AN opportunity lost. Seems harsh to say that but Connacht came away from a rainy afternoon in the Stade Ernest Wallon with a fairly resounding loss that didn’t come close to reflecting the story of the game on Saturday.
A losing bonus point would have been hugely significant but decision making, poise under pressure and raw power remain a major issue in big games like this for the men from the west, and all of those factors came to the fore in the closing stages here.
There’s no doubt that there are a lot of positives to take away from a performance where Connacht led by a point after 50 minutes at the home of the current French champions and against a team packed full of former and current internationals – especially, when you consider the list of absentees from the visiting squad included Bundee Aki, Denis Buckley and Kieran Marmion among others. So, this was a fine effort and certainly isn’t a setback in the overall sense.
Yet even though Andy Friend’s key line for the post game media was that the performance and the last two weeks have served to underline why Connacht belong at the elite level of European rugby, you have got to believe that he and his management team were also privately seething at some of the mistakes in the closing quarter of the contest. Mistakes, that saw the Westerners concede 14 points – including a bonus point fourth try – and left them without a point to show for their endeavour.
The stakes are high right now for Connacht, staying in the hunt for a play-off place in the PRO14 and reaching the quarter finals of the Champions Cup requires big wins against elite sides over the next eight weeks. They will need to beat Gloucester, Munster and Toulouse at home and win away to one of Montpellier and Gloucester. That’s just to stay on track. Big teams, with big budgets and powerful international class players. There would be no great shame in losing to each of them.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
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Council on standby for Storm Jorge flooding
Galway City Council crews will be on standby from Saturday afternoon as Storm Jorge is set to hit the West coast, bringing very strong winds, rain and potential for flooding.
The Council’s Severe Weather Assessment Team met today and will be holding meetings tomorrow and Saturday to monitor the weather forecast and put in place a plan to deal with any potential flooding or wind damage.
Storm Jorge – which was named by Spanish meteorological services and adopted by Met Éireann and the UK’s Met Office to avoid confusion – will see a Status Orange wind warning in place from 6am Saturday to 3am Sunday. A Status Yellow rain warning will be in place in Galway from midnight tonight until midnight Saturday.
The storm will bring southwest, veering west and later northwest winds with means speeds of 65-80km/h and gusts of 110-130km/h.
Rainfall accumulations of 20 to 30mm are expected and Met Éireann has warned of an increased risk of coastal flooding.
The City Council will have crews on standby from 2pm on Saturday and will close the two public carparks in Salthill if it is considered necessary.
Gardaí issue warning on ‘movie money’
Gardaí have warned of an increase in ‘novelty’ euro notes – which are almost identical to real currency – in circulation.
The notes are usually marked ‘movie money’ or ‘prop money’, but this can often go unnoticed by the person handling it. They do not have any security features.
Revenue Officers have seized notes in varying denominations representing a value of €430,895 in recent mail centre detections.
Detective Superintendent Michael Cryan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said: “People need to be aware that such notes exist and at busy times, especially late at night, they need to exercise a little care and attention.
“These notes are easily identifiable if precautionary checks are made. Also people who try to tender such notes as real face prosecution, a possible prison sentence and a conviction, which is for life. Such convictions have serious ramifications if one wanted to travel, to work in certain sectors and it can affect their credit rating”.
“We advise businesses and members of the public who deal in cash to be aware that such notes are in circulation and take appropriate precautionary measures. Business owners should ensure staff members handling cash are alerted to watch out for these fraudulent notes.
“The use of fraudulent currency when trying to purchase goods or services is an offence under the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001 and carries a potential prison sentence of 10 years.
“These fraudulent notes should not be accepted as legal tender and any incidents of persons trying to pay with “prop money” should be reported to Gardaí immediately,” said Det Supt Cryan.
Fire at site of former Corrib Great Southern Hotel
Emergency services are at the scene of a large fire at the site of the former Corrib Great Southern Hotel which broke out in the early hours of this morning.
Four units of the Galway Fire and Rescue Service were called to the former hotel near GMIT at 5.45am. A unit from Athenry is also in attendance at the scene.
Fire fighters are maintaining a presence at the derelict hotel, which has been the scene of a number of arson attacks over the past number of years.