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Connacht Tribune

Camogie officer’s marathon challenge in memory of sibling

Stephen Glennon



Running the equivalent distance of a return trip from Loughrea to Croke Park as part of Galway Camogie’s Lockdown Challenge 2020, a Galway Camogie Board officer is hoping the memory of his late sister – who sadly passed away earlier this year – will see him through.

Ballymacward’s Brian Griffin commenced the challenge on Monday. Over 40 days he aims to run up to 10km a day until the distance of 380 kilometres is completed by the deadline date of Friday, December 11.

His efforts will raise money for Galway Camogie and Galway Hospice, the latter of which will receive 20% of all proceeds gathered through the multiple events taking place as part of Galway Camogie’s Lockdown Challenge.

It’s a huge undertaking for Galway Camogie’s Development Officer, but he is hoping his passion for camogie and the memory of his late sister Janette Griffin, Ballyglunin, will inspire him to deliver on his goal.

“My sister passed away earlier this year from cancer,” says Brian. “She was 48 when she died, two weeks short of her 49th birthday. In November of last year, she was diagnosed and she passed away on May 13 this year. She had three boys.

“She was in the Hospice there for a good few months. So, it is important for me to try and give something back. I suppose, when I’m out running, she might carry me along as well,” he says.

Brian and his fellow County Board officers had been discussing possible fundraisers for Galway Camogie before the current lockdown came. It was this that prompted the 40-day Lockdown Challenge.

“The idea is that we will get as many people to register and do a challenge and raise what they can for ourselves and Galway Hospice,” outlines Brian. “There are a lot of people interested and we’ve reached out to a lot of clubs. So, we are pushing it far and wide to get as many people involved.”

Some of the challenges undertaken around the county are: 5km or 10km a day for 40 days; walking the distance to Croke Park and back; walking 15,000 steps a day for 40 days; doing 100 burpees each day until December 11; and doing a virtual solo relay around Ireland.

“We would love people to come up with their own ideas that are totally different, out of the ordinary,” says Brian. “I know there is a woman in Athenry, Cathy Dillon, who is cycling virtually from Athenry pitch to every hurling and camogie pitch in Galway. So, that comes to about 500 kilometres for her to cycle.

“So, challenges like that. Others might just climb Croagh Patrick, doing as little as 800 metres a day. No challenge is too big or too small. The main thing is that you log in your challenge. You have to be seen to be doing it.”

Each challenge can be undertaken individually or as a team – so long as there is social distancing. Once the challenge is logged with Galway Camogie, each participant will be sent the link to the iDonate page. Each challenge must be tracked. For instance, Map My Run or Strava can use used to monitor kilometres while, for something like burpees, a video of each daily task must be recorded.

As Brian notes that the more people who get involved, the more “craic” it will be. He encourages as many as possible to do so. “Also, I think, in the lockdown, it is good for people to stay engaged. You can kind of get down in the dumps looking out the window for five or six weeks.

“So, it is important for people’s mental health as well to be involved in something like this, to be part of a group. If you were sitting at home on our own, you could kind of get bogged down.”

All going well, the energy the Lockdown Challenge will generate will feed into Galway camogie’s senior team as they bid to win back-to-back All-Ireland titles under manager Cathal Murray. Griffin agrees.

“As we know, all sporting organisations are stuck for money at this time. So, it is important that we get behind those girls as well. It would be brilliant if they could do it again this year. It is a big challenge for them and we have to back them.”

As for Griffin, himself, he has already embraced his own mammoth challenge. “I have registered now so there is no getting out of it,” he laughs.

“The money raised, though, will help to continue the good work both Galway Camogie and Galway Hospice are doing on the ground. If every club could put in a challenge, it would be great.”

(Photo: Camogie stars Sarah Dervan, Niamh Kilkenny and Emma Helebert promoting Galway Camogie’s Lockdown Challenge 2020, which got underway this week).

Connacht Tribune

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

Denise McNamara



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

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara



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

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Connacht Tribune

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

Dave O'Connell



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

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