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Connacht looking to build both on and off the pitch

Stephen Glennon



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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Swimmer rescued in Salthill by Galway Lifeboat crew

Enda Cunningham



Galway RNLI Lifeboat rescued a swimmer who got into difficulty near Blackrock this afternoon in poor weather conditions.

The alarm was raised at 12.25pm by a pedestrian who saw the woman struggling in the water between Blackrock and Ladies Beach. The Irish Coast Guard sought the assistance of the RNLI Lifeboat who launched from Galway Docks a short time later.

The woman who was a couple of hundred metres from the shore opposite the Galway Bay Hotel.  They took the woman on board and brought her back to the Lifeboat Station where an ambulance was waiting. Paramedics assessed the woman’s condition and she was allowed home a short time later.

Shane Folan, Deputy Launch Authority with Galway Lifeboat said: “We would advise anyone thinking of going swimming to let someone else know. Today, for example, there were very challenging weather conditions with high winds and breaking surf.”

The lifeboat volunteer crew on the call-out were: David Badger (Helmsman), Martin Oliver, Ross Forde and James Rhattigan.

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Gardaí warn GMIT students about weekend travel as Covid numbers rise

Enda Cunningham



Students at GMIT have been warned by Gardaí that there will be checks at the bus and train stations to ensure compliance with the 5km travel rule – as the HSE warned today of increasing numbers testing positive for Covid-19 in the Galway City student outbreaks.

The college emailed all students to inform them that management had a meeting with Gardaí in relation to students planning on travelling home at weekends.

While students are permitted to travel to and from GMIT for educational purposes when there are onsite classes, there are no onsite classes scheduled at the moment and therefore there should not be any travel for educational purposes.

“The Gardaí have notified us that there will be checks at the bus and train stations to implement the 5km travel rule, as well as checkpoints on the roads, and that fines will be given for any non-compliance with this rule,” the email reads.

Meanwhile students at the college were also told that following the Covid outbreak last week among GMIT students, numbers are still increasing.

“The HSE informs us that numbers testing Covid positive continue to rise,” the email reads.

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Help local charities by sharing your pandemic feelings

Dara Bradley



Donncha Foley at the Galway Volunteer Centre.

The public has been invited to write down and share with others their experience of living in Galway through the global Coronavirus pandemic.

‘Three Questions’, an initiative spearheaded by Galway Volunteer Centre, wants people of all ages and backgrounds to log their thoughts and feelings on the past year living with the reality of Covid-19.

The project aims are twofold: to develop a written archive of the memories of Galway people from the past 12 months but also the act of writing down those memories can act as a sort of therapeutic exercise for the public.

People are being asked to divulge their memories by answering three questions: what was your biggest challenge in the past year; what was the biggest lesson you have learned in the past year; and can you think of someone or something you are grateful for over the past 12 months and why?

The collection of people’s written memories will form an archive that will benefit all, but the individual act of writing down memories is also beneficial to the person who takes part, explained Donncha Foley, Manager of Galway Volunteer Centre.

“There’s a lot of science behind this in that there’s a lot of evidence to show that reflecting on the past and learning from it is of great benefit from a mental health perspective and personal development and also the idea of showing gratitude to somebody else has huge mental health benefits as well,” he said.

Mr Foley said what is unique about Covid-19 is that everybody has been impacted by it, and everyone has a memory of it.

“Some changes have been very dramatic for some people, for others maybe not so much but everybody has been affected in some way. There are very few opportunities to meet up and talk about the challenges of the last year, and from a mental health perspective we feel it would be useful for people to use this initiative to think about what’s happened over the last 12 months,” he said.

The project is part of the Keep Well campaign launched by Government and funded through Healthy Ireland and Pobal.

People who respond to the initiative are asked to nominate a local charity or community group and there are two prizes of €500 up for grabs for those organisations if your memories are chosen as the winner.

Submissions will be reviewed by Galway Volunteer Centre and a selection will be published – with permission of the participants – on social media and in the Galway City Tribune.

“We’re hoping that we gather enough so that people can look at other people’s experiences and get their perspectives on the year and see that many people have had the same challenges.

“The phrase that has been used often is that ‘we’re all in this together’ and this is an opportunity to reflect together while still maintaining social distancing,” Mr Foley said.

Applications are available in this week’s Galway City Tribune, and can be returned to Volunteer Galway, 27 William Street West, Galway.  To submit your answers online, visit the centre’s website.

The deadline for submissions is March 9, and there is no word count limit – contributions can be long or short. Entrants must include contact details.

(Photo: Donncha Foley of Galway Volunteer Centre)

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