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Corofin unlikely to be caught napping by final newcomers

Stephen Glennon



Corofin’s Michael Farragher, in action against Tuam Stars' Conor Rhatigan, will be vital to the Galway champions' hopes of completing the provincial title four-in-a-row against Padraig Pearses of Roscommon on Sunday.

ALL-Ireland champions Corofin make their bid for a 10th Connacht title — and a seventh in 12 years — when they host Padraig Pearses of Roscommon in the provincial decider at Tuam Stadium on Sunday (2pm).

The dominant force inside and outside the county in recent years, Corofin enter Sunday’s clash as 1/6 on favourites, with the Roscommon men priced at 9/2. In other words, Kevin O’Brien’s charges have been nailed on to take the victory.

Certainly, their track record reinforces this view. Their last defeat in the Connacht series was way back in 2015, when they lost to Castlebar Mitchels, after which Corofin bounced back to claim the next three Connacht crowns.

In contrast, Padraig Pearses only won their first county championship — at their eighth attempt —l ast month while the county’s last success in this competition was when St. Brigid’s of Roscommon accounted for Mayo’s Ballaghaderreen, 2-12 to 0-6, in 2012 to complete the three-in-a-row.

Indeed, St. Brigid’s are the only Roscommon team to have appeared in the provincial final since, losing to Castlebar Mitchels in 2013 and to Corofin in 2016. In this time, Corofin’s record has been good against Roscommon teams, no more so than last year when they trounced Clann na nGael 4-22 to 0-7 in the semi-final.

Corofin’s supremacy in this competition has shown no sign of abating in 2019, underlined by their semi-final win over Mayo champions Ballintubber, who they defeated in last year’s decider, with Liam Silke scoring the only goal in their 1-10 to 0-11 victory a fortnight ago.

Interestingly, the Corofin side that lined out against Ballintubber boasted the same 15 that started in their 2-16 to 0-10 defeat of Dr. Crokes of Kerry in the All-Ireland club final back in March, which is a credit to the conditioning done and injury prevention measures taken by the backroom staff.

There was a number of positional switches, with Daithí Burke and Kieran Molloy swapping roles between the half-back line and midfield, and Michael Farragher moving to centre-forward and Jason Leonard reverting to a wing-forward berth.

A measure of the strength of Corofin is their bench, off which Galway U20 players Darragh Silke and Gavin Burke were introduced the last day, along with Colin Brady, Conor Cunningham and Ciaran McGrath. There was no game-time, however, for Galway U20 defender Ross Mahon, as he has been struggling to shake off an injury picked up in the county final.

That said, it just goes to show the strength in depth of the Corofin squad. “The panel is very important to us in these games, particularly this time of the year,” says Corofin boss O’Brien. “Everyone who has come in has contributed, and there are a lot of lads outside who are pushing as well. So, the competition for places is high. It is great.”

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

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Covid could leave Galway City Council with €25m budget hole

Stephen Corrigan



Shop STreet this week.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway City Council is facing into a “potential crisis scenario” with a forecasted €25 million black hole in its budget, unless the Government comes good on a promise to plug the gap left by Covid-19.

That’s according to City Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath who told councillors this week that the commercial rates waiver introduced by Government and a drop in income from goods and services provided by the local authority could slash their forecast annual revenue by 25%.

Mr McGrath said the last Government, when it introduced the rates waiver for cash-strapped businesses in March, had committed to €260 million to be put aside to bolster local authority finances, but no detail of how that will be rolled out had been provided.

“We are hoping as part of the July stimulus package, the new Government will give us the detail we so desperately need,” he said.

“Our rates standing orders have been wiped out to the tune of 90%.”

Tourism was crucial to the economic success of Galway, he continued, with approximately 80% of city businesses reliant on tourists to stay afloat.

“We have the highest percentage dependency of any local authority on rates from the tourism and hospitality sector,” said Mr McGrath.

It was for that reason that the Executive was seeking councillors’ approval to free up €485,000 of the so-called ‘Marketing Sinking Fund’ to finance a raft of tourism initiatives aimed at boosting the local economy by attracting domestic tourists as Covid-related restrictions are eased, in what Mr McGrath referred to as “temporary internal borrowing”.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, and more on the tourism promotion plans, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Seafront prom and new train station planned for Murrough

Dara Bradley



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A vision of a new urban district on GMIT lands at Murrough – including a seafront promenade and new train station – has been submitted to Government for funding approval.

Galway City Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath has outlined a plan to ‘leverage’ land and resources of the third level institute to create a new East City Urban District.

Mr McGrath has included the plans in an application for funding under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF).

The total value of the project would be €61 million, he said, which values the land at Murrough at about €14 million.

“We are seeking URDF investment to activate these sites as catalysts to boost population and economic output for the city and region,” Mr McGrath told city councillors.

He said that by leveraging the lands at GMIT, the Council was delivering on a target in the National Planning Framework 2040, which states there should be “special focus on capitalising on the potential of underutilised and publicly owned and centrally located sites”.

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

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Plans to double size of Galway City student complex

Enda Cunningham



A computer-generated image of how the new Cúirt na Coiribe would look.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The investment fund which owns the Cúirt na Coiribe student accommodation complex on the Headford Road is planning to more than double the number of bed spaces there to 920.

Exeter Property Group, one of the biggest property investment groups in the world, has applied to An Bord Pleanála for permission to demolish a two-storey building to the front of the development and to remove the existing fifth floor attic level from the next block.

The proposal involves extending upwards and outwards to create a total of 920 bed spaces in 868 bedrooms in a single building with nine linked blocks ranging from two to six storeys.

The project includes a gym/fitness studio in the basement, a games room, library/study spaces, café/restaurant and lounge spaces.

There will be 59 carparking spaces and 656 cycle spaces included. A total of 398 of the 405 existing bed spaces will be retained.

It is proposed that the existing bed spaces will retain their original planning permission which allows for short-stay lets throughout the year, and the additional 515 spaces would only be permitted to be used as short-stay lets during the summer months.

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

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