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Connacht Tribune

Battle-weary Ballinasloe fail to handle a tough schedule

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Ballygar's Eric Walsh tries to break away from Alan Caulfield of Ballinasloe during the County Junior 1 hurling final in Loughgeorge last Thursday. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Ballygar 2-16

Ballinasloe 0-10

A slow start from Ballinasloe proved too difficult to recover from as Ballygar ran out comfortable winners of the County Junior 1 hurling title on a cold Thursday night in Loughgeorge to book their place in the Connacht final less than 48 hours later

Playing a second game in three days, the men in black and amber knew that they would need to start quick if they were to make any sort of impact, but Ballinasloe would fall five points behind after just six minutes while a fortuitous goal late in the half helped Ballygar build a nine point lead at half time, an advantage they never looked like losing.

Coming in fresh having played their semi-final over a week ago, Ballygar came out of the blocks strong, Eric Walsh sprinting from midfield and into the corner to win a free which Pierce McDonagh duly tapped over. Subsequently, Diarmuid O’Brien would intercept the resulting puck out before setting up Adrian Gavin to slot home a goal and open a four point lead inside four minutes.

O’Brien’s interception was a sign of things to come as his side would make seven throughout the first half, making it hard for Michael Fogarty’s side to get the ball into scorable positions, instead having to endure attack after attack putting even more pressure on what must have been already tired legs.

When getting away from their markers Ballinasloe were causing problems early on, impressive angled runs from Craig Keighery and Jack Dillon leading to Keighery opening his side’s account after seven minutes, while Dillon would win a close range free for Cormac Casey to tap over.

In defence, Ballinasloe were working extremely hard to keep Ballygar at bay, in particular Joseph Dervan was getting in blocks and hooks in the corner in an area their opponents had targeted.

Four more scores in quick succession from Oisin McConn, Conal Greally and two McDonagh frees put further daylight between the sides, before Ballygar took a commanding lead on 25 minutes courtesy of a fortuitous goal as a long range effort from McConn dropped into the back of the net to leave Brian Hanley’s side 10 points up.

Ballinasloe were left to feed on scraps but did manage to grab two more points late on from frees courtesy of Casey, but were left with a mountain to climb in the second half, trailing by 2-8 to 0-5 at half time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Thousands on waiting list for student accommodation in Galway

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The student housing crisis is ‘the worst it’s ever been’ – with thousands on waiting lists for rooms; hundreds relying on hostels and friends’ sofas; and countless more facing deferral or dropping out altogether.

The President of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union, Róisín Nic Lochlainn, told the Connacht Tribune that students had been left in a desperate situation, as she called for mass protests to have the issue addressed.

According to Ms Nic Lochlainn, 3,000 students were currently on the waiting lists for NUIG’s on-campus accommodation – Corrib Village and Goldcrest Village – with around 500 in line for any bed that might come up in the Westwood.

“Gort na Coiribe and Dunaras have told us their waiting lists are well into the hundreds too. I’ve only got to contact two of the hostels around town, but Kinlay and Snoozles have almost 200 students between them already – and they’re expecting more.

“The first years haven’t even arrived yet, and on top of all that, you have people in B&Bs and staying on their friends’ sofas,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn.

Pressure on the student rental market had been building for years, she said, but it had gone off the cliff edge this year as a perfect storm was created by increased student numbers and reduced bed availability.

“[Minister for Further and Higher Education] Simon Harris created new places on courses this year and talked about maximum access to education . . . I’m not sure how that works for students who are homeless.

“Because there weren’t many students around last year, some private landlords might have moved on. There was no new purpose-built accommodation delivered, and then Simon Harris creates new places with no new beds,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn of the causes of this year’s problems.”

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Government asked to “do everything” to ensure Intel chooses Oranmore as base

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The Taoiseach and Tánaiste will be asked to do “everything in their power” to ensure technology giant Intel selects Oranmore as the location for its new microchip manufacturing plant – which could create 10,000 jobs and transform the West of Ireland economy.

The 540-acre site is owned by the Defence Forces and was selected by IDA Ireland as the preferred site for the company’s new EU ‘chip’ base.

BY STEPHEN CORRIGAN
AND DARA BRADLEY

Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany and Intel confirmed to Taoiseach Micheál Martin that the site is under consideration.

Galway East TD Ciarán Cannon said the development would be “transformative” and would be Intel’s largest microchip manufacturing plant in the world.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District this week, councillors backed a proposal from Cllr Liam Carroll to write to Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar to urge them to push forward the plan.

“This would be a game-changer, not just for Oranmore but for the whole of Connacht. Imagine 10,000 directly employed at some stage in the future, and the spinoff from that,” he said.

The Oranmore site is reported to have been selected ahead of three other locations in Ireland.

It is on Intel’s short-list for the proposed project, which would involve building eight factory modules on a single campus at the site off the M6 motorway, northeast of Oranmore, the newspaper reported.

The American multinational tech company has whittled down its short-list to 10 finalists; Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that if it proceeds, the new Oranmore ‘mega-fab’ would dwarf Intel’s existing site in Leixlip, which employs almost 5,000.

Galway East TD, Ciaran Cannon (FG) said: “It would put Galway on the map internationally as a place for high-tech investment and it would serve to rebalance the economic imbalance that exists in our country where all of the weight is on the east coast.

“The IDA has a formula where every one new job created in that industry creates about eight or nine more jobs downstream in terms of the supply chain and services. They’re saying 10,000 jobs on site – twice the population of Athenry – on one campus and then another 80-90,000 jobs off site. The figures are phenomenal, mind boggling,” said Deputy Cannon.

The demand for the facility arose during Covid-19 when the supply chain between Asia and Europe broke down.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Fraudsters ‘spoof’ Galway Garda Station’s phone number

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Fraudsters replicated the phone number of Galway Garda Station and used it to call a local woman to demand money.

Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Walsh, said that the number ‘091 538000’ was somehow used by criminals who attempted to extract money – in the form of the online currency Bitcoin – from the victim.   Despite the phone call appearing to come from the Garda station at Mill Street, the woman became suspicious and reported it to Gardaí.

Sgt Walsh said it was the latest in a series of ‘spoofing’ phone calls to have occurred this year.

Spoofing is where fraudsters change the caller ID to ring unsuspecting members of the public to try to extract money or personal information off them.

He said that the number of spoofing incidents reported to Galway Gardaí has more than doubled in the past year.

“It is top of my agenda,” he said.

He pointed out that criminals can obtain a ‘ready to go’ phone and SIM card, relatively cheaply, and it was “very difficult” for Gardaí to trace the caller.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more details on fraud figures in Galway, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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