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Bitter row as parents pull kids out of GAA club



The largest GAA club in Connacht is facing a parent’s revolt in a bitter row over underage team trainers.

Parents of juvenile players in at least one team in Salthill / Knocknacarra GAA Club have withdrawn their children from training and called for an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) to air their grievances following a breakdown in relations with the club committee.

In a statement to the Galway City Tribune, a group of 25 “concerned parents” claim their children are being used as pawns in a dispute involving adults.

This group have pledged to take on the club committee, “fighting this through the courts if necessary”.

The dispute centres around a large number of underage trainers who were let go and replaced with new trainers.

Club Juvenile director John Daly was voted out as juvenile director at an AGM last October which was attended by 140 people, when average meetings would attract no more than 40 members. He was replaced with Norman Costello, who went on to replace many of the underage management teams.

“The removal of almost all the juvenile trainers – some of whom have been volunteering for up to six years training underage teams at the club – was followed by the immediate appointment and subsequent ratification of a number of juvenile team managers against many parents’ wishes,” the parents insist.

“A large group of parents were aghast at some of the proposed appointments and at the shoddy manner [in which] many dedicated volunteers were treated.

“To a large number of people in this area, this is a huge issue involving a number of very serious matters, not least of which is the welfare and care of our children. So far, we have been ignored by the club committee.

“These actions are expressly against our wishes. This was communicated to the club committee and we were told that our views and concerns were overruled and that the club was continuing with its underage strategy regardless of our concerns.”

Since last Sunday some parents have withdrawn their children from training, which they say will continue until an agreement is reached. Just five turned up for training for the U13 session, when normally up to 30 would tog out.

The committee has indicated in various meetings with parents that they are standing steadfastly behind the new director.

At the time of going to print, Salthill / Knocknacarra GAA Club chairman Peter O’Halloran had not returned calls.

The club is already mired in a bitter dispute over its proposed move to pitches at Rahoon where the club currently awaits a planning decision.

Rahoon Newcastle Hurling Club, St Michael’s GAA Club and Bearna GAA Club are likely to fight the move which could devastate their membership. However, that plan is now up in the air as one of the new routes for the outer bypass cuts right through the pitches.

Connacht Tribune

One half of Hollywood’s golden couple sings Galway’s praises after trip



Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello and his chihuahua Bubbles, with Fergus Lally of Galway’s Celtic Chauffeurs at the Cliffs of Moher.

He may be married to the highest paid actress in the world, but that did not stop Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello savouring the best that Galway had to offer – hailing the people, the cheese, chocolate and salmon during his trip west.

The American actor, who played stripper Big Dick Richie in Steven Soderbergh’s box office hit Magic Mike, was not joined by Modern Family’s Sofía Vergara until a week later on his trip around Cork.

But he did ring his wife of six years in the US while exploring the countryside of south Galway and Clare with guide, Fergus Lally, who had picked him and his chihuahua Bubbles up from the Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Bushypark on the city’s edge.

“I had a great time with him. I brought him to the Cliffs of Moher and along the way we stopped off at the Hazel Mountain Chocolate factory, the cheese shop at the Aillwee Caves and he had a tasting at the Burren Smoke House in Lisdoonvarna,” reveals Fergus.

“He had an amazing time tasting all the foods. The back of the car was full – everybody did well out of him. He was blown away with the places I brought him. He loved the history of the Corcomroe Abbey and Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara. He was a great guy. I was delighted to drive him. The two of us just clicked.”

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from  

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Connacht Tribune

Covid-19 outbreak compounds UHG crisis



UHG's Emergency Department.

As Government applied the brakes on the planned full reopening of society this Friday, the West’s largest public hospital remained in a state of crisis – dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks, large numbers of patients and lengthy wait times in its Emergency Department and postponed elective procedures.

An outbreak of Covid-19 at University Hospital Galway (UHG) was having a significant impact on critical care services, Saolta University Healthcare Group has warned.

UHG confirmed it was dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks on two wards of the city hospital. A further two wards were being used exclusively to treat Covid positive cases.

This was impacting other patients – elective procedures were postponed at UHG this week due a lack of beds.

On Monday, 41 patients with Covid-19 were being treated in UHG compared with 19 the same day last week.

Portiuncula was treating eight Covid positive patients on Monday, twice as many as last week.

There were two Covid patients in ICU in Ballinasloe and six in ICU in UHG; there were four in ICU in total at both hospitals last week.

Saolta said that people presenting at the Emergency Department in UHG were experiencing long waiting times.

“The hospital has seen a significant increase in patients presenting to the hospital and many of these patients are very sick and need to be admitted to the hospital for treatment.

“As a result of the ongoing pressures and lack of bed capacity a number of elective procedures are being postponed. Patients are being contacted directly if their procedure is being postponed,” Saolta said.

Read the full story – and our latest on Covid-19 – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from  

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Connacht Tribune

Galway lecturer’s transatlantic story of Boston dynasty and Irish roots



Larry Donnelly, with the Bostonian, on the grounds of NUI Galway.

Of all the transatlantic cultural differences that greeted Bostonian Larry Donnelly on arrival in Galway, the search for a clean towel in something called a hot press left him puzzled and perplexed most of all. He also came to quickly realise that Hoover had so conquered the vacuum cleaner market that the brand name had become a verb.

But the Boston-born son of an Irish father and Scottish mother – from a famed American political dynasty with roots firmly embedded in Galway and the west – found infinitely more that united his old and new home than divided them.

His voice is familiar to radio listeners from his frequent analysis of American politics; his thoughts are already well-known to readers of his weekly column in – and law students at NUIG have benefited from his expertise in that field on both sides of the Atlantic.

He spent a fair portion of lockdown writing the Bostonian, a biography in part – not just his own, but of his family and his uncle, US Congressman Brian Donnelly (the man forever synonymous with the Donnelly Visas) in particular.

Typical of him, he rarely puts himself centre-stage but what he succeeds in doing is putting his life, his work and his journey into context. He was a man with roots on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean long before he ever made the journey to live here.

The photo on the cover of the Bostonian sets out the stall for the book, uniting uncle and nephew in an iconic pic; US Congressman Brian Donnelly marching in the 1983 Dorchester Day Parade in Boston – and an eight-year-old Larry Donnelly in the baseball cap looking up in wonderment.

“I’d always intended it to be a book about more than me. I particularly wanted it to be the story of Brian’s political career because that deserves to be told – but I didn’t think he would allow that to happen, because he has always loathed the limelight,” he says.

Read the full story – and an exclusive excerpt from the Bostonian – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from  

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