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CITY TRIBUNE

Connacht looking to build both on and off the pitch

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Jack Carty says Connacht are expecting a step-up in physicality when they host Bordeaux-Begles in the Sportsground on Saturday.

Connacht will look to sustain their recent fine form – including a first win over Ulster in 58 years last weekend – when they host French Top 14 outfit Bordeaux-Begles in their European Challenge Cup opener at the Sportsground this Saturday (3pm).

No doubt, it has been a whirlwind week for Connacht rugby. First, Andy Friend’s charges broke a six-decade hex when ousting Ulster 22-15 in their provincial rivals’ backyard last Friday; before following this up with the announcement of a new €30 million redevelopment for the Sportsground on Monday.

This will consist of a new stand – which will include dressing rooms and corporate hospitality – and a new all-weather pitch. Planning permission for the redevelopment, taking the capacity of the Sportsground up to 12,000, is expected to be filed in the coming weeks.

Connacht out-half Jack Carty admits, on and off the field, there is a real buzz. “Yeah, it’s great. We were briefed on it [redevelopment] last week and everything has been really positive about it,” notes the Roscommon native. “Hopefully, I will still be around playing when it is there.

“We have kind of grown out of the place here and you can see that by the crowd numbers that were at the Leinster and Scarlets games. It was just a case that we needed something and we needed to get it out to the fans and get it out to people. We did that and everyone is really positive about it now.”

Indeed, between last weekend’s historic triumph and Monday’s announcement, Carty highlights it is “a great boost for everyone around the place”. It would be remiss not to allude to the victory over Ulster.

He says the most pleasing aspect of the win was the manner in which they went about their business on the night and, while he concedes it wasn’t the best attacking rugby they have played, Carty notes they were delighted to secure their victory on a strong defensive set-up.

“We went up to Ulster a couple of times [before] and played really good rugby and hadn’t even got a bonus point,” he remarks.

“So, to win in the manner we did – and the gritty performance that we gave – was probably something that was even better than going out and thrown the ball around and winning. So, we are really happy with it.”

Carty feels though that the team has been on “an upward trajectory” since the season began and, although disappointed with certain elements in their defeat to Leinster a fortnight ago aside, the squad still understood that they hadn’t played that badly against the top team in Europe.

Consequently, confidence remained relatively high in the camp ahead of the Ulster game.

“We didn’t speak about how we went up there [and lost to Ulster] in previous years. Fellows themselves would have had a knowledge that we went up there the last couple of years and that we had been there or thereabouts.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Plan for ‘world-class’ campus with potential for 10,000 jobs at Galway Airport

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From this week’s Galway CIty Tribune – A proposal to transform the former Galway Airport into a ‘world-class’ business and technology campus has been drawn up by Galway County Council – with the potential to create up to 10,000 jobs.

The plan, which was compiled as part of the Draft County Development Plan, proposes a multi-million-euro investment in the 115-acre site owned jointly by the County and City Councils.

According to the vision document, the airport site at Carnmore could become a key economic driver that would “attract and secure long-term investment in Galway and the western region, and underpin the development of the Galway Metropolitan Area”.

Among the sectors identified as potential occupants are renewable energy, biodiversity, food science and logistics.

Some of the structures included for are a ‘landmark building’; commercial units; park amenity and recreation space; a renewable energy park; and a multi-purpose leisure facility.

A contemporary development with the potential to accommodate emerging industries is promised, with projected employment numbers ranging between 3,500 to 10,000 over time.

However, county councillors raised concerns at a meeting this week that the proposal they had seen in the Development Plan had been ‘sitting on a shelf’ since last March – and they still hadn’t seen what was dubbed ‘the masterplan’ for the airport site.

Cllr Liam Carroll (FG) told the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District meeting that the recent news that Oranmore was among the locations being looked at by multinational tech giant, Intel, put fresh focus on the future of the airport.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Work expected to start on Galway City cycleways next summer

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The first six projects in the city’s major new cycle network are expected to begin construction by next June.

In an update on developments that are in train to improve the lot of cyclists, councillors at this week’s local authority meeting were told that the Martin Roundabout (near the Galway Clinic) would next be changed to a junction and the BusConnects, involving priority bus lanes from Moneenageisha to University Hospital Galway, were advancing.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has approved a raised cycle lane north of Railway Bridge on Doughiska Road South and for a shared street south of the bridge.

Eglinton Canal will turn into a shared cycle and pedestrian path. Four weeks of public consultation on both of these is set to begin in October, with the projects set to go to detailed design and tender following final NTA approval.

Ballybane, Castlepark and Bóthar Stiofáin Roads will also go to public consultation for “raised adjacent cycle schemes” a month after that.

The six projects are expected to begin construction by the end of June or early July next year.

Millars Lane is currently in preliminary design stage after clearing works were carried out last November.

Options are being examined and parking survey prepared for Threadneedle, Bishop O’Donnell, Dr Mannix, Devon Park, Salthill Road Upper and Lower Roads with input and designs from the Parkmore Strategic Framework awaited for the Monivea and Doughiska North Roads.

Active Travel Schemes had been approved in principle by the NTA for Ballyloughane and Clybaun South Roads, involving pedestrian crossings, traffic calming, signalisation of junctions and the integration of safe school routes.

Cllr John Connolly (FF) noted that the first quarter of 2021 was when some of these projects were to go to construction, according to a previous timetable.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Pamela’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Racecourse Park and Ride a non-runner for Christmas in Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The lack of a park and ride service this Christmas will drive shoppers out of town at a time when businesses are struggling to recover from months in lockdown, the Mayor has warned.

This is after it was revealed that the City Council has failed to secure an alternative location for the service – with its usual base at Galway Racecourse out of action due to the ongoing vaccination programme.

The service, which had previously operated for the three-week period in the run up to Christmas, enabled motorists to park their cars in Ballybrit and take a return trip by bus to town at a cost of just €2 – taking hundreds of cars out of the city centre.

The Mayor, Cllr Colette Connolly, said it was ‘completely ludicrous’ that it would not be in operation this year, in a city that was already gridlocked with car traffic.

“I think that it is a retrograde step not to proceed with the Christmas Park and Ride because we know what will happen – we’ve seen before what happens at the Corrib Centre around Christmas where traffic backs up and people get stuck in the car park,” said the Mayor.

This would result in shoppers from outside the city avoiding coming in, while others would go to other towns and cities to avoid traffic misery.

“They will go to Limerick or to Dublin, which is only two-and-a-half hours away. They will go to Athlone, because they may as well go there, rather than spend two hours sitting in traffic on Lough Atalia,” added the Independent councillor.

In Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath’s report to councillors, it is stated that “it is looking unlikely that Galway City Council will be able to run the Christmas Park and Ride in 2021”.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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