Inside Track with John McIntyre
CAN we look forward to it raining goals in hurling matches from now onwards? Well, the basic hope is that spectators will see more green flags being raised in future after the weekend GAA Congress clamped down on cynical play in no uncertain manner.
Despite a belated intervention by the GPA (Gaelic Players Association), delegates voted in favour for the introduction of a black card and the awarding of a penalty for cynical fouls occurring inside the 20-metre line and the semi-circular arc. The rule will also apply to Gaelic football.
Through there is already a sin-bin in football, 2021 will be the first time that hurlers run the risk of being sent to the dug-out for a ten-minute period for cynical fouling. It’s a move which had far from unanimously approval as heavyweight hurling counties Limerick, Kilkenny and Galway all railed against the motion at Saturday’s virtual Congress.
There is little protest over the awarding of a penalty for what we could loosely describe as professional fouling when a goal-scoring opportunity is obvious. Remember, in last year’s championship, Kilkenny’s Huw Lawlor holding Niall Burke’s hurley in the Leinster final and Adrian Tuohey’s grounding of Tipperary’s Seamus Callanan in the All-Ireland quarter-final.
Both incidents prevented the net from been rattled and, in those circumstances, the previous punishment of a close-range free simply didn’t fit the crime. Now, however, the question is being asked: have the GAA gone too far the other way? Most stakeholders would be content with the awarding of a penalty, but to also have the offending player ending up in the sin-bin for ten minutes is undoubtedly a harsh sanction.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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Two arrested following taxi hijacking in Galway
Gardaí have arrested two men following the hijacking of a taxi in Co Galway last night.
Shortly before midnight, Gardaí received a report that two men who were passengers in a taxi had attacked the driver and stole his vehicle.
The driver was ejected from the car on the M18 motorway.
Gardaí were alerted and observed the car in Claregalway.
A managed containment operation to ‘block in’ the taxi was put in place with assistance from the armed Regional Support Unit.
The car was brought to a stop on Bothar na dTreabh and two men fled on foot. The two men, one in his mid-20s and the other in his early-30s, were subsequently arrested.
They are currently detained at Garda HQ in Renmore under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.
Man arrested after €90,000 drug seizure
Gardai have arrested a man after €90,000 worth of drugs were discovered in a bog near Ballinasloe.
As part of an ongoing surveillance operation, Gardai conducted a search in Poolboy Bog late yesterday afternoon.
They discovered €70,000 worth of cocaine, and a further €20,000 worth of cannabis along with other drug equipment.
A man in his 20s was arrested at the scene and taken to Ballinasloe Garda Station.
He’s since been charged and will appear before Ballinasloe District Court next Thursday.
Waiting lists surge since pandemic
Waiting lists at Galway hospitals have rocketed since the onset of Covid-19, with fears that the situation will only worsen as doubts have been cast over the long-awaited new elective hospital at Merlin Park.
Figures released from the National Treatment Purchase Fund, which covers the cost of outsourcing public patients to private hospitals, show that since 2020, waiting lists locally have surged by almost 25%.
Galway City Councillor Níall McNelis said statistics obtained by the Labour Party showed the numbers waiting for inpatient and outpatient treatment were ever increasing, and little was being done to address the problem.
“Waiting lists have skyrocketed since the beginning of 2020 and have increased from 52,935 in January to 65,548 in March 2021, an increase of a whopping 23.8% in a little over a year.
“In every specialism, the numbers waiting at Galway University Hospitals are growing and growing month after month, with the number of people waiting for general surgery growing from 3,468 to 4,990 – a 43.9% increase; [the list for] cardiology treatment has grown from 2,406 to 3,231, a 34.3% increase in little over 14 months,” said the Labour Party councillor.
This sharp increase in waiting times came as Moycullen-based Senator Seán Kyne (FG) cast doubt over the mooted 200 in-patient beds and new elective hospital at Merlin Park – something that has long been presented as the solution to Galway’s health woes.
See the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie