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Connacht Tribune

Boxing finds sunshine in the midst of the shadows

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The noble art of boxing might be something of an oxymoron to some, given that a good bout involves two skilled pugilists effectively trying the punch the living daylights out of each other – but there is no denying the role it has played in keeping some of his finest away from an alternative, and shadier, path.

That’s reflected in two books of recent vintage with boxing at their core – but with life on the darker side as their considerable backdrop.

One is the story of our own Seán Mannion, the Rosmuc man who fought Mike McCallum for the WBA world light middleweight title on an October night in 1984 in New York’s Madison Square Garden.

The Man Who Was Never Knocked Down, wonderfully woven by author and broadcaster Rónán Mac Con Iomaire, isn’t just the story of a man with a dream who accomplished almost all of it.

It is also the tale of the Irish in South Boston where Mannion made his other home, and where boxing and crime were usual bedfellows; where there’s a small step from right to wrong.

That was something that Belfast boxing trainer Gerry Storey also dealt with on a daily basis throughout the darkest days of the Troubles.

But what made Storey a legend outside of the ring as well as within was that – despite coming from a family steeped in Republican roots – he didn’t have a sectarian bone in his body.

Storey’s story is told in a brilliant new book written by the award-winning sports journalist Donald McRae – and like Rónán Mac Con Iomaire’s work, it is so much more than a boxing book.

It’s entitled In Sunshine or in Shadow, after a line from Danny Boy, the song Barry McGuigan chose as an anthem when either of the official ones would have alienated half of his support base. But it’s also a perfect analogy of the light that boxing shone for so many in the darkest of times North of the border.

Read Dave’s full column in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Violent incident in Tuam leaves seven hospitalised

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Gardaí are investigating after an incident in Tuam yesterday left seven people injured.

A violent altercation broke out between a large group at the cemetery in Tuam at about 4pm yesterday.

Around 30 Gardaí responded to the incident at the cemetery on the Athenry Road in Tuam, which broke out following two funerals in the area.

Gardaí supported by members from the wider North Western Region and the Regional Armed Support Unit had to physically intervene between parties and disperse those present.

Five males and two females were injured during the course of the incident and were taken to University Hospital Galway with non-life threatening injuries.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested at the scene, as he tried to flee in possession of a knife.

He was taken to Tuam Garda Station and has since been released. A file is being prepared for the Juvenile Liaison Officer.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to this incident or for anyone with any information to contact Tuam Garda Station .

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Connacht Tribune

Anger over ANC ‘snip’

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.

Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.

In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.

Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.

At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Siblings find each other – and their Connemara roots – after 80 years

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Reunited...Pat and Miceál McKeown outside their mother Síle’s birthplace in Carna.

By Erin Gibbons

A family separated for over 80 years was reunited at the end of an emotional journey in Connemara last weekend – thanks to DNA testing and the expert help of heritage researchers.

Pat McKeown, who lives in Staffordshire in the UK, is the daughter of Síle Gorham from Roisín Na Mainiach, Carna – but she was given up for adoption and reared for a time in a Belfast Mother and Baby Home.

Now, at the age of 81, she found her roots – returning to her mother’s native place for the first time last weekend, in the company of her long-lost brother Micheál.

It was an emotional end to a lifelong search for her roots that even led her to hire a private detective to try and locate her family and to discover her name.

All of this proved unsuccessful – and she had effectively given up her search when she was contacted unexpectedly by a man called Miceál McKeown, who turned out to be her brother.

Micheál – an artist and sculptor – and his daughter Orla had made the connection through DNA testing, after Miceál too had set out to discover more about his own roots.

That revealed that Síle Gorham had married Michael McKeown in 1939, and Síle went on to have three more children named Áine, Séan and Miceál.

Pat visited Connemara last weekend for the first time to learn about her mother Síle and the Connemara ancestry which she feels was robbed from her for her entire 81 years.

She was accompanied by Miceál, his wife Rosemary, daughter Orla and son-in-law Rueben Keogh.

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

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