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CITY TRIBUNE

Connacht left with ground to make up after fixtures chaos

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Connacht prop Paddy McAllister who warns that they have to take advantage of opponents more affected by international call-ups over the coming weeks.

By Rob Murphy

PREVIEWS of Connacht games are full of uncertainties at the best of times but these days, the actual possibility of the game taking place is the primary one. For two weeks on the bounce now. Andy Friend’s side have had fixtures called off late in the week. It started with their home clash with Benetton at the start of this month and continued with last weekend’s fixture with the Dragons.

Connacht are now due to face the Scarlets at the Sportsground on Saturday evening (7:30) in round six of league action and for the moment at least, signs are good that this one will go ahead. We’ve said that before. Covid-19 precautions have been impressive across the various international organising bodies involved in the PRO14, so if these problems prove anything, it is that keeping 100% clear of all of this is next to impossible.

Taking decisive action when the virus comes knocking on the door, however, is another story and the league has come out well in that regard. Both Benetton and the Dragons have been quick to deal with issues and avoid causing a further outbreak in opposition teams. They each have had two games postponed this month.

Connacht will have to make up those games later in the year. Fixture congestion is a small price to play in the name of safety and ahead of Saturday’s return to action, head coach Andy Friend was unflustered by all the disruption.

“It is what it is, We can’t control that.” said Friend. “We had a good ‘in-house’ game last Saturday in lieu of the Dragons game. There’s frustration when you hear the news but that lasted an afternoon and no longer, the positives then came into focus. We have an additional week of prep to get ready for our next opposition and that’s what we’ve done each week,” said Friend.

So the Scarlets will arrive in Galway without a large group of key Welsh internationals and on a below par run of form that has seen them lose three of their first five. They had to rely on a late Angus O’Brien penalty to scrape past Zebre 18-17 at home last Sunday having given up a 12 point lead over the course of the contest.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Party-goers in Galway hit with Covid fines

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway’s most senior Garda has issued a renewed appeal this week for young people to desist from organising or attending any house parties as the local Covid-19 situation worsens – last week Gardaí were called to break up a number of gatherings in different parts of the city.

A total of 15 people were found to be attending one house party in the Salthill area last weekend while Gardaí were called to two other smaller gatherings – one in the Doughiska area and the other in Rahoon.

Cautions and Fixed Payment Notices (fines) were issued to a number of those involved. This week, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley has pleaded with young people ‘to stay away at all costs’ from such gatherings.

“We have very high Covid incidence rates in the Galway area over the past week; death rates from the disease are at their highest ever level; and the last thing we need now is groups of people coming together in confined settings.

“If one person has Covid at such a gathering then, in all probability, most others there will pick it up too and spread it their contacts and family members. I am pleading for people just not to do this.

“We are entering into our most critical period in trying to contain the spread of Covid-19, with the next month or so absolutely vital in our efforts to keep everyone healthy and safe and to try and avoid further loss of life,” he said.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Community gives new lease of life to Merlin allotments

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – In 2018, the allotments in Merlin Woods were in danger of falling by the wayside, with declining numbers and underuse blighting a facility that had huge potential.

Since then, the community has pulled together to create a space that locals are proud of and one that its advocates are hoping could be a template for other communities across the city.

Chairperson of the Committee behind this new lease of life is Michael Tully, who says the allotments have become a focal point for area, bringing together locals from all walks of life.

“It’s all about netting the community together and the response we’re getting has been unbelievable,” says Michael, who joined the committee in 2018.

“I started off as a user of Merlin Woods, walking by the allotments and thinking to myself that it would be great to grow my own fruit and veg.

“I started talking to a few of the plot-holders like John Rabbitte, Martin Lohan, Jim McCormack and Daithí O’Brien and they told me how to apply. I applied to the City Council and got my allotment in early 2018 and there were about eight allotments in use at that stage, all of us working away on our own.”

Two years later, all 42 allotments are in use, but it took the cooperation of Galway City Council and Trojan work from the community to get it to this point, explains Michael.

“We came down here every Saturday to clear the paths, dig out the weeds and make the place better. The sense of community was unbelievable. Anyone who couldn’t dig was bringing down flasks of tea and cakes to those that were,” he laughs.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

National Transport Authority to progress Galway’s Park and Ride

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A dedicated unit established within the National Transport Authority will look at the potential of Park and Ride to help solve Galway City’s traffic congestion problem.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, said that Park and Ride facilities should not be restricted to the east, and sites needed to be located to the west and north-west to take account of commuters from Connemara.

Mr McGrath said Park and Ride would be advanced this year as part of the Galway Transport Strategy. He said that the Council, in conjunction with the dedicated unit within the NTA, would investigate feasible sites for the location of Park and Ride facilities.

Mr McGrath said that site selection and acquisition of land could commence in the second quarter of this year. He said he expected that Park and Ride would be progressed well before the Galway City Ring Road was built.

Director of Services for Transport, Ruth McNally, also said that the NTA was looking at the potential of sites in the city for Park and Ride and she insisted that money – or a lack of it – was not halting progress.

“Money is not a major issue for capital projects,” she said.

They were responding at Monday’s City Council meeting to councillors who lamented the slow progress on developing Park and Ride.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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