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Connacht Tribune

Ahascragh/Fohenagh men hit new high to stun Lismore in Tullamore

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Ahascragh-Fohenagh's Stephen Kelly and Eoghan Delaney in a race for possession with Lismore's Ray Barry during the All-Ireland Club Intermediate hurling semi-final at Tullamore on Sunday. Photos: Enda Noone.

Ahascragh/Fohenagh 1-17

Lismore 0-13

IT may have been new territory for the hurlers of Ahascragh/Fohenagh at O’Connor Park, Tullamore on Sunday, but their pioneering spirit ensured that they weren’t daunted in the slightest at the prospect of taking on the highly-rated Munster champions.

Rookies to this level of competition and rank outsiders to carry the day, Ahascragh/Fohenagh rose to the occasion in magnificent style, producing a career-best team performance which had their increasingly rattled Lismore opponents on the ropes for much of the hour.

The Waterford title holders had come into this All-Ireland club intermediate semi-final with a tall reputation, but they were second best for much of a high-quality contest and their frustrations boiled over late on when both Maurice Shanahan and John Prendergast were sent to the line after being red-carded.

Lismore had laid siege to the Ahascragh/Fohenagh posts in the closing minutes, but a series of 20m frees yielded nothing as the Galway champions were in no mood to surrender a clear-cut advantage which had been the product of a high-energy, committed and skillful display.

Inspired by the terrific Mannion brothers, Padraic and Cathal, Ahascragh/Fohenagh also possessed the better team-work as they made a mockery of their pre-match odds of 3/1. All over the field, they hurled with an intensity and maturity which Lismore couldn’t cope with, and the seven-point margin at the finish proved an accurate reflection of the gulf between the teams.

Having taken two attempts to get the better of Ballyhaunis of Mayo in the Connacht final, Ahascragh/Fohenagh did have something to prove despite a long-awaited breakthrough in Galway, but they simply thrived in Sunday’s new surroundings and, clearly, have improved significantly since last winter.

This triumph represented a tremendous victory for the players and the Willie Dilleen led management team. They hit the ground running, never dropped their levels of concentration and produced bouts of really quality hurling which rocked the Waterford men.

Naturally, the individual fortunes of Ahascragh/Fohenagh’s county players, Paderaic and Cathal Mannion, was going to have a big influence on the outcome, and both were in the zone from the off. Centre back Padraic was simply brilliant in the opening-half, while Cathal finished with a dozen points to his name, including four glorious efforts from play.

Their leadership lifted the team to new heights. Wing back John Finnerty carried out a wonderful marking job on Maurice Shanahan; full back John Kelly hardly gave the anonymous Dan Shanahan a look in; the tireless Ronan Kelly fired-over three memorable points; while the fit again Luke Cosgrove was in the right place to expertly finish the game’s only goal in the 26th minute.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Community fights back on hospital ‘downgrade by stealth’

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Raw emotion, sadness and some anger filled the air at Clifden Town Hall on Sky Road last Sunday afternoon as a shaken community gave honest, personal accounts of the impact the closure by stealth of Clifden District Hospital would have on the people of North Connemara.

The public meeting was hastily organised after fears emerged on Friday that the HSE may transfer respite services from Clifden to Merlin Park Hospital, 50-plus miles away in Galway City.

Families were told their loved ones in Clifden Hospital may have to move home, or go to Merlin Park the following Monday, due to ‘issues with staffing’.

An axe has hung over Clifden Hospital for some years, but this latest move stirred the community to fight back to retain services locally.

Galway County Councillor Eileen Mannion (FG), who organised the public meeting with Senator Sean Kyne, said 625 people signed the attendance sheets and an estimated 650 people attended.

“The community effort spreading the word was unbelievable; the turnout was unbelievable,” she said.

“It wasn’t just anger; it was raw emotion in the room. Sadness. Family members spoke about the calls they got on Friday. The feeling that their elderly person was being rejected; that they weren’t being respected.

“One man stood up, three years waiting for respite care for a family member, and then to be told after a few days in there that she’d have to be taken home or to Merlin Park.

“We’re 50 miles from Galway. If there’s no traffic you might get to the outskirts in an hour but with the traffic in Galway, you could be another hour to get to Merlin Park. Not everyone has transport either and they’ve to rely on buses.

“A young woman stood up at the meeting and said her dad was dying in Galway. And she had to go to Saint Vincent de Paul to get money to pay for a B&B so that the family would be close to him when the end came. People gave their personal stories, and it was just heart-breaking.”

(Photo by Carmel Lyden: Teresa Conneely from Roundstone addresses people at the public meeting in Clifden Town Hall).

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the Clifden Hospital story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Pilgrim took to his feet to realise dream!

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Clifden man Breandan O Scanaill, who is on a pilgrimage from his home town of Clifden to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, received a Mayoral welcome and a memorial crest when he arrived at the Asturian town of Navia last week.

Breandan, whose walk from his home outside Clifden to the reputed burial place of St James in Santiago, began in April, was walking through Navia in Spain when a local man came over to chat to him.

“He asked me about my journey and was interested in the fact that an Irish man had turned up in the town,” says Breandan, who had been admiring the Chapel of San Roque at the time.

The local man outlined the history of the building and the town to Breandan and they began chatting more generally about history and architecture – topics dear to the pilgrim’s heart.

Breandán’s new friend introduced himself as the Mayor of Navia, lgnacio Garcia Palacios, who invited the visitor from Clifden to visit the Town Hall.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Local Property Tax rate to stay unchanged despite Council chief’s plea

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Councillors have agreed to keep the Local Property Tax (LPT) rate unchanged – despite pleas from management that Galway County Council is predicted to spend at least €22 million more than it brings in for the next two years.

County Chief Executive Jim Cullen had recommended an increase of 15% on the LPT rate for 2023 and 2024 – amounting to €2.1m extra in the coffers annually – which would bolster its case when it came to pleading for a greater share of funding from central government.

In an estimation of income and expenditure for the Council, taking into account “unavoidable” expenditure and income changes set to hit, the Council would run a deficit of €9.04m in 2023 and 13.2m in 2024 – well over €22m unless there was a change in finances.

“I am hopeful of an uplift in baseline [funding] levels . . . we cannot continue to ignore the fact that other councils have raised LPT and their citizens enjoy a better standard of services that in Galway,” he stressed.

He told a meeting this week that €9m would be needed to maintain services next year at the same level as 2022. This was due to significant cost increases given that inflation is reaching 9.6% currently. Pensions, gratuities and payroll increases from the national pay agreement, increments and additional staff were all adding to bigger outgoings.

Without that extra funding, it will be necessary to reduce spending by that amount with a negative impact on service and staffing levels, he said.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the story, including the councillors’ discussions, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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