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Galway Bay FM News Archives

Connacht handed baptism of fire in the Heineken Cup

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Date Published: 09-Jun-2011

Dara Bradley

Four times winners of the Heineken Cup and current French champions, Toulouse. Two times winners and current holders of the Amlin Challenge Cup, Harlequins. Former Amlin Challenge Cup Winners and Aviva Premiership semi-finalists this year, Gloucester. Add Connacht, the so-called ‘poor relation’ of Irish rugby, to complete Pool 6 of the Heineken Cup for the 2011/2012 season.

Fans and all involved with the province must have been pinching themselves when they learned Connacht were in such illustrious company after the draw was made on Tuesday afternoon.

Given the strength of the pool challengers, it’s not surprising that the westerners, in their inaugural season in the premier competition in European club rugby union, have been installed as 500/1 rank outsiders to lift the cup and are 33/1 to qualify for the quarter-final stages, according to local bookmaker John Mulholland. In truth, those odds would probably be the same no matter what group the first-timers were drawn in.

In terms of getting to the knock-out stages – or even winning a game or picking up losing bonuses – Connacht are faced with a mammoth task but for getting ‘bums on seats’ at the Sportsground and creating a buzz about rugby in the west, the draw couldn’t have been kinder.

 

The French aristocrats will be a real crowd puller while renewing hostilities with Harlequins, a side that Connacht famously defeated 23-18 in the semi-final home leg of the European Challenge Cup (they lost the away leg by a bigger margin and the English outfit advanced) in 2004, and who they have met on several occasions since, should also prove intriguing. Gloucester were in Galway last season for a friendly but this will be the first competitive fixture between the sides.

All three matches will surely be sell-outs, with world class internationals gracing the Sportsground, and already the Connacht Branch are reporting a huge upsurge in sales of season tickets – the main selling point now is Connacht will host the winners of the Heineken Cup in the last four years (Leinster, Toulouse and Munster) at College Road next season.

“It’s a great draw, an absolute dream draw. It’s very exciting, not just for the management and players but also for the fans,” Connacht head coach, Eric Elwood told Tribune Sport.

Really? When Toulouse were drawn from the hat, did he not – just for a second – think ‘oh no’?

“No, I didn’t mind who we got to be honest and I’m happy with the draw. These three teams present great challenges but we also see it as a great opportunity now that we are finally in the Heineken Cup – there are more positives than negatives in this draw.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Galway Bay FM News Archives

Retail industry trade body welcomes B&Q announcement

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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.

 

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Galway Bay FM News Archives

Foundation reports nine Galway heart deaths each week

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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.

 

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Galway Bay FM News Archives

Call to tackle delays at Oranmore rail crossing

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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.

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