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A Different View

Back Door Turns All-Ireland Race into a Sporting Maze

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The back-door route through the All-Ireland is like a maze

There was a time when the All-Ireland football and hurling championship was a simple affair – you played the teams in your own province and the four winners played semi-finals before the final took place in Croke Park at the beginning or end of September.

But now you’d need a degree in actuarial studies to keep up with it.

Firstly, the fact that you lose doesn’t mean you’re out – it just means a more circuitous and scenic route to September.

And that’s fair enough for two reasons – it gives players who put in enormous efforts the chance to enjoy a championship that lasts longer than 70 minutes.

And it means extra dosh for the GAA.

In fairness to the Association, it’s not like they have Sepp Blatter in charge – the money goes into the grassroots because there isn’t a parish in Ireland without a GAA club. And there are parts of the country that now have floodlights, for example, when a generation ago they were thrilled to have electricity.

Next conundrum – what to do with Galway’s hurlers given that there’s no one interested in taking them on in Connacht?

You can try them in Munster for a while – and they did. And then you can try them in Leinster – and they are.

So far so palatable – until you come to the draw for the qualifiers.

Even more bizarrely they do this live on radio when in reality you’d need four television screens and an abacus. Because there are more rules and regulations than you’d find in the Ku Klux Klan. There would appear to be at least three bowls – or ‘pots’ – for each draw; one for one group of teams, one for the other, and one for the venue. Which is fine.

But then there are teams in Pot A who cannot play Pot B because they’ve played them already and there are teams in either pot who cannot be at home because they’ve either been there recently or they are the subject of a barring order.

There’s a guy who will explain all of this to you in a way that is best compared to the bank manager droning on about house insurance in that excellent ad on the telly. And – having lost the will to live – the best you can grasp is that you can’t meet a county if three of the players from that team have holidayed in the other county in last three years.

There also appears to be a rule that counties beginning with C are separated, and teams with more than three Sagittarians in their squad have to either drop one of them or forfeit home advantage. The fact that you’re effectively ruled out of meeting any of your neighbours almost inevitably condemns you to a tour of Ireland only previously experienced by a showband on dark Winter nights back in the ’50s and ’60s.

And after a couple of excursions into Injun country, you might survive to rejoin those teams who opted for the more traditional route to just simply win their games in the provincial championships. They’ve been away on holidays, built a house, sent the children to college and taken a night course in wood turning while they waited for the rest to come through what is euphemistically known as the ‘back door’.

So by now the teams who – by virtue of defeat in May or June 30 years ago – would have been three months out of the All-Ireland series are now back in the running to be crowned All-Ireland champions all over again.

For more of Dave’s view of ‘championships’ see this weeks Tribune here.

Connacht Tribune

Exam points are not the only measure of education success

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

By now, the next batch of around 60,000 students set for third-level education are over a week into the Leaving Cert – the exam that will determine what course they attain a place in for the new academic year.

Their success – added to the performances of their class-mates – will determine their alma mater’s position in what are commonly known as the school league tables.

This is a calculation of how successful a secondary school is, based entirely on the number of its Leaving Certs it gets into third-level education.

In turn – based on this – parents will choose where to send their little bundles of joy when the time comes for them to make the transition from primary to second-level.

And it’s such an arbitrary method of determining the relative success or failure of a centre of education, because it leaves so much out of the equation.

Firstly, it means performance is entirely based on the numbers who go on to third-level, ignoring those who gain apprenticeships or go straight into the workplace.

Admittedly, that’s not a large cohort these days because Careers Guidance seems to begin and end with helping you to choose the right course, not the right career.

But more fundamentally, getting a good student to pass his or her exams and gain a place in college isn’t the ultimate test of a teacher; getting a student who is struggling with reading or writing to a level where they comfortably do both is a far better achievement for any teacher.

Bringing a student who is in danger of failing mathematics, for example, to a position where they pass their exams – but more importantly understand how it works – should be recognised in any measure of performance.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

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.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
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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Connacht Tribune

How will we acclimatise as we ease out of Covid?

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Back in the world before Covid, a mention of Corona either brought to mind a beer or a rock band – but, as we ease our way out of dire straits (another rock band, as luck would have it), we might require a different kind of acclimatisation.

Because what will the evening be like when no more deaths are flashed up as a statistic on the Six-One News?

Who will the world turn to if we have no more Fergal or George or Zara giving out the daily update in a funereal tone?

What will happen to all the people who used to go to the Department of Health press conference at tea-time in the same way the rest of us once headed for the pub?

Like Pavlov’s Dog, we’ve come to expect an evening illness update, taking consolation in it being two less than yesterday or taking fright if it’s two more.

Nobody told us who these poor people were, unless the local paper carried a tribute a week later – for the number crunchers and bean counters and prophets of doom, they were today’s statistics, to be flashed up for a few seconds every night.

And we took these figures as we got them, never questioning if a person died from Covid or with Covid; if they were described as having ‘underlying conditions’, we seemed to accept that as a very broad church.

We listened intently as Fergal or George or Zara told us what the mean age was, breathing a small sigh of relief if it remained a good distance into the future from our own age now.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

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.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
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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Connacht Tribune

Home ownership should be a prerogative – not a pipedream

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Half of our 18 to 34-year-olds fear they won’t be able to buy a home in next ten years, according to a new survey. That’s not the shock – it’s the fact that half of them think they actually will.

Because the truth is that owning your own home hasn’t been as much of a pipedream since the days of feudal landlords; indeed many of them will find it a job and a half to even come up with the rent.

And that’s a sign of just how critical our housing crisis has become in the space of a single generation.

We thought that things were bad in the eighties when unemployment levels were way ahead of our pre-Covid figures; when the boat and the plane were the best 0or maybe only – chance for many to secure a job far from home.

But for those who were working, owning a home wasn’t a farfetched concept at all, because there were plenty of starter homes being built and the cost of them still bore some relation to your income.

There was a time before that, when the bank had a simple equation to decide the size of the mortgage they’d give you. It was two and a half times the combined salary for those buying the house – in other words, yours alone if you were a sole purchaser, or double that if it was yourself and your partner.

On top of that, there was no point turning up in the first place unless you had a ten per cent deposit – so it was a straight-forward calculation to find out what you could afford. And house prices, for the most part, kept within that equation.

Of course there were always homes you coveted and couldn’t afford, but you could still buy a roof over your head for a price that only took 20 years to pay back.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

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.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
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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