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CITY TRIBUNE

Alone on the ocean: former rugby star takes on Atlantic

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A former Connacht rugby star is preparing for one of his toughest tests to date – a solo row across the Atlantic Ocean this December.

Damian Browne’s 4,800km crossing in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge will begin in the Canary Islands and finish in Antigua – a mission to stretch the mental and physical capacities of the individuals taking part.

The former Connacht and Leinster lock will be competing as a solo rower – which means there will be no support boat and no company, just himself and a boatload of food to sustain him on his journey.

No stranger to a test of self during his rugby career, the Galway native completed his first international physical and mental challenge in April 2016 when he ran the Marathon des Sables in the Moroccan Sahara – fulfilling a dream twelve years in the making.

The 36 year old then set his sights on his next perilous venture.  Damian came upon the Talisker Whisky Challenge and discovered that more people have summited Everest and been into space than have successfully rowed the Atlantic Ocean.

“I want to test myself mentally and physically in the world’s most extreme environments,” he said this week.

“These experiences are incredibly powerful and rewarding, giving you windows into the corners of yourself you very rarely if ever get to see.  The main challenge with the row will be the mental battle, it’s what interests me the most.

“I believe in putting myself in uncomfortable positions and testing myself regularly.  It’s something I’ve done all my life and something which continues to reward me in countless ways,” said the former Connacht, Northampton, Brive, Leinster and Oyonnax player..

He has a number of chosen charities who will benefit from his marathon maritime effort – including MADRA Dog Rescue & Adoption, Médecins Sans Frontieres and the Strong Roots Foundation School Rwanda.

As part of that he is hosting the Atlantic Challenge Dinner, which will take place on Saturday, September 30, in the Ardilaun Hotel, Galway.

The Black Tie event presents a rare opportunity to hear Ireland rugby coach Joe Schmidt and Irish International and Lions defence Coach Andy Farrell speak about their experiences and lessons from the game with former Ireland and Munster star Alan Quinlan.

Exceptional auction prizes will also be available to bid on – including a round of golf with Johnny Sexton.

A four course meal which will commence with a champagne reception where guests will be entertained throughout the night by a variety of performers including Sean Costello and Frank Naughton’s Duo Vocis – all adding funds to Damien’s effort.

■ Tickets for the Atlantic Challenge Dinner are available by contacting Catherine Tiernan on 086 2546936.

CITY TRIBUNE

Devon trip-up in Athenry to lose ground in title race

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Knocknacarra's Davy Knight moves in to challenge Ricky Kent of Tuam Celtic at Cappagh Park, last weekend. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Athenry 1

Salthill Devon 0

Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

With a one round league there is not much room for error and in Moanbawn on Wednesday evening, Athenry played as if their lives depended on it as they saw off their fellow Premier Division title challengers in a bruising encounter.

A Cole Connolly goal on 18 minutes was all that separated the teams at the finish, but in fairness the home side offered the greater attacking threat on the night and should have won with something more to spare. For those who witnessed the occasion, it was compulsive viewing.

The commitment and passion brought to the game by both sides was honest as all the players offered everything for their sides cause. However, much as Salthill Devon tried, they were outmanoeuvred by a home side who always offered something extra.

For the duration, it was Athenry who threatened the most and carried the more threat in attack, but twice in the opening half it took two brilliant reflex saves by home custodian TJ Forde to keep them in the game.

A snap shot on six minutes by Gary Shanahan was tipped over at close range by the goalkeeper and he repeated the feat later when denying Jackson de Silva after the big Brazilian got his head to a Timmy Molloy corner. Those efforts aside Devon got very little breathing space from the home back four of Gary O’Connell, Dan Cunningham, Morgan Leggett and Declan Cullen.

After Colm O’Donovan could not connect with a diving header following a Ryan Shaughnessy cross, the home side took the lead shortly afterwards, when visiting custodian Arek Mamala had a clearance half-blocked by Connolly and the rebound fell kindly for the Craughwell native as he executed the perfect lob over the stricken goalkeeper and into the net for a 1-0 advantage.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Lions debut for Aki

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Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw will renew their centre partnership tomorrow when the Lions take on Japan. Photo: INPHO/James Crombie.

Bundee Aki will become the fourth Connacht player to pull on a Lions jersey after he was named in the starting XV that will take on Japan tomorrow in Edinburgh in a challenge game ahead of the summer’s trip to South Africa.

Aki will renew his Connacht and Ireland centre partnership at Murrayfield with Robbie Henshaw in a side featuring six Irish players, with a seventh on the bench.

“That combination obviously goes back to the Connacht days,” Lions head coach, and former Connacht and Ireland head coach, Warren Gatland explained. “It’s the two Connacht lads coming together and I think they are obviously great mates as well, so that kind of helps.”

Aki follows in the footsteps of Ray McLoughlin, John O’Driscoll, and Ciaran Fitzgerald in becoming a Lion while still playing for Connacht, and Gatland says he expects the Connacht man to surprise a few people with the various facets to his game.

Henshaw had moved on to Leinster by the time he was picked for the 2017 tour to New Zealand, but having played against club sides Chiefs, Highlanders and Blues, he had to withdraw from before playing in a test match after picking up an injury against the Hurricanes, but Gatland is expecting great things from their partnership.

“A lot of people sort of see Bundee as someone . . . and we know he is capable of getting the ball across the gain line, but he has got a lot more than just that to offer.

“He has got some real rugby skill, some great footwork, and a passing and offloading game. So, we are expecting some real quality rugby out of both of those two men,” Gatland said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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.

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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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CITY TRIBUNE

50 domestic abuse 999 calls to Galway Gardaí cancelled

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway’s Garda Chief has committed to a ‘root and branch investigation’ after an internal review unearthed over 50 domestic abuse calls that were cancelled by local Gardaí.

An internal Garda inquiry has revealed that nationally, members of the force cancelled between 3,000 and 4,000 domestic abuse-related ‘999’ calls between 2019 and 2020.

At a meeting of the City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) on Monday, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley told members that the inquiry found 53 such calls in the Galway Division.

He said he had been tasked by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to sift through the calls and follow up on how they were handled by Gardaí.

“In relation to domestic incidents where calls were cancelled, I have 53 from my division. I am carrying out a root and branch investigation and perhaps at the next JPC meeting, I will be able to give an update of the findings.

“I have only listened to a number of the calls at the moment and I’d rather be in possession of the full facts before commenting any further,” said Chief Supt Curley.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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