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Connacht Tribune

Ambitious St Michael’s target winning of senior football title

Stephen Glennon

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RISING STARS: St Michael’s celebrate after defeating Claregalway in the 2020 County Minor 'A' Football Championship Final. Front row: (standing) Kevin Fahy, Mike Corbett, (kneeling) Matthew Fogarty, Eoghan Harlowe, Cian Fahy, Caomhan Mannion, James McDonnell, Romeo Pecha, Ethan Fiorentini, Cathal Meagher, James Morris-Burke, Gary Higgins, Patrick Walsh, Mike Hoctor, Jamie Cahill. Back row: Dave Mullally, John Ruane, Tom Hiney, Conal Gallagher, DeAngelo Massah, Conor Cooke-Winters, Josh Ruffley, Cathal Keane, Aaron Flynn, Mikey Maguire, PJ Ward, Gavin Summerville, Eoin Collins, Darragh O'Malley, Sean Comer-O'Brien, Sam Cooke, David Hurley, Ross Lydon, Harry Walsh, Evan Thornton, Ciaran Park, Blain Sheridan, Shanon McIlhinney.

AFTER winning the county minor ‘A’ championship in 2020, and with underage numbers on the rise, the hierarchy in St. Michael’s GAA Club make no bones that one of their aspirations for the coming years is to win a Galway senior championship.

Some may scoff at the notion, given the city club has only appeared once in a county decider in 2014. However, the winds of change are blowing in St. Michael’s catchment area and, in turn, the club has begun to build windmills to harness it.

In recent years, the West City outfit has gone back to what it’s good at. Founded in 1956 as an underage club – it won three county minor football championships in a row between 1958 and 1960 – they have proven to be one of the top clubs in cultivating underage talent as their seven county minor ‘A’ titles underline.

Indeed, only Corofin (14), Salthill/Knocknacarra (12) and Tuam Stars (11) have won more at the grade. All those clubs have translated this underage success into senior honours; why not St. Michael’s? Club Secretary Lorcan Mannion believes they can.

“We definitely would have a senior title in our sights over the next number of years, given the numbers we have coming through and the interest that is there,” he says. “We not only have players from the Alan Glynn and Eddie Hoare era now coming through as coaches, but we now also have the young lads coming through and they don’t fear anyone.

“For a good number of years, we might have seen ourselves as second-class citizens to Salthill/Knocknacarra – nine times out of 10 they would beat us when we’d meet them – but there are young lads there now who don’t know anything else but winning. They have that winning mentality.

“So, while it would be fair to say over the last 10 years that, more often than not, our focus realistically was to hold our own at senior, with what we have coming through now though, we would have ambitions beyond that.”

St. Michael’s run in the 2020 minor championship certainly provided green shoots. In the West Board, victories over Oranmore/Maree and Salthill/Knocknacarra in the opening rounds were followed with wins over Barna and Salthill/Knocknacarra, again, in the semi-final and final respectively.

In the county final, they then saw off Claregalway on a 1-16 to 2-11 scoreline to claim a first title since 2004 – Darragh O’Malley’s second-half goal proving crucial to the outcome.

“There has been a lot of work done with the juveniles in recent years,” continues Mannion. “Like most clubs, we’ve gone through phases of rebuilding from juvenile up; 10 or 12 years ago, the juvenile wasn’t in a brilliant place, but there has been a lot of work done in the last while. The recent minor win is one of the fruits of that.”

Whenever St. Michael’s have enjoyed minor success in the past, they have reaped the benefits of it in the ensuing years, be it reaching senior county semi-finals or final or winning intermediate titles.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Gardaí seek help in locating missing man

Enda Cunningham

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Gardaí have sought help in locating a man missing in Galway since the end of December.
34-year-old Luke Davoren was last seen in the University Road area on December 30.

He is described as having fair hair, 6ft in height and having an athletic build. He was last seen wearing a grey hoody, brown leather jacket, blue jeans and brown leather boots. He also had a black back pack in his possession.

Gardaí and Luke’s family are very concerned for his welfare and have urged him to make contact.

Anyone with information, particularly any road users with dash cam footage of the Newcastle/University Road areas between 1am – 2am on December 30, is asked to contact Galway Garda Station on 091 538000.

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Connacht Tribune

Hospitals cope with overcrowding and staff shortages as Covid crisis peaks

Dara Bradley

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Confirmed cases of Covid-19 continue to skyrocket in Galway, as virus-related frontline healthcare staff shortages persist and now overcrowding emerges as a new threat.

Galway experienced four days of record-breaking positive case notifications in the past week, as hospitalisations grew exponentially and pressure was heaped on the critical care units at University Hospital Galway (UHG) and Portiuncula.

Hospital management said it was unsure whether community transmission had peaked locally yet – and they expect hospitals to be under ‘significant pressure’ from Covid admissions well into February.

Nurses have highlighted how overcrowding in the Emergency Department of the county’s two main public hospitals has returned – some 112 patients were stuck on trolleys awaiting admission to UHG and Ballinasloe on five mornings in the past week. Meanwhile, it hasn’t yet been officially confirmed that the new UK variant of Covid is present in Galway, but authorities believe it is.

The latest data shows there has been no let-up in new cases notifications in Galway – 604 confirmed cases were notified for Monday, the highest in Ireland and Galway’s worst ever day by a long shot.

It was a frightening figure but it was not for one day and was part of clearing the backlog of cases over Christmas and New Year, the HSE said.

That pushed Galway’s 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 to 1033.9 more than double what it was a week ago and eight times what it was a fortnight ago. Some 2,668 new Galway cases were notified in the fortnight to midnight Tuesday.

Read the full story and comprehensive coverage of the Covid-19 crisis in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Suffer little children – report shines a light into shameful past

Dave O'Connell

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Baby clothing hanging from a tree branch in the Tuam Mother and Baby Home burial ground this week. PHOTO: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Tribune Comment

The final report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes shines a light into the darkest recesses of our shameful past; young women and tiny babies neglected by Church and State – fellow, frail human beings whose lives and deaths somehow didn’t matter at all.

These women and their children were punished, hidden out of sight; mistreated at best; physically and sexually abused at worst – and way, way too many were left to die without a shred of dignity in their lives or in their passing.

The Trojan work and dedication of people like Catherine Corless lifted the stone on the shame – but it is only in their shocking stories, as we’ve read and heard this week, that we can get any sense of the depths of this depravity.

Many of the mothers were little more than children themselves, who had their little babies taken from them and given away with even a sliver of consent.

There were no records of their adoption, and no willingness, even decades later, to help those babies to find their birth mothers. Because to do so would have exposed the cruel and heartless manner of their forced adoptions in the first place.

And yet exposing this scandal is only the first step; an apology was the very least they were entitled to. Now we as a nation, and particularly those religious orders who ran the homes, must do everything to redress this wrong.

We must open the files so that they can discover their full life stories, find their living relatives, and be compensated so that at least the rest of their lives are in complete contrast to all they’ve endured until now.

We need to look at how we can give hundreds of innocent babies a proper burial – however belated and insufficient that may be.

Nothing will undo the damage – but now that the depths of this depravity have finally been laid bare, there must be no equivocation, no prevarication; just a commitment to doing whatever it takes to try and right a terrible wrong.

See full coverage of the Commission’s Report in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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