Date Published: 19-May-2011
at the sportsground
Connacht rugby took another major step forward at the Sportsground on Saturday as the Junior Inter-provincial squad did the unthinkable by completing a Grand Slam in comprehensive style against Munster.
Having promised a breakthrough at this grade for the previous two years, the 2011 crop delivered in some style this season with a bonus point win over Ulster, a ground breaking victory against Leinster in Donnybrook and the most controlled of final day performances against the men from Munster.
Playing against the wind in the first half, Connacht trailed 9-5 with captain and Monivea stalwart Kevin Higgins finishing off a try made by Paddy Pearson, Rory O’Connor and Tuam’s inspirational open side Mike Ward.
That set the tone for a hugely impressive second half display which combined smart tactical rugby with an explosive high tempo attack. It yielded 21 points without reply to seal the title which has eluded the province throughout its long history, and at times seemed like an impossible goal.
An uncoverted try from Mata Fafita put Connacht 10-9 up before Paddy Pearson stretched their lead with a penalty. From there on, there was no holding the home team as a try from Aaron Spring, a conversion asd a penalty from Pearson, and a penalty from reserve Ger O’Connor put the seal on mould-breaking triumph.
It is important to stress, however, that this wasn’t a major surprise. Since the 2009 campaign where only a last minute Leinster try in Navan stood between Seamus King’s men and outright victory, Connacht have been a major force in this competition. Last season saw them slip up again and this year really did have an all or nothing feel to it from the outset.
The outcome will force many to sit up and take note of the continuing progress of rugby in the province. The 2007 inter-provincial winning youths’ squad broke new ground when they won a first title, they won two more after that and a tone was set. Now the progress at Junior Club level is taking shape.
Despite being vastly outnumbered in terms of playing numbers, clubs and, as a result, resources, Connacht are producing players of the quality to match their neighbours. That is indicative of a province where rugby appears to be growing at a faster pace than anywhere.
The sum of all the parts doesn’t add up just yet but the numbers are looking good and Seamus King sees plenty of reason to be optimistic.
“It comes down to pride, the fact that we live in the outmost point of Europe has elements of the frontiers to it, but I’m so proud of our squad. It was tremendously difficult picking the 22 never mind the 15, there is so much talent available now. It’s not just the quality of player, it’s in the heart and head. They’re proud to be from where they are which makes this so great.”
What makes this competition so fascinating is the amateur element. It is the only level beyond underage where provincial honors can be won by no professionals and therefore the essence of the competition hasn’t changed since its inception in the late 60s.
Connacht have never won it for some straight forward reasons – they just didn’t have the resources, playing numbers, coaching and game to take on and beat all three provinces.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent
Date Published: 07-May-2013
A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.
That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.
The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.
Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.
Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.
Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.
A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.
Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.
Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.
Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.
Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action
Date Published: 12-May-2013
The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.
There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.
Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.
However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.
Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.