Date Published: 13-Apr-2011
THE odds were always loaded against Galway footballers avoiding relegation after losing their opening five National League matches in Division One and while that disappointing reality finally came to pass last Sunday, there is a far more upbeat mood around the county about the team’s championship prospects now compared to only a month ago.
The local outlook began to change when a reshuffled Galway outfit pushed All-Ireland champions Cork hard at Pearse Stadium in March. Tomas Ó Flatharta’s outfit may still have lost the match, but the home team showed no shortage of heart and commitment in producing their most invigorating performance of the campaign so far.
Still, few observers anticipated that the men in maroon would get a result in their next outing away to Armagh in the Athletic Grounds and when they fell four points behind early on, it appeared that a sixth consecutive league defeat was on the cards. By the end of the match, however, Galway won pulling away with wing back Gary Sice delivering a magnificent display, highlighted by three rousing points from play.
There were other factors too in Galway’s unexpected triumph. The return of Padraic Joyce after injury brought extra guile to the attack; Finian Hanley was giving the midfield sector a fresh vibrancy; while Paul Conroy picked off four points from his new full forward base. With the under-rated Cormac Bane grabbing a vital goal, the men in maroon had given themselves an outside chance of avoiding dropping to Division Two ahead of last Sunday’s final round of matches.
Yet, it was always going to be a big ask as not alone did Galway need to beat table toppers Dublin, they were also dependent on results elsewhere falling in their favour. Frankly, when they trailed Pat Gilroy’s unbeaten visitors by 2-8 to 0-6 early in the second-half at Pearse Stadium, it didn’t matter what happened to the two other teams in the relegation mix, Monaghan or Armagh, as the Tribesmen looked doomed to defeat.
Even though Dublin had lost their early goal scorer Alan Brogan to a straight red card after an off-the-ball incident involving Johnny Duane, they led by seven points at the interval against a Galway team which was paying a hefty price for unforced errors and carrying the ball into trouble. Brogan’s goal owed its origins to a stray Eoin Concannon handpass out the field, while Joe Bergin turning over possession near his own posts led directly to Dublin’s second green flag from Pat Burke.
When Bernard Brogan increased their advantage early in the second-half, the Dubs were in cruise control against opponents who were struggling to establish any fluency. The introduction of the fit-again Gareth Bradshaw, however, helped to engineer an unlikely Galway revival with goalkeeper Adrian Faherty, whose kick outs didn’t always find their intended target, making a crucial stop from Brogan to prevent his team from facing an insurmountable deficit. Initially, points from Bane (free), Conroy and Bradshaw gave Galway momentum but, crucially, Dublin custodian Michael Savage denied Conroy a goal midway through the half.
But Galway had their tails up now. Further points followed from Joyce, Conroy and Sice, and when substitute Kevin Brady raised his team’s eighth consecutive white flag without reply seven minutes from time, they were level. Though almost predictably, Dublin regained the lead with a Dean Kelly effort, Galway rallied again and after Bane had equalised, they almost snatched it only for Sice’s effort to just fall short.
While demotion to Division Two is a setback, it’s hardly a disastrous scenario, especially in the context of the Tribemen’s strong finish to the campaign. Galway’s new-look defensive unit of Alan Burke, the promising Colin Forde, Johnny Duane, Gary O’Donnell, Greg Higgins and Sice is still a work in progress but further up the field, the change of scenery for Hanley and Conroy has helped to reinvigorate the team in recent weeks.
During Galway’s troubled start to the league, it must have been tempting for Padraic Joyce, then struggling with a back injury, to walk away from the squad, but the Killererin man has never been an individual for panic decisions and his return to front-line action must have boosted morale too. With better news about Michael Meehan’s ankle injury and Sean Armstrong on the recovery trail as well, Galway are suddenly potential championship dark horses this summer.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Galway County VEC Chief takes High Court case
Date Published: 07-May-2013
The High Court is hearing arguments from the state in an action brought by two VEC bosses who are challenging the loss of an annual allowance worth 12 and a half thousand euro.
Former president of the GAA Joe McDonagh who’s the CEO of County Galway VEC and Dr Katie Sweeney, CEO of Mayo VEC, say a special Transport Liaison Officers Allowance should not have been cut, even though that part of their role no longer operates.
Lawyers for the Department of Education deny the allowance is part of their pay.
The case is in the context of planned changes within the VEC system under the Croke Park agreement.
Planning go ahead for community facility in Doughiska
Date Published: 09-May-2013
A hotel in the city is to be changed into a community facility.
Planning permission has been granted to DRA Community Development Company Limited to redevelop the ‘Racing Lodge Hotel’ in Doughiska.
It’s planned to use the building for community, educational and pastoral use.
Planners have attached 4 conditions to the development, including the stipulation that all uses at the building be on a not-for-profit basis.
Galway call for Transport Minister to intervene in bus strike
Date Published: 13-May-2013
City Councillor Michael Crowe is calling on the Transport Minister Leo Vradkar to urgently intervene to end strike action by Bus Eireann in Galway.
Major travel disruption is expected in Galway and nationwide as the national strike enters its second day.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing their picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city.
It’s understood up to 80 Galway workers took part in the picket on rotational rosters yesterday.
Speaking on Galway Talks, City Cllr Michael Crowe said Minister Vradkar needs to take urgent action to intervene so that transport services can be restored.