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Sports News Archive

Fancied Gort sent packing from title race



Date Published: 13-Jul-2010

Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry 1-14

Gort 2-8



UNBELIEVABLE as it may seem, but title challengers Gort are out of the Galway senior hurling championship after they were defeated by 2009 intermediate champions, Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry in this hugely entertaining final round robin tie at Kenny Park, Athenry on Saturday evening.

Gort, who won back-to-back U-21 ‘A’ titles earlier this year, were believed by many to present the greatest threat to kingpins Portumna, but an energetic and hungrier Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry outfit certainly made little of those assertions with a gusty championship display.

This was no more evident than in the closing five minutes. With the sides level, Tynagh 1-11 v Gort 2-8, and the game there to be won, it was the underdogs who showed the greater nerve as man of the match Padraig Brehony, Ronan Madden (free) and Brian Cunningham (free) all found the target to secure a magnificent against the odds victory.Indeed, credit to Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry.

Earlier this year, they were soundly defeated in the All-Ireland intermediate hurling final by St. Gall’s of Antrim and the general view afterwards was that Mattie Kenny’s side would not see the year out at senior level.

However, in a matter of months, Kenny and his extensive management team of Tom Havil, Tom Breheny, Gerry Madden, Tom Moloney, PJ Kenny, Liam Power and physical trainer, David McConn, the former Roscommon team manager.

These mentors have done one hell of a job and, obviously, the players have responded in kind by working hard and rising to the challenges set down. This was evident from the off, with Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry standing toe to toe with their illustrious opponents and they deservedly held the advantage for most of the opening half.

Indeed, with the first period drawing to a close, the victors led by 0-6 to 0-4, but then Gort showed the measure of their class when powerful centre-half forward Paul Killilea pounced on a defensive mix-up in the Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry rearguard and he set up Keith Killilea, who marked his return from injury with a 29th minute goal.

Sports News Archive

Life in the frontline can be tough for trophy homeowners



Date Published: {J}

When Pat Kenny told us that the Frontline would be a different sort of current affairs show, he wasn’t joking – but even he must be surprised to find his own financial situation under infinitely greater scrutiny than that of the nation at large.

First Jack O’Connor – a man who could hardly be deemed to be living anywhere near the breadline himself, despite his socialist credentials – raised the issue of Pat’s ‘trophy home’ in Dalkey before apologising for talking what Pat termed ‘crap’.

Funnily enough he never apologised for talking it so many times before.

But then Alan O’Brien broke loose from the Frontline audience to wade into Pat on his wages and his big house and how the nation might be able to get rid of Mary Hanafin but there’s no chance of shifting Mr Kenny because he’s not up for re-election.

He did seem to concede in the course of his rant that Pat was worth a salary of somewhere in the region of €300,000, which is not far off half of what Pat now takes home ever since he took a 35 per cent cut from his high of €950,000.

Pat, in fairness, let him rant to his heart’s content and came out smelling of roses after his retort that everyone’s opinion was welcome on the Frontline, proving that he remains the coolest head in the tightest of corners.

And maybe stony-broke Ireland can no longer afford the luxury of a €900,000 or €600,000 presenter, but this is a lot better than Questions & Answers where there was as much chance of a real good row as there would be of late drink at the DUP annual conference.

Alan O’Brien is clearly a man with issues, but he might feel a lot better in himself now that he got quite a bit off his chest. Certainly Mary Hanafin has reason to be grateful because suddenly the threat of cuts to social welfare was wiped off the Frontline agenda.

Pat Kenny is perfectly entitled to put the tough questions to whomsoever he feels like; the problem now is that he is having to answer a growing amount of his own. And sometimes shooting the messenger isn’t off limits after all.

Gerry Ryan – that voice of the working classes and idol of the bored housewives – found himself strangely out of touch with both when he refused for so long to take a wage cut. See, it’s not just politicians who can occasionally be accused of living life in an ivory tower.

We’d all love to be dropping in on Bono – preferably from a height and attached to a large boulder – or hanging out with Gerald and Lisa, if only to prove that money can’t buy you everything.

But we’re not Premiership footballers or rock stars – or hacks for the Sunday Independent for that matter – so we have a pint which we pay for in our local pub and go home to our houses that do not boast a €1 million strip of wasteland to one side of it.

Pat Kenny is a fine broadcaster and, despite the ratings to date, the Frontline is a massive improvement on Q&A – and not only because of the unique style of audience participation.

But it’s hard to align questions on social welfare cuts with life in a plush Dalkey pile, even if it was paid for through the good times on the back of blood, sweat and tears shed in the radio and television studios of Montrose.

Alan O’Brien may never become the poster boy of the recession generation – he’s more likely to end up as a “Where Are They Now?” trivia question after his 15 minutes is over – and his outburst may have been well over the top.

But if you’re going to deliver the punches, you must learn to roll with a few too – because in these straitened times, the messengers can be up for a bullet as well.

Customer service has had its chips

The Restaurants Association of Ireland has warned that over 20,000 jobs are at risk in the sector.

The Association says 80 per cent of its members are losing money and one in three restaurants could close in the next six months with a potential loss of €700m to the economy.

Well they better get the news fast to Basil Fawlty, who is alive and well as masquerading as a restaurant manager in the heart of Galway.

We’ll spare his blushes and those of his restaurant by not naming them (this time) but if he reads this, he’d do well to rethink his views on customer service.

A week or so ago, four of us were out for dinner and like many in these changing times, we opted for the Early Bird menu with two courses for €19 – not a fortune but hardly a giveaway either.

One of the menu choices was a steak with mash.

Asked how I’d like this steak, I was told I could either have it medium or well done. But my request for medium to well done was out of the question – it could only be medium or well done. A further brush off the grill to take one of the pre-cooked mediums up to the next level was a step too far.

As to the possibility of changing the mash for chips – hardly an astonishing request given that chips were on the menu as well, and are hardly an unusual accompaniment to steak – that was also a non-runner. The steak – either medium or well but nowhere in between – came with mash and not with chips. You could have chips if you paid for them, but then they came in addition to the mash as opposed to instead of it.

And it wasn’t that they didn’t have chips – it did come with a battered fish of unknown origin whose life look like it ended from natural causes, given the withered size of it.

This might seem like a personal rant but it’s more down to the sense of frustration that such appalling customer service is still to be found in a city that depends on tourists to survive.

In fairness, it was an isolated case and it also explained why this restaurant had six other customers while its adjoining neighbour – where we’d actually wanted to go, if the truth was known – had a minimum 30 minute wait for a table on a wet Sunday night.

The fact that the meal was the worst I’ve ever been served – and there have been some bad ones in the past – was, pardon the pun, the icing on the cake.

And it didn’t seem to come as a huge shock to the manager that I was refusing to pay for it. He looked like a man who’d been down this road once or twice before.

We won’t be going back there but I’m sure that won’t bother the management. What would worry me more is if we’d been visitors to Galway and that this shoddy approach was our first impression of the city.

Galway has many wonderful restaurants to suit every taste and pocket – a point in hand is that the friendliest, most efficient waitress in the entire country is Brid, who works in Rodeo on Quay Street – and it is not right for one bad egg to spoil it for the rest.

As Early Bird menus go, €19 for two courses is not a freebie – in most European cities that would constitute an average price for which you’d be entitled to expect good food and proper service.

We hear so much about how the hospitality business is being hurt by the downturn in our economic circumstances – but frankly service like this would bring the whole thing crashing down a whole lot faster than the property bubble could even dream of.

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Sports News Archive

Portumna in a different class to bitter rivals



Date Published: {J}


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Sports News Archive

Galwegians get back to winning ways with six try rout of Students



Date Published: {J}

Galwegians 38

UCD 17

Galwegians got back to winning ways with a comprehensive six-try demolition of UCD in cracking match at Crowley Park on Saturday.


‘Wegians came into this game lying in second from bottom, and a win was vital to get their league campaign back on track, and they opened the scoring in the 12th minute when two graduates of their own underage system combined, with out-half Tadhg Leader feeding no 8 Eoin McKeon who made a fine break.

McKeon was stopped just short of the line, but he managed to off-load to Leader to score the opening try, which he duly converted for a 7-0 lead.

The danger from the visitors clearly came from their free-running backline, and they levelled matters in the 18th minute when full-back Michael Twomey sliced through the cover to score a try, which was well converted by out-half Niall Earls to level the game.

It got better for the Students when they took the lead on 25 minutes. ‘Wegians were punished when a long lineout throw in their own 22 went crooked in the strong breeze, and following quick clean scrum ball, UCD flanker Richie Bent took a pop pass to crash over near the posts, with Earls again converting for a 14-7 lead.

However the home side responded well and they completely dominated the remainder of the half, and just before the half-hour mark an excellent break by young winger Matthew Dever set up an attack, which was finished off several phases later by scrum-half Dave Moore who sniped over near the line.

Leader’s conversion levelled the game for a second time, and the hosts deservedly regained the lead just before the break. It followed an excellent cross-kick deep into touch from Leader’s younger brother Darragh, who made a very impressive debut at full-back.

‘Wegians won possession on the Students’ lineout, and several phases later it was older brother Tadhg who got in for his second and his side’s third try in the right-hand corner, leaving it 19-14 at half-time.

The Students thought they had levelled the contest once again at the start of the second-half when referee Simon McDowell awarded another try to full-back Twomey following the opening passage of play, but it was overruled as the touch-judge had seen a tackle in the air on ‘Wegians captain for the day Brian McClearn at the restart.


For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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