Galway man Liam Moloney is one of the biggest Countdown fans ever.
As soon as St Joseph’s ‘The Bish’ bell rang out signalling the end of school every afternoon, Liam would leg it home to Renmore to make it in time for the 4.30pm start of the popular letters and numbers quiz programme with the distinctive signature tune.
And so when the now 37-year-old city man made it onto the live shows of the Channel 4 game show over the past week, where he has stunned viewers with his performance, it was a “dream come true”.
Liam is well known as a friendly bar man in city pubs including Taffee’s, King’s Head and the former Living Room, where he worked for 16 years up until 2012.
Now employed at medical device company, Lake Region Medical in Parkmore, Liam’s face was on television screens in all of his former workplaces since last Wednesday, as the ‘regulars’ were glued to his Countdown performances.
Kennedy’s in Eyre Square have even been showing delayed screenings of his daily exploits at 9pm; and he’s on again the show today (Thursday) for his seventh appearance.
“Countdown was always a big one in our house . . . I’d stop short of saying I’m fanatical about it but there’s often been times I’d spend six or seven hours playing it on the phone,” says the affable Renmore native.
His siblings, like him, are all fans of the show, including sister Celia, who is in Dublin, and brothers Diarmuid, who is in Galway, and Conor and Fergal in New York, as are his parents, Geraldine and Dermot.
Diarmuid, he says, “is good at the numbers”, and Fergal, “he’s good with the conundrums”.
Liam, it seems, is good at all three conundrums, letters and letters, judging by his displays so far.
Yesterday (Wednesday), he won his sixth game, and since last week, Liam broke the highest score so far this season, with a tally of 118. He then went and broke his own record, with another season best of 121 points.
On several occasions he beat Susie Dent in the ‘dictionary corner’; and presenter Nick Hewer and his assistant Rachel Riley both remarked about his natural Countdown ability, particularly the numbers game.
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Two arrested following taxi hijacking in Galway
Gardaí have arrested two men following the hijacking of a taxi in Co Galway last night.
Shortly before midnight, Gardaí received a report that two men who were passengers in a taxi had attacked the driver and stole his vehicle.
The driver was ejected from the car on the M18 motorway.
Gardaí were alerted and observed the car in Claregalway.
A managed containment operation to ‘block in’ the taxi was put in place with assistance from the armed Regional Support Unit.
The car was brought to a stop on Bothar na dTreabh and two men fled on foot. The two men, one in his mid-20s and the other in his early-30s, were subsequently arrested.
They are currently detained at Garda HQ in Renmore under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.
Man arrested after €90,000 drug seizure
Gardai have arrested a man after €90,000 worth of drugs were discovered in a bog near Ballinasloe.
As part of an ongoing surveillance operation, Gardai conducted a search in Poolboy Bog late yesterday afternoon.
They discovered €70,000 worth of cocaine, and a further €20,000 worth of cannabis along with other drug equipment.
A man in his 20s was arrested at the scene and taken to Ballinasloe Garda Station.
He’s since been charged and will appear before Ballinasloe District Court next Thursday.
Waiting lists surge since pandemic
Waiting lists at Galway hospitals have rocketed since the onset of Covid-19, with fears that the situation will only worsen as doubts have been cast over the long-awaited new elective hospital at Merlin Park.
Figures released from the National Treatment Purchase Fund, which covers the cost of outsourcing public patients to private hospitals, show that since 2020, waiting lists locally have surged by almost 25%.
Galway City Councillor Níall McNelis said statistics obtained by the Labour Party showed the numbers waiting for inpatient and outpatient treatment were ever increasing, and little was being done to address the problem.
“Waiting lists have skyrocketed since the beginning of 2020 and have increased from 52,935 in January to 65,548 in March 2021, an increase of a whopping 23.8% in a little over a year.
“In every specialism, the numbers waiting at Galway University Hospitals are growing and growing month after month, with the number of people waiting for general surgery growing from 3,468 to 4,990 – a 43.9% increase; [the list for] cardiology treatment has grown from 2,406 to 3,231, a 34.3% increase in little over 14 months,” said the Labour Party councillor.
This sharp increase in waiting times came as Moycullen-based Senator Seán Kyne (FG) cast doubt over the mooted 200 in-patient beds and new elective hospital at Merlin Park – something that has long been presented as the solution to Galway’s health woes.
See the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie