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Connacht Tribune

Connacht come to the Boyle for bonus point win

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Connacht’s Paul Boyle fends off the challenge of Benetton's Dewaldt Duvenage on his way to scoring a try. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Connacht 31

Benetton 14

Paul Boyle is breaking out. Friday’s bonus point win over a struggling Benetton side wasn’t a vintage Connacht display, but the big headline was the 23-years-old from Wexford who captained the province for the first time and marked the occasion with a hat-trick of tries and a dominant display at the back of the scrum.

Boyle has made 45 appearances since making his debut against Munster in January 2017. This wasn’t his first time captaining a side, he has done that with Gorey RFC and the Irish U-20s; nor was it some sort of surprising performance – he’s been churning these high level displays out all season – but it was a milestone thanks to the tries, and it certainly caught the headlines.

Connacht weren’t great here, but they simply didn’t have to be as they were up against an honest and lively opponent lacking the kind of quality in the forwards that they needed to compete for the win. Conditions were key to the stop-start nature of the contest, but Andy Friend will have been content with the five tries and the maximum return in terms of league points.

In a disrupted campaign, Connacht have won four and lost two. They sit comfortably in second place in the standings but they are well back of unbeaten Munster. That’ll do for now with Champions Cup action on the menu for the next two weeks. This was always going to be an evening for hard graft and patience and in that sense, Boyle really was the perfect choice for the captaincy.

He took the mantle because Jarred Butler wasn’t meant to start. Sean O’Brien was a late withdrawal with a hamstring injury, yet even though Butler – drafted in to replace O’Brien – is the club captain, he left the squad to follow the plan that was in place and Boyle got the experience of leading the side through the kind of test that had tripped them up two weeks previously, when the Scarlets won in the College Road rain.

Connacht secured a bonus point in the first-half with the wind at their back but it was a step-by-step process and by no means a procession. Boyle got the first try, charging over from close range after sustained attacks; and Peter Sullivan had Connacht further ahead on 23 minutes, the winger emerging from a driving maul with the ball after the backs had joined in to help it over the line. That will pad the stats nicely for the Bray native.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Shannon back in full flight!

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Turlough O'Neill, Ryanair Base Captain at Shannon; Shannon Group CEO Mary Considine, and First Officer Virginie Blazin, pictured at Shannon Airport at the announcement of new services to Corfu and Gran Canaria.

There was a festive atmosphere at Shannon Airport this week as the inaugural Ryanair Corfu service prepared to take flight – ahead of another new service to Gran Canaria, which begins this week.

The new route to the popular Greek Island will operate twice weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays until the end of October, and the new weekly Ryanair service to Gran Canaria (Las Palmas) begins this Saturday.

All of this means that Shannon Airport is now serving Alicante, Barcelona, Stansted, Gatwick, Kaunas, Krakow, Wroclaw, Warsaw, Manchester, Corfu, Faro, Lanzarote, Malaga, Palma, Tenerife, Gran Canaria (Las Palmas) and Turin.

Passengers on the first Corfu-bound flight enjoyed a pre-departure reception in the airport’s transit lounge which was decorated in festive style.

To celebrate the new routes, the airport gave one lucky passenger a special surprise, return flight tickets for two people to a choice of one of Shannon Airport’s 17 exciting destinations.

A special water cannon salute by the airport’s fire service added an extra sense of occasion as airport staff welcomed passengers and looked after them throughout their time in the airport.

Welcoming the new air services Mary Considine, CEO, Shannon Group, which owns and manages Shannon Airport said: “The global pandemic has had a huge impact on all our lives and being able to once again welcome our passengers as they take to the skies bound for sun drenched holiday destinations is really wonderful.

See 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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Connacht Tribune

Pixies slot proves time is now for the Clockworks

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The Clockworks...supporting Pixies on September tour.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

When Pixies were announced as Galway International Arts Festival headliners way back in 2019, a promising Loughrea four-piece were fresh from relocating to London and bullishly embracing their role as the new faces of former Oasis manager Alan McGee’s Creation 23 record label.

Two years on, the US alt-rock pioneers are yet to grace the Big Top – but the Clockworks, made up of James McGregor, Tom Freeman, Seán Connolly and Damian Greaney, are set to make a US debut in their company with a series of support slots that cement their place as one of Galway’s biggest artistic exports.

In less than six weeks’ time, Pixies will embark on a September tour of the states with the Clockworks by their side for six gigs. The Galway group play their own maiden headline US show in New York’s Mercury Loung on September 8.

On their horizon too, is an end-of-year Irish tour with Dublin indie-rock outfit Inhaler as well as a host of festival appearances, barring cancellations.

With news of the Pixies tour coming in the same week NewDad were announced as support for Fontaines D.C.’s highly anticipated Belfast show on August 13, it is powerful evidence of the ground Galway acts continue to break.

“It’s very exciting to have loads of gigs lined up after absolutely nothing for so long,” James admits.

“It’s really nice to feel like we’re going to hit the ground running and when Pixies came through, that was just amazing and what a way to start. It’s our first time gigging in America – my first time going there personally.

“All four of us are massive fans of Pixies too. Any time they’d come to Ireland, we’d always try and throw our hat in the ring for a support slot and just to think that now we’ll be going around the States with them is insane.”

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

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Connacht Tribune

All out in force to cheer home one of their own

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Fiona Murtagh…back home with her Olympic medal on Sunday. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Sitting on an airplane, mid-air from Japan en route to Dublin, Olympic bronze medallist from Moycullen, Fiona Murtagh was unsure whether anyone would be at the airport to meet her and teammates Aifric Keogh of Na Forbacha, Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty when they touched down.

Because of Covid-19 restrictions, there was no big welcoming party planned for Dublin Airport. But Fiona need not have worried; as she strode out of airport security and into Arrivals, all her family were there to hug her.

Fiona hadn’t seen her parents Marguerite and Noel since April because of a pre-Olympic training camp in Italy; and her siblings Pádraig, Lorraine and twin Alan all turned up, too.

“Oh my God, I couldn’t believe it. It was actually really emotional, it was so lovely. I didn’t expect the full family to be there. Tears came to my eyes. I hadn’t seen mom and my dad in seven weeks,” said Fiona.

That was just the first leg of what was to be a heart-warming homecoming for a hero.

The family drove back to Galway with Fiona, who had heard “through the grapevine that there was going to be something in Bushypark”.

“But the scale of it, I didn’t expect it at all, it was incredible, it was so lovely to see everyone come out and support and see me”, she said.

Read the full story over eleven pages of coverage on the homecoming of our Olympic heroes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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