity as was reflected by the Leinster counties’ successful campaign to keep Galway’s minor and U-21 teams out of their province.
It was easy to see why they would take such a stance when you see what Laois brought to the table on Sunday. That was absolutely nothing. Just like Offaly did in the opening round. Those counties are delusional and, as things stand, have as much hope of winning a Leinster hurling championship – at any grade – as the GAA hierarchy have of embracing some sort of sporting enlightenment.
Indeed, results like these show just how much the GAA has failed its national pastime in its 130 years under the Association’s rules and you only have to look at the last time these two counties met in the league in 2008 to support this argument as the Tribesmen defeated the same opposition by 36 points on that day.
Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Exploring the merits of moving into the west
Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has an abiding image of those early mornings when she’d set out from Dublin at the crack of dawn to begin work on another day’s filming down the country with Nationwide.
“I always liked to go in the morning rather than stay there the night before – so I’d be on the road early. And from the moment I’d hit Newland’s Cross, all I’d see was a line of traffic of people trying to make it from home to their workplace in Dublin,” she says.
These were people whose day began before dawn to get their bleary-eyed kids ready to drop at a childminder along the way, so they could be on time for work – and then race home to hopefully see those same kids before they went to sleep.
But if the pandemic had a positive, it was the realisation that work was something you did, not a place you went to. As a result, many people finally grasped the nettle, moving out of the city and sometimes even taking their work with them.
Which is why Mary – busier than ever since her supposed retirement from RTÉ – is presenting a new television series called Moving West, focusing on those individuals and families who have, as the title, suggests, relocated to the West.
One of the programmes comes from Galway, where Mary met with Stewart Forrest, who relocated with his family from South Africa to Oughterard, and Carol Ho, a Hong Kong native who has also settled in Galway.
The TG4 series also stops off in Sligo, Mayo, Kerry, Clare, Roscommon and Leitrim.
Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing
A local community responded in force to the death of one of their own – a man who had given so much of his life for the good of the parish – by paying one last practical tribute to him last week.
They lifted and footed his turf.
John Geraghty – or Gero as he was known – lived for Gaelic football and he’d filled every role imaginable with the St Brendan’s GAA Club since he came to live in Newbridge in 1983.
He’d cut the turf before he died last Tuesday week, but there it lay, until his old GAA friends organised a bunch of guys – made up of the football team, friends and neighbours – to meet in the bog last Wednesday evening to lift and foot/clamp John’s turf.
“Upwards of 50 fellas from the community showed up,” said St Brendan’s chairman Gerry Kilcommins.
Which was just as well, because, as Gerry acknowledged, John – himself a two-time chairman of the club in the past – had a lot of turf cut!
“It took up an area around three-quarters of the size of a standard football pitch,” he said.
Not that this proved a problem, given the enthusiasm with which they rolled up their sleeves for their old friend.
They started at 7.30pm and had it done at 7.55pm – that’s just 25 minutes from start to finish.
Read the full, heartwarming story – and the St Brendan’s GAA Club appreciation for John Geraghty – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat
It is nearly two years since Paddy Browne gave his daughter Sadhbh part of his liver to save her life. And just ahead of Father’s Day, he reflects on how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat, without a single moment’s hesitation.
After an initial testing time in the first six weeks when they beat a path to the intensive care unit after the operation in St King’s Hospital in London, Sadhbh has never looked back.
“She’s thrived and thrived and thrived. She skips out to school every day. She loves the normal fun and devilment in the yard. She’s now six and started football with Mountbellew Moylough GAA, she loves baking, she’s a voracious reader – she’ll read the whole time out loud while we drive up to Crumlin [Children’s Hospital].”
But it could have all been so different.
Sadhbh from Mountbellew was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia shortly after she was born. She quickly underwent major surgery to drain bile from her liver. It worked well until she reached three years old when an infection caused severe liver damage and she was placed on the liver transplant list.
She was on a long list of medication to manage the consequences of advanced liver disease. While she lived a full life, she would tire very easily.
Paddy was undergoing the rigorous process to be accepted as a living donor when one of the tests ruled him unsuitable. His brother Michael stepped forward and was deemed a good match.
Then, further tests revealed that Paddy was in fact eligible for the operation and the previous result disregarded as a false positive.
Read the full, uplifting story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.