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CITY TRIBUNE

Connacht Head Coach Friend ups the ante for crucial clash with Gloucester

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Connacht's Colby Fainga’a and Conor Fitzgerald link up during Saturday's PRO14 encounter against the Southern Kings at the Sportsground. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

By Rob Murphy

CONNACHT supporters will try to revel in the moment for a long as possible this week. It’s all sweetness and light for those that follow rugby in the west as their team prepare for a trip to England to take on Gloucester at their famous Kingsholm venue on Sunday (kick off 1pm) in round three of the European Champions Cup.

There are plenty of challenges in the offing and uncertainty is a cornerstone of following a sporting team, but that is all the more reason to take a breath and pause when all is well in your world. Right now, things are better than they have been since the PRO12 title weekend in Edinburgh in 2016. Star players have re-signed, the team are competing at the highest level and the expansion plans at the Sportsground are in place.

Bundee Aki’s three and a half year contract extension is era defining. As a first centrally contracted player (which will have a host of side benefits on and off the field) it is the kind of long term commitment from a key player that just wouldn’t be possible without that international team element.

It sets a tone, one of the most iconic players ever to sign for the province has become a beacon for West of Ireland rugby, and an example of the benefits of bringing world class talent to the region and allowing them to flourish.

Kieran Marmion signed up a week before that, the 27 time capped scrum half is due back within the next week or two once his back injury clears up – he’ll be rearing to go, free of any off field concerns. Jared Butler, Tiernan O’Halloran, Tom Farrell and Sean O’Brien also signed in the past month with more to follow. It all serves to underline the upbeat move.

“It’s brilliant news, real sign of intent from Bundee Aki to sign for such a length and the same from the IRFU as well. It’s a compliment to the man and what he’s done and great for Connacht and the region to have a player of his calibre committing for another three and half years. It’s really positive.” noted head coach Andy Friend at the weekend.

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

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

CITY TRIBUNE

Missing man may be in Galway City

Enda Cunningham

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Gardaí in Cork believe that a man missing from Midleton since last week may be in Galway City. are renewing their appeal for assistance in locating 53-year-old French man Christophe Goutte, is missing from his home in O’Brien Terrace, Midleton since Wednesday 15th January.

From enquiries to date it is understood that Christophe took a bus from Cork Bus Station that Wednesday and disembarked at 5.35pm in Galway City. He is living in Ireland for a number of years.

Christophe was last seen leaving work in Carrigtowhill, Co. Cork at approximately 11am on Wednesday 15th.

He is described as being 5″ 8′ in height, of stocky build with brown short hair and white skin with a sallow complexion. When last seen he was wearing a black coat, black pants, a black woollen hat and a brown pair of boots, he was carrying a dark coloured overall bag.

Gardaí are particularly appealing to those in the Galway city or surrounding areas to report any recent sightings of Christophe.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact Cobh Garda Station on 021 – 4908530, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station

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CITY TRIBUNE

City Council planning €2.5m bailout for Galway 2020

Dara Bradley

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Galway City Council looks set to bail out Galway 2020 – with an additional grant of €2.5 million to cover the European Capital of Culture programming costs.

The local authority has already allocated €6 million for the project, which officially launches on Saturday, February 8, with an event in South Park, Claddagh.

But city councillors will be asked to approve a further €1.25 million in both 2021 and 2022, at a special meeting next Monday.

The city’s ratepayers may ultimately have to cover the extra costs. A 3% higher commercial rate, introduced in the build-up to this year, and retained in 2020 with agreement of business representatives, may be maintained into 2021 and 2022 if management City Hall has its way.

As well as having to find €2.5 million extra for Galway 2020, Chief Executive of the City Council, Brendan McGrath, will ask councillors to sanction a grant of €80,000 to Druid Theatre for a production it is planning for March of this year, which was not part of the original Galway 2020 programme.
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Holders Rangers advance but Mervue Utd crash out

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Geoffrey Power scored twice for Connacht Junior Cup defending champions, Corrib Rangers, in their 4-2 win over MCR of Sligo.  

Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

The returning Geoffrey Power was to the forefront for Corrib Rangers as the Connacht Junior Cup holders got the defence of their title off to a winning start in Drom on Sunday afternoon with a victory over Sligo visitors, MCR.

Salthill Devon, West United, Maree/Oranmore, East United and Hibernians also all advanced with different degrees of comfort, but there was a big shock as Mervue United suffered a three-goal hammering away against Manulla; while Knocknacarra, Renmore and Merlin Woods/Medtronic also all exited the competition in competitive games.

CONNACHT JUNIOR CUP

Corrib Rangers 4

MCR 2

The break-up of Brendan O’Connor’s Connacht Junior Cup winning side happened probably somewhat faster than the manager might have expected, but the return of Geoffrey Power at the weekend was a huge bonus as the striker contributed two goals as well as lifting a side that just seven months ago won the most coveted trophy in the province.

In a game switched to Drom because their own grounds at Westside are closed, the home side made the perfect start when Power got on the end of a long ball from Sean Keogh and drilled low shot into the corner.

However, the advantage was rather short-lived as a Keith Nibbs header levelled matters; before another set piece goal gave Rangers a 2-1 interval advantage as Stephen Gilmore got on the end of a Mark Wynne free kick to head home.

The Sligo visitors were displaying plenty of ability and they levelled matters for the second time when Ciaran Harvey applied the finish on this occasion with another header to tie up matters at 2-2 on the hour mark.

In a contest in which numerous opportunities were created at both ends, it was Rangers who regained the advantage when Paul Smith linked up with Keogh before slotting home to make it 3-2.

Rangers goalkeeper Shane Richardson continued to play his part with some smashing saves, and as the game entered the final minute, it was Power who again applied the finish that sealed the win and will also act as a confidence booster for a side struggling somewhat in the Premier League.

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

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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