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CITY TRIBUNE

Farrell fires in two tries to overhaul pacey Cheetahs

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Connacht hero Tom Farrell is tackled by Ruan Pienaar of the Cheetahs during Saturday evening's pulsating PRO14 clash at the Sportsground. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Cheetahs 22

 Connacht 24

Rob Murphy at the Sportsground

TOM Farrell clapped his hands twice as he stared at Caolin Blade, the scrum half had emerged with the ball from the base of a ruck inches from the try-line with the game on the line and the unbeaten Cheetahs leading by three. The forwards had done their job and the time was now right to set the backs free, well one back in particular, the man who had turned this game on its head in just ten short minutes.

Farrell didn’t disappoint with his final contribution to the contest. He showed to pass further wide but knew he had the beating of the men in front of him and from five metres, the replacement centre powered over for the second of his two quick fire tries to turn a ten point deficit into a glorious bonus point victory. It was the last play of a truly captivating contest between two fast paced sides which ebbed and flowed from the first minute.

For the 14-man Cheetahs, it was an unforgivable collapse, for the men in green it was a special Sportsground night akin to wins over Glasgow, Wasps and Toulouse in the years of Pat Lam. The kind of nights that have probably been missing in the past 12 months despite an impressive run of consistent solid results at the venue. In front of a vociferous and charged up home crowd, Connacht had gone through a rollercoaster of an evening, from leading by nine at half time, to trailing by eight by the 70 minute mark, creating the perfect setting for a show-stopping finale.

Since arriving as head-coach in the summer of last year, Andy Friend has had plenty of standout moments, reaching the PRO14 play-offs being the highlight, some neatly carved out away wins against the likes of the Cheetahs, Bordeaux and Ulster. At home there have been some high points, like beating Cardiff to secure a play-off spot and the hard fought victories over Sale and Ulster at Christmas too, but Saturday’s come from behind victory over the visiting South Africans felt different.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Voluntary group has taken part in 30 rescues

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Members of Claddagh Watch, Donna Burke, Annmarie Heffernan, Arthur Carr, Jimmy McGovern, Eimear Gullane and Trish Keogh on their first night on patrol in March.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Looking out over the River Corrib on a cold clear November night has a touch of the majestic about it.

Tourists and locals alike are spellbound by its mesmerising rapids and the pulsating surges which characterise this wonderful city river.

However, a group of volunteers at Claddagh watch over the glistening waters at night for an entirely different reason – not to marvel at its beauty but to keep a much-needed eye over people’s safety in the Corrib’s surrounds.

Just over eight months after its inception, Claddagh Watch is going from strength to strength. Starting out as a three-man crew in Spring, the organisation now has a 60-person team of volunteers dedicated to keeping people out of danger around Europe’s fourth fastest-flowing city river.

The group was formed by husband-and-wife team Arthur and Deborah Carr from Galway East Life Support Suicide prevention group, along with a former member of the Irish Coast Guard Séamus Ó Fátharta, following a series of deaths along Galway waterways early in the year.

“Claddagh Watch came to fruition from three ordinary people seeing the number of people losing their lives on the waterways and realising that a simple initiative could help reduce this,” explains Séamus of the motivation behind the group.

Since March, the organisation has taken part in almost 30 rescues, aimed at preventing people entering the water. Volunteers never enter the water themselves, even in emergency situations but are instead on hand to notify and provide vital information to rescue services as soon as an incident occurs.
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CITY TRIBUNE

Rents and rise in costs driving students to seek counselling

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A painful rental market and increasing costs being loaded onto third level students are all contributing to increasing demand on student counselling services, according to Galway’s student leader.

President of NUI Galway Students’ Union, Clare Austick, said additional funding must be allocated to student counselling services at NUI Galway to ensure students in need of help are not turned away.

This comes after it was revealed that there had been a 21% jump in the number of students at the university seeking the support of the counselling service over the past four years.

Ms Austick said the Union of Students in Ireland, in conjunction with national mental health bodies, had run several campaigns in recent years to encourage an uptake of mental wellbeing supports on offer – but it was vital that these supports were accessible if students did take that initial step of seeking help.

“Encouraging people to reach out has resulted in an influx of people looking for counselling services and I think people are now more willing to ask for help.

“When someone finally builds up the courage to reach out for help and they’re turned away, it’s very discouraging and it might not encourage them to do it again,” said Ms Austick.
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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City Council boosts spend on homelessness

Denise McNamara

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A homeless man sleeping in the city centre.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A record €12 million boost to the coffers has meant that Galway City Council’s budget will reach nearly €100 million for next year – with the bulk of the increased spending targeting homelessness and housing.

A third of the overall budget has been ringfenced for accommodation for the homeless and local authority tenants costing over €33m; with a €4.3m increase on last year to provide homeless services (to €10.7m).

An additional fund of €200,000 will be used to turn around the 44 vacant Council properties to ensure the local authority has no more than 10 properties ‘void’ at a time – a figure which other councils have managed to achieve.

One fifth of the budget will be earmarked for recreation and amenity, of which €2.8m will be used to roll out the European Capital of Culture programme and a quarter of a million euro set aside to resurface tennis and basketball courts around the suburbs.

The roads and transport sector takes up 15% of the yearly spend at €14.5m – more traffic lights will be connected to the Urban Traffic Control Centre, set to get an upgrade costing €100,000.

The cost of providing environmental services is €12m – or 12% of the funding pot – out of which €90,000 will be aimed at implementing a climate change plan.

Acting Head of Finance, Nepta Moggan, told a budget meeting this week that while there was no increase in the rate to be levied on businesses for commercial rates or householders liable for the Local Property Tax, the Council had an €800,000 bonus from increased and new valuations of commercial premises.
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here.

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