Date Published: 27-Apr-2011
The report card on Connacht’s season will wait for another two weeks but this game told us a lot about where the province stands after year one of the Eric Elwood era. Ulster’s class and experience told in the final 10 minutes here, but a ferocious display from the visiting pack at Ravenhill will have given the Westerners hope.
Overall, the report card will probably show that Elwood’s men are progressing in areas where they had been stuck in neutral for years. That’s good, they have jumped one place on last year in the table and the average tries for and against have both improved considerably. A bucket load of hard earned bonus points and a competitive edge in every game all adds up to hope.
Yet this game also showed the negatives, the lack of depth in key positions, the significant loss that some of the leaving stars will be, especially Hagen at tighthead. In the backline, Connacht haven’t moved forward enough, and Troy Nathan’s selection at 12 continues to baffle most observers as while he’s as committed and honest as you could hope for, he struggles to impose himself in the role.
Yet overall there is a feeling that Connacht are ‘fronting-up’ and the confidence in the camp is higher than ever before. They were hammered on their last two visits to Belfast but on this occasion they were the better team for an hour. The missing link seems to be that bit more depth in the squad and that comes down to resources.
Ulster exploded out of the blocks and struck first with a great try from Rory Best. After a good drive from Jerry Cronin, Humphreys passed back inside to set Adam D’Arcy away. The full back drew the cover and supplied Cave who did likewise to allow Rory Best score under the posts. Humphreys added the extras.
The response from Connacht was hugely encouraging as they didn’t let such a simple blow set them back. They answered by winning the restart and setting up an attack that led to a well struck drop goal from Ian Keatley.
Thoughts from the home side that an easy afternoon was in store were dissipating although they were almost in for a second try only for Humphreys’ kick through to be charged down by Mike McCarthy. Fionn Carr almost broke clear when he collected the rebound only for Darren Cave to make a vital and probably try saving tackle as the Connacht winger had an open field to attack.
Dan McFarland will be especially pleased with counter-rucking of the Connacht pack throughout the first half and one such example resulted in a penalty which Keatley was unable to convert from long range.
The Connacht pack were well on top in the first half, the excellent Johnny O’Connor and man-of-the-match McCarthy led the way while the return of John Muldoon was having an impact. Their hard work created another half chance which ended with Nathan’s cross-kick to Eoin Griffin which was asking a little much of the winger.
Niva Ta’auso picked up an eye injury soon after and while he was down injured Ulster crafted a score out of nothing in a virtual length-of-the-field move. The 42 time South African capped Ruan Pienaar took a quick tap from a penalty in Ulster’s 22 and his break led to Humphreys skinning Cronin just over half way with the pass releasing D’Arcy to run in with Humphreys converting.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Retail industry trade body welcomes B&Q announcement
Date Published: 07-May-2013
Retail Excellence Ireland, the country’s largest retail industry trade body, has welcomed the news that 60 jobs have been saved at the city branch of B&Q.
It’s after the home improvements store successfully exited examinership.
Under the scheme, 2.4 million euro is to be invested by parent company Kingfisher plc, and B and Q will continue to trade at eight stores
This means 640 jobs have been saved nationwide, including 60 at the outlet in Knocknacarra.
However, David Fitzsimons of Retail Excellence Ireland says landlords need to be willing to help out smaller retailers too.
Foundation reports nine Galway heart deaths each week
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Nine people die in Galway every week from heart disease and stroke.
That’s according to the Irish Heart Foundation, which is launching its Happy Hearts Appeal today. (9/5)
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, launched the appeal today to help raise funds for the charity, which has seen increasing demand on its patient services.
The Foundation says it needs to raise at least half a million euro to maintain existing information services.
Call to tackle delays at Oranmore rail crossing
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Concerns have been raised over traffic delays at the railway crossing in Oranmore.
Councillor Jim Cuddy says he has received many representations from local motorists who have been experiencing extended delays.
He says the closed barrier can sometimes cause a traffic tailback as far as the roundabout near the Maldron hotel.
Cllr Cuddy has brought the matter to the attention of Iarnrod Eireann and has asked for an explanation as to why the crossing is closed for so long.