Date Published: 05-May-2011
AT least one record is going to be broken following Sunday’s Connacht Junior Cup (3.30pm) decider in Lecarrow as both Athenry and Ballinasloe Town are unbeaten in four final appearances between them down the years. The defending champions have won the title on three occasions, while Ballinasloe were winners in their only decider in 2004.
Indeed Athenry are appearing in their fourth final in five seasons, while Ballinasloe were the first team from the Roscommon League to win the Connacht Cup when goals from Jason Twohig and Vinny Doherty saw off Manulla by 2-1 in a historic victory in Milebush.
Both clubs have a successful record in their respective leagues in recent years with Town just denied a five-in-a-row by Shiven Rovers last season, while West United’s success in Galway two seasons ago denied Athenry a hat trick of titles.
Athenry completed a Premier League and Connacht Cup double last season, while Ballinasloe annexed the Challenge Cup and the Divisional Cup. Both are also in contention for domestic League and Cup honours again this season.
Both sides have played through five rounds of the cup to date with Ballinasloe scoring an average of almost four goals per game with Liam Lynch (6) and Peter Keighery (4) sharing half the goals between them. Indeed, former Longford Town striker Lynch has been pretty prolific throughout as he has scored in the last four rounds.
Easy wins in the early rounds over Clew Bay (8-1), Quayside Celtic (3-0) and Iorras Aonthaithe (2-0) were followed up by two very different and difficult games. In the last eight, top Sligo side Carbury were despatched by 3-2 following extra time as Mark Duffy (2) and Lynch were on the mark.
Ballinasloe followed this up with an equally impressive 3-2 semi final win over Hibernians. While the home side took an early lead courtesy of a Peter Keighery penalty, they found themselves in arrears at the break as Liam Hrehorow and Keith Ward had the City side in the driving seat.
However, Ballinasloe responded well on the resumption as a Robbie Brookes volley levelled matters and Lynch headed home a Glen Cambell delivery for a late and merited winner.
Ballymote Celtic (4-0), Mervue United (1-0) and Salthill D
evon (5-1) were dismissed in the opening three rounds by Athenry before had to rely on a late Declan Cullen winner as they came from behind to defeat Boyle Celtic by 2-1.
In was equally difficult in the semi final, as goals by Emmett Byrne and Seamie Crowe eventually got them past neighbours Oranmore by 2-1. Indeed it took a late penalty save by Kieran Kilkelly to guarantee their passage.
The lack of a mainstream striker probably explains while Alan O’Donovan, Benny Lawless, Declan Cullen and Simon Murray have shared ten of their goals between them.
The success of Athenry down the years has been built on a seasoned and experience selection that almost picks itself. Goalkeeper Kilkelly and the back four of Stephen Rabbitte, Paddy Quinn, Emmett Byrne and Ronan Kinneen have being playing together for years.
Further afield O’Donovan, O’Driscoll, Delaney and Forde will probably be the midfield quartet, while if free from injury Junior International Seamie Crowe seem sure to start, maybe playing just off the front man.
Benny Lawless, Simon Murray, Brian Mannion, Mark Moran and Declan Cullen are all competing for a starting position upf ront and it is a task that only manager Gabriel Glavin can solve.
Glavin has a long association with the club. As assistant to Timmy Holian he was very much part of their early success and his progress to the top position last season has been pretty seamless. He see’s the contest as a toss up: “Both are teams used to success and while we have confidence in our ability, it is all down to what happens on the day.”
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Retail industry trade body welcomes B&Q announcement
Date Published: 07-May-2013
Retail Excellence Ireland, the country’s largest retail industry trade body, has welcomed the news that 60 jobs have been saved at the city branch of B&Q.
It’s after the home improvements store successfully exited examinership.
Under the scheme, 2.4 million euro is to be invested by parent company Kingfisher plc, and B and Q will continue to trade at eight stores
This means 640 jobs have been saved nationwide, including 60 at the outlet in Knocknacarra.
However, David Fitzsimons of Retail Excellence Ireland says landlords need to be willing to help out smaller retailers too.
Foundation reports nine Galway heart deaths each week
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Nine people die in Galway every week from heart disease and stroke.
That’s according to the Irish Heart Foundation, which is launching its Happy Hearts Appeal today. (9/5)
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, launched the appeal today to help raise funds for the charity, which has seen increasing demand on its patient services.
The Foundation says it needs to raise at least half a million euro to maintain existing information services.
Call to tackle delays at Oranmore rail crossing
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Concerns have been raised over traffic delays at the railway crossing in Oranmore.
Councillor Jim Cuddy says he has received many representations from local motorists who have been experiencing extended delays.
He says the closed barrier can sometimes cause a traffic tailback as far as the roundabout near the Maldron hotel.
Cllr Cuddy has brought the matter to the attention of Iarnrod Eireann and has asked for an explanation as to why the crossing is closed for so long.