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Board go too far but O’Grady leaves Limerick in the lurch

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Inside Track with John McIntyre

WHEN it comes to self preservation as a GAA team manager, Donal O’Grady could give a master class on the subject. He tends not to overstay his welcome; is rarely influenced by public opinion; takes a pragmatic approach to his role with teams; and tends to get out of town when the timing arouses curiosity to say the least.

In 1995, Pat O’Neill dropped a bomshell when he stepped down as Dublin football manager after leading them to All-Ireland glory. O’Neill’s decision went totally against the grain, but he was a busy sports injury consultant and, undeniably, was getting out at the top. Still, we didn’t anticipate Dr. O’Neill starting a new trend.

O’Grady, the former Cork full back, has always been his own man and when he managed the Rebels to the McCarthy Cup in 2004, he too stunned the GAA fraternity by subsequently resigning his sideline post. Again, his sense of timing caused consternation among Cork fans, but the fact that one is his mentors, John Allen, successfully stepped into the breach and retained the All-Ireland title the following year ensured there was no significant fall out.

In the intervening years, O’Grady was linked with the Waterford post, but it was Limerick who enticed him back into inter-county management in the winter of 2010. The Shannonsiders had just ended the troubled rein of another Cork man, Justin McCarthy, and few could argue that O’Grady wasn’t a terrific appointment giving his standing in the game – he is also a respected GAA pundit – and achievements with Cork.

In fairness to the St. Finbarr’s clubman, he publicly insisted his move to Limerick would be a short term project. He quickly set about healing rifts and his conciliatory style, together with intensive (and basic) coaching of the players, improved the squad’s fortunes. Limerick won Division 2 of the league, but controversially weren’t promoted to the top flight due to a revamp of the competition. They also made the All-Ireland quarter-final that year.

Despite having previously indicated that he would not be in Limerick for the long haul, there was still local astonishment when he walked away after just one year in charge. Again, Allen came in to fill the void and he guided Limerick to their first Munster championship in nearly 20 years in 2013, but they subsequently came up well short against neighbours Clare in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Allen had now been two years at the helm, but he too exited the Limerick stage with unusual timing. It is understood the County Board initially courted former Tipperary boss Liam Sheedy to take over, but eventually came up with a joint managerial ticket of O’Grady and ex-county player TJ Ryan. If O’Grady’s departure had caused surprise, his return to Limerick raised even more eyebrows. On the surface, it certainly appeared an odd move but, perhaps, he felt the foundation had really been laid for a serious assault on the championship.

 

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune

Connacht Tribune

A Moycullen win would add badly needed spice to football’s big day

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Conor Reddington of Annaghdown and Tuam Stars' Adam Carton in action during the North Board Minor B football final at Tuam Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

BEFORE a ball was kicked in this year’s Galway senior championship, the smart money would have been on champions Corofin, Tuam Stars, Salthill/Knocknacarra and Mountbellew/Moylough making it to the semi-finals if they managed to keep out of each other’s way on the road to the penultimate stage off the title race.

Unfortunately, for a Salthill team which, in any event, didn’t scale their expected heights this year, they came up against the champions in the quarter-finals where the Seasiders’ challenge was dismissed in convincing fashion. It was business as usual for Corofin who remain odds on to claim a record-breaking eighth consecutive title.

With Tuam Stars edging out Bearna after extra-time, a Paul Kelly goal helping Moycullen get the better of St James’, and Mountbellew/Moylough powering home against 14-man Killannin, it means that three of last year’s semi-finalists are back seeking a place in the Galway decider this weekend. Mountbellew/Moylough are the odd ones out having fallen to Corofin in the 2019 quarter-finals.

Val Daly’s troops will need the performance of the lives to overturn club’s football’s dominant power, especially as they continue to field without county player John Daly – a son of their manager. Of course, they are not without a chance and if the likes of Michael Daly, Matthew Barrett, Eoin Finnerty, Eoin Ryan and Barry McHugh hit the ground running, they could give Corofin a searching time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Greens see red on gold rush

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Opposition is intensifying to the prospect of a licence being awarded to Canadian gold prospectors planning to explore the heart of Connemara.

Environmental campaigners have warned of the dangers of awarding a prospecting licence to Toronto-based MOAG to mine for gold and silver in land around Roundstone, Ballyconneely and Ballynahinch.

They claim the exploration could devastate water supplies, tourism, wildlife – and also led to tensions in the local community.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton has indicated he intends to grant a prospecting licence to the company to explore for the valuable minerals in townlands in Ballynahinch Barony.

The licence allows the holder to explore for mineral deposits, and does not authorise mining of any materials that are found – that requires further licensing.

And Minister Bruton’s Department insists that the activities permitted under this licence are “non-invasive” and “of minimal environmental impact”.

However, campaigners have warned of the dangers mining can have on Connemara, and have urged the public to object before July 6.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Controversial Ballinasloe landfill prepares for closure

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The Galway dump that forced householders to close their windows during the hottest of summers will take in waste for the last time during the middle of this year.

The pong the emanated from the landfill site in Kilconnell will be no more as it will cease accepting waste by the end of June next year.

Ballinasloe area councillors were told how Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site following the liquidation of the former operators Greenstar.

The Council agreed to accept 300,000 tons of municipal waste over a three-year period and this will come to an end by the middle of next year, after which the dump will be capped and closed the following year.

Director of Services Jim Cullen informed a meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council that following the closure of the dump, there would be long term care of the site to ensure that there would be no adverse environmental issues.

When Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site, an allocation of €300,000 was provided by the Department of the Environment for local projects.

Of this, €120,000 has been given to the area engineer to spend at his discretion and the remaining €180,000 has been dispersed equally among the six Ballinasloe councillors – resulting in each getting €30,000 to spend on projects in their area.

It is expected that a further €300,000 will be allocated to organisations within a certain radius of the landfill site and a committee made up of Cllr Aidan Donohue (FG), Cllr Dermot Connolly (SF) and Cllr Timmy Broderick (Ind) to decide how this fund will be dispersed.

For years, the dump in Kilconnell caused annoyance for local residents because of the smells emanating from the site and many householders say that it is still a major problem.

Cllr Michael Finnerty warned about the possibility of a run-off of leachate – a liquid that drains from landfill sites that can cause pollution – from the site into the future.

He said that he attended a meeting in Ballinasloe in which residents expressed concern about a leachate run-off from the old dump in Poolboy which has been closed down for years.

He was assured by Mr Cullen that the situation in Poolboy was being continually monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency but he would investigate these claims.

With regard to the closure of the dump in Kilconnell, Cllr Aidan Donohue said that he was not convinced about the ongoing maintenance of the site into the future.

He said when the landfill site in New Inn was closed many years ago, the Council just walked away and left the site in an unacceptable state.

The Fine Gael councillor was referring to suggestions that the Kilconnell site might have future potential and may be an asset but he cited what happened in New Inn when he said that it was just abandoned.

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