THE storms have passed and the damage is far from terminal. Connacht are starting to find their feet again after an overwhelming run of injuries and challenging fixtures had threatened to derail their season. A not far off full strength side took to the field at the Sportsground on Saturday and patiently took apart a patched up Cardiff Blues outfit to secure a bonus point victory and a first ever blank scoresheet at the venue in this competition.
At the helm were the brilliant half back pairing of Kieran Marmion and Jack Carty – the first time they had started a game together at the Sportsground since September 2018. A combination of regular international involvement and injuries at different junctures meant their paths rarely crossed in that period. On Saturday evening as the winds and rain eased for a few hours, they reminded everyone why they are both elite international players with a display of poise and class.
This was by far the best display of a difficult season so far for the men from the west. The run of 13 consecutive games in Europe and Inter-provincial between November and January had left Andy Friend’s side out of Europe and outside the play off positions in the PRO14 as well. Needing at least seven wins from their final 11 games, this contest – against a conference rival – was a must win and the attitude was right from the start.
Missing just Bundee Aki and Quinn Roux from what would be their full starting line up, they had the advantage. Cardiff had three involved with Wales the previous week in Dublin and four more key men out through injury, so down seven, but hardly devoid of serious talent either, they came to Galway needing a dogged defensive effort.
The Blues delivered in defence in that first quarter, with Olly Robinson twice turning over possession in his own 22 and their scrum winning two early penalties. Connacht came at them in waves but could only manage three points from the boot of Carty in the fifth minute. The patience and poise demonstrated, however, meant they didn’t lose their shape and kept plugging away, laying the groundwork for the four tries to follow.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
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City Council’s conference call ‘eavesdropper’
Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column by Dara Bradley
Galway City Council, like the rest of us, is adapting to the new reality of life under Covid-19 restrictions.
There haven’t been any face-to-face City Council meetings, be they full meetings or committee meetings, since the crisis really hit.
But that doesn’t mean elected members and management are twiddling their thumbs. Far from it – they’re busier than ever, just a different sort of busy.
Last Wednesday evening, city councillors held a conference call with Chief Executive Brendan McGrath.
Members of his management team were also involved in the meeting, which was conducted using technology that allows people to ‘attend’ a meeting online from the comfort of their own homes.
Each member is invited to the virtual meeting through a link sent to their email account. They click into this and then they are ‘in’ the meeting and can speak and see the others, also attending remotely.
A reliable deep-throat who participated in Wednesday’s chat informs us that the meeting had to be stopped – at the behest of McGrath – and restarted, over fears someone was eavesdropping.
The suspicion is that the link to join the meeting was sent to someone it shouldn’t have been, and this person attempted to listen in.
“Brendan halted the meeting and we had to hang up and start again because a mystery man was listening-in on the teleconference. It was hacked but Brendan has the number and can find out who it was,” said one source.
If the standard of debate at the tele-conference was anything like some of the drivel you can get at some ordinary Council meetings, then the conference-blocked hacker didn’t miss much!
For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune
Salthill’s ‘Heart of Hope’ a beacon of light for frontline workers
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A giant illuminated heart has been erected on the Big Wheel at Curry’s Funpark in Leisureland as a poignant symbol of hope and expression of gratitude for the country’s healthcare workers.
Last month, preparations got underway to set up the fun fair, but it became yet another casualty of Covid-19. Owner Owen Curry got to work on constructing a blue ‘Heart of Hope, An Croí Gorm’ with LED lights to attach to the 120-foot wheel overlooking the Prom.
Together with his crew, and respecting the rules of social distancing, he had the heart in place on the axle of the Big Wheel within a day.
“I wanted to do something, to say to the doctors, nurses, first responders, lab technicians and everybody working in the health service how grateful we are for their incredible dedication and courage in the current crisis.
“When the other lights on the Big Wheel are switched off, the heart emits a glow and appears to float in mid air over the Prom,” he said.
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ICU consultant reveals intensive planning ahead of peak Covid demand
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A consultant in critical care at Galway’s biggest hospital has assured the public that there is still significant capacity for very ill patients fighting Covid-19.
But to help University Hospital Galway best cope with the expected surge in numbers within the next two weeks, Consultant Intensivist John Bates has pleaded with the public to follow the strict public health guidelines about staying at home.
“There’s been a lot going on – a lot of retraining, a lot of redeployment, a lot of up-equipping. We normally have twelve ventilator beds and we’re up to 24 at this stage and have significant capacity. We’re working to get beyond that but we certainly have capacity at the moment,” he told the Galway City Tribune.
Asked if the hospital would be able to cope with the peak of the pandemic – tipped to hit in the next fortnight – he said there were no guarantees.
“It depends on the size of the surge. We can’t say for sure how big the surge will be. It’s a new disease and models of how it will go are different – in some we will be okay and others we will struggle,” Dr Bates said.
“The curve appears to be flattening. Dublin is starting to come under pressure accessing critical care beds. It’s likely we will at some stage here too. But we have good capacity at this stage.”
The number of healthcare workers who will likely be affected by the pandemic has been factored into the hospital’s readiness plans. In China, ten per cent of critical care staff were out of action while in Italy it has reached 20 per cent.
Despite the high risks facing hospital staff, Dr Bates believes morale at UHG is good.
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