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Family tell of home raid terror

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The owners of a County Galway business premises have told of the trauma they suffered at the hands of raiders who stole more than €10,000 from their property shortly after they closed up for the night.

Three raiders entered the Kiltullagh business, which is also the location for the local post office, and held the owners – who are in their 70s – captive for just less than an hour before making away with the cash.

They also inflicted a serious head injury to the son of the couple who operate the hardware and foodstore business in Kiltullagh, just three miles from Athenry.

It was a ruthless attack on a small family business in East Galway and the owners have been left devastated by what has happened.

Frank Duane and his wife Mary were held captive for less than an hour after the raiders burst through the door of their property on which their business premises and post office is located.

It is not the first time that they have been robbed as there was a break in to the premises as it was broken into a year ago.

Frank recalls how both he and his wife were subjected to an aggravated attack in their home and how their son Anthony was left bleeding from a head injury.

“I went into the sitting room and Mary was in the kitchen when the door swung open and people entered. One went into the kitchen and got Mary and the other came into the sitting room and got me.

“As I heard the commotion, I got up and then got this mighty belt across the shin by a pinch bar which was around three feet long. It knocked the life out of me because I did not know what was happening.

“The front door was a bit open but I was hit and knocked back into the couch. The man who hit me stood behind me and didn’t leave for 15 or 20 minutes.

“One man was with Mary in the kitchen and another was rooting around the place and then he came into me as asked me where was the gun left.

“It was obvious that they knew I had a gun. I had to tell them because they were going to hit me again. Once I got it once, there was every chance I was going to get it a second time.

“One of them got the gun but I didn’t know if it was loaded or not. I certainly would not have it loaded.

“They then got Mary and brought her out into the shop to turn off all of the alarms and to get to the safes. It was the longest time ever in my life.

“I was trying to rub my ankles but they wouldn’t let me. They wanted my arms across my chest and wouldn’t let me release them.

“They tried to open the post office safe but that was time locked but then they got to our own business safe which was not time locked. They opened that one and took all the money out of that one.

“Then Anthony came in because he had been alerted to the fact that there was something wrong. He got the word about 10 minutes after the incident taking place.

“He walked in and they clocked him on top of the head with the pinch bar and there was blood streaming off him. They came at him with a hammer and struck him in the shoulder. They hit him around 10 or 12 times around the body after that.

“They made him kneel down on the floor and the blood was pouring out of his head. They wouldn’t let us touch him. We couldn’t even give him a towel to stop the bleeding.

“Then they marched me out to get the keys of the cigarette cabinet so I hadn’t a clue where they were located.

“Eventually they brought Mary and Anthony out and locked us all in a store room. They told us that if we ever came out that they would shoot us. So we had to wait a while until they went.

“Lucky enough there was a key inside to unlock the door to let us out. Otherwise I don’t know how long we would have been there,” Frank said.

Gardaí are monitoring CCTV around Athenry, Ballinasloe and along the M6 motorway in an effort to catch the culprits of the aggravated burglary.

Connacht Tribune

US basketball champion boasts impeccable Galway roots

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Galway roots...Pat Connaughton.

An Irish American basketball player with impeccable Galway roots helped end a 50-year NBA famine for the Milwaukee Bucks last week.

Boston-born Pat Connaughton, whose grandparents hail from Clostoken, Loughrea, played a pivotal part in his side clinching the NBA championship final series over the Phoenix Suns.

The 6ft 5in shoot guard was involved in all six games of the final series, including the last, which the Bucks won 105-98.

Afterwards, the 28-year-old said: “It’s incredible. The fans supported us through thick and thin. They’ve had our backs. To be able to do it and to win it and to be able to call ourselves World champions in front of our own fans . . . it’s incredible. The city of Milwaukee deserves it and I’m just proud that I could be a part of a team, with my teammates, that gave it to them.”

One of his cousins in Loughrea, Madeleine Connaughton, told the Connacht Tribune that his relations in Galway were incredibly proud of his achievement.

“It’s absolutely brilliant; he’s a celebrity in our eyes because he has done so well,” said Madeleine.

“It’s brilliant that Pat is flying the flag for us over there. He was the only person to play both professionally, baseball and basketball with Notre Dame. He was as good a baseball player as basketball and had to choose.”

Madeleine joked that there ‘is a clatter of us’ in Loughrea related to Pat Connaughton, including the Connaughtons, Tierneys, Keanes and Burkes.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Galway duo make sporting history as out first Olympic medallists

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Ireland rowers (from left) Aifric Keogh from Furbo, Eimear Lambe from Dublin, Fiona Murtagh from Moycullen and Emily Hegarty from Cork celebrate on the podium with their Olympic bronze medals after the Women's Four final at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

The motto of the Ireland Women’s Coxless Four team, which includes Galway’s first ever Olympic medallists, Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh, has been drilled into them by coach Giuseppe De Vita: ‘Winter miles makes Summer smiles.’

At twenty-three minutes past two on Wednesday morning Irish time, during the Tokyo Olympic medal presentation ceremony at a windswept Sea Forest Waterway, the rowing quartet’s smiles beamed from ear-to-ear.

It was a testament to the hard graft they’ve put into the sport over many years, especially the past 18 months, and the last eight weeks in particular in the build-up to the biggest six minutes of their careers to date.

Keogh (29) from Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, Fiona Murtagh (26) from Gortachalla in Moycullen, and Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty were well entitled to smile after a remarkable rowing performance that earned them bronze medals in the Women’s Fours Final.

As they presented each other with their medals, in keeping with Covid-19 restrictions, and waved their bouquets into the air, back home, their smiles lit up the television and computer screens in living rooms of their family, friends and new legion of fans throughout the land.

It was a history-making feat – Galway’s first Olympic medallists, Ireland’s first women rowers to win Olympic medals, and the nation’s first at Tokyo 2020.

Both women were ecstatic afterwards as they spoke with the Connacht Tribune via Zoom from the media centre in the Olympic Village.

Read the full interview with Galway’s Olympic heroes in today’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie   

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Connacht Tribune

Olympic dream comes true for Galway sprinting star

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Cillín Greene's parents Sinead and Cole and sisters Iarlaith (left) and Miriam above the Olympic flag on the Nine Arches in Claregalway. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

It was March, 2019 when the Olympic dream of Cillín Greene went up in smoke – or so everyone thought.

On day one of the European Indoor championships in Glasgow, the Claregalway sprinter was progressing nicely in a 400m heat.

He was in lane two, minding his own business, when, all of a sudden, he was ‘bounced’ by a Polish competitor on his inside.

Cillín steadied himself after the collision but was unable to react quick enough to hop over a Czech runner who tumbled in front of him. Both hit the deck. Bad enough that his race was run; worse again, afterwards it emerged he’d sustained a serious injury.

“He was knocked on the track and broke his elbow,” recalled his father, Colman.

“I think it put his whole make-up out of line for a long time. He started pulling hamstrings after that, and things like that. It took a long time to get it right. It’s like a fine-tuned sports car, everything has to be right. Last year, he had a lot of injuries and he wasn’t really going anywhere,” he said.

Glasgow was just over a year out from the Tokyo Olympic Games, and almost certainly wiped his chances of qualification.

But then Covid-19 delayed the Games, giving time to rehab; and the Galway City Harriers clubman worked relentlessly in Lockdown to get back on track.

The result? This Friday, along with another Galway man, Robert McDonnell (19) from Knocknacarra, 23-year-old Cillín Greene will become an Olympian when he competes in the mixed 4x400m relay heat at the Olympic Stadium at 12 noon Irish time.

See the full story – and comprehensive Olympic coverage – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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