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CITY TRIBUNE

Connacht’s disjointed show spells end of Euro Cup hopes

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Connacht scrum half Kieran Marmion scoring a first half try against Gloucester in Saturday's European Challenge Cup semi-final at the Sportsground. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Connacht 28

Gloucester 33

THE message is muddled at the moment. On the face of it, Connacht lost a rugby game on Saturday and exited a European competition at the quarter final stage. They lost to a good side from England that had more power, guile and accuracy when the game was in the balance and they could have few quibbles with the idea that Gloucester are simply a better team. However that is only scratching the surface of this story.

Head coach Kieran Keane felt far from despondent after the game and listed character, effort, teamwork and their ability to problem solve as key reasons for his positive mood. He spoke of it having been a great occasion, he highlighted his team’s naivety at key moments but stressed that he looks at a performance like this and feels as though he has something to work with for the future. His message to the fans was for them to “hang in there, it is going to happen, stay the course”.

The striking post game media huddle only served to underline how confused the Connacht project is right now. The PRO14 campaign has seen a major regression, just six wins from 18 outings. Europe offered hope but a pool with three struggling opponents proved far too easy and created a false impression that Connacht were contenders. Shipping four tries to a slightly above average Premiership side at home would confirm that they are not.

The face of this team always seems to be the coach, from Warren Gatland to Michael Bradley and from Eric Elwood to Kieran Keane with one Pat Lam in between. No one can say for sure that the ship can’t be righted in the next 12 months and it is quite possible that the highly regarded New Zealander is, right now, half way through a rejuvenation project that will bring long-lasting consistency to the team.

He seems to believe he has what it takes. Yet when he arrived in the summer of last year having left his long standing and successful assistant position with the Chiefs (the Hamilton based Super Rugby franchise) to take up his first ever elite level head coaching slot in the West of Ireland, there was no message of rejuvenation or rebuilding from the top table at the media conference that include Keane and his new boss Willie Ruane.

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

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Council rows back on ‘reduced delays’ projections for Kirwan junction

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists have described it as ‘a disaster’ and a former mayor has said the project gave very poor value for money, but Galway City Council have this week asked the public to be patient with the revamped Kirwan junction, close to the Menlo Park Hotel.

Since the four-arm signalled junction opened early last week, motorists have complained of traffic queues stretching back to the Quincentenary Bridge and Corrib Park.

And now the Council has rowed back on its consultants’ claims that the junction would increase capacity by 15% and reduce waiting times by 25%.

Former mayor and local taxi driver, Cllr Frank Fahy, told the Galway City Tribune that given the negative impact of the junction on traffic, the €5 million spent on the project represented ‘very poor value’ as regards taxpayers’ money.

“I will admit that the junction is now safer for pedestrians in that they can hit a button to give them a safe crossing, but since it opened there have some very serious traffic tailbacks,” said Cllr Fahy.

However, City Council Acting Director of Services for Transport, Uinsinn Finn, told the Galway City Tribune that the new junction needed time to ‘bed in’ with a familiarisation process.

“The main objectives of this project were to make far safer for pedestrians and cyclists to negotiate, as well as making it safer for motorists too, without impacting [negatively] on the traffic flow,” said Mr Finn.

He added that since it opened – and over the coming few weeks – data on all aspects of how the junction was functioning would be compiled which could involve changes to light sequencing, lanes and peak traffic flows.

One motorist who contacted this newspaper said that the daily “nightmare” journey from the Barna Road to the Headford Road during the morning peak traffic time had added up to 40 minutes to his journey time.

“The two lanes are regularly gridlocked from the junction, back the N6, over the Quincentenary Bridge and back to Corrib Park.

“In the mornings, it’s now easier to go down Taylor’s Hill and into town, past Eyre Square and up Bohermore to get down to the Headford Road.

Councillors were told by consultants in 2017 and again in 2018 – when they voted to proceed with the changeover to a junction – that average delays would be reduced by 25% and junction capacity would increase by 15%.
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

Man hospitalised following Eyre Square assault

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Gardaí have appealed to the public for information into an assault in Eyre Square last weekend which led to a young man being hospitalised.

The victim of the assault – a man in his early 20s from the city area – suffered a cut to his knee and may have had a substance sprayed towards his eyes.

Following the incident – that occurred close to the Eyre Square taxi rank shortly after midnight on Saturday night last – the victim was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Galway.

It is understood that the victim was released later that morning and has made a full recovery. This week, Gardaí are poring over CCTV footage in an effort to try and identify the perpetrators of the assault.

The assailants are understood to have fled on foot after the incident towards St Patrick’s Avenue on the east side of Eyre Square.

A Garda spokesperson has appealed for anyone who was in the vicinity of the taxi rank on Eyre Square between 12 midnight and 12.30am on the Sunday morning (Saturday night) of July 25 last, and who may have witnessed the incident to contact them.

(Photo: the assailants fled on foot towards St Patrick’s Avenue off Eyre Square)
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

Council turns down controversial phone mast plan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Galway City Council has refused an application by Eircom to erect a 12-metre telecoms mast in a housing estate in Knocknacarra.

The local authority turned down the company’s application for planning permission to install the structure in the heart of Drom Óir over concerns that it would create a visual obstruction in a residential area – and would have a detrimental impact on property prices.

Eircom had also sought retention to keep a concrete foundation for the mast in situ after it was forced to abandon works earlier this year, amid protests from residents in Drom Óir and Leitir Burca. This was also rejected.

City planners issued the company with a warning letter in April to cease works after contractors on site drew the ire of nearby residents, who accused Eircom of seeking to install the mast ‘by stealth’.

A total of 26 letters of objection were submitted to the Council from residents of the two estate.
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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