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Connacht Tribune

Basketball’s uncertain times as ban on indoor sports takes toll

Keith Kelly

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Maree BC's U-14 squad were presented with the cup and their medals just before Christmas by former Maree player and Irish international Michelle Fahy, for winning the 2019/20 Galway league. Back row, from left: Michelle Fahy with Grace McAnespie, Kate Burke, Ella Hanniffy, Laoise Quinn, Aisling Jordan, and Katie Colleran. Front: Laoise Gallagher, Tara Molloy, Naoise Ni Bhroin, and Jessica Ross.

By Keith Kelly

THE treatment of basketball as something of a forgotten sport, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, could see the game lose a generation of players as, by the time collective training is allowed, children may have been up to 18 months without involvement in the sport.

While all sport has been impacted by the ongoing pandemic, the failure to bestow ‘elite’ status to the basketball’s national league clubs – which provide the bulk of the country’s international players – along with the seemingly more-stringent application of restrictions to the local game compared to other sports, has led to fears locally that the sport may suffer a setback which will take years from which to recover.

While the main GAA, rugby, and soccer seasons were allowed resume during the summer after being designated as ‘elite sports’, the failure to include basketball in that category disappointed many associated with the game.

Then, when children were allowed to do some form of training with their various sports clubs under level 3 of lockdown, restrictions appeared to be stricter for basketball than other sports: for example, children were not allowed to pass the ball to each other as it was deemed to be sharing equipment, a constraint which did not seem to be applied to other sports.

When asked about children effectively not being able to train or play games in the sport since March, head coach of Moycullen’s Super League men’s squad, John Cunningham, said that from a basketball point of view, that has been a “disaster”.

“At least our Superleague guys got a pre-season of 6-8 weeks collective activity but underage are currently 10 months without anything other than watching online videos. It’s possible that will stretch to next September which is 18 months without group training.

“In the meantime, they’ve had their soccer, GAA and rugby sessions continuing. There will definitely be some who will never return to basketball (or maybe never start). For those that basketball was ‘their sport’, they’ve lost a social outlet which may have been their only one,” Cunningham said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer

Denise McNamara

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Ninety-five year old Margaret Kenny was first person to be administered the Covid-19 vaccination Practice Nurse Deirdre Furey at the Surgery Athenry.

On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.

Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.

While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.

“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.

“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”

Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara

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Linda Hughes, presenting the RTÉ weather forecast live in studio.

Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.

But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.

The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.

She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.

The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.

“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.

“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”

Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Quinn...back home after an incredible few months.

Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.

But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.

The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.

To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.

“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.

But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.

Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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