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Fitness fanatic duo plan exercise marathon for charity



Eight hours of continuous burpees may sound like a belching extravaganza best avoided.

But for two fitness fanatics who have turned the art of perfecting the human physique into a business, burpees are the very epitome of cardiovascular skill.

Burpees – also known as squat thrusts – are one of the only equipment-free exercises that work your entire body, going from a low squat, to a plank position before maneouvering back into a high jump.

Paul Dermody

Paul Dermody

Eight would be a challenge to most mortals, but to do them for eight hours? That’s exactly what Paul Dermody and Brian Keane plan to do to raise €5,000 for the mental health charity Console.

For two lads whose chests are so ripped they look like they’re wearing batman costumes, well it’s no walk in the park either, laughs Paul.

“We’re housemates and we’ve been doing them at home every evening to practice and have managed 250 to 300. But we’re exhausted.  We’ve worked out that we’d need to be doing about 2,000 each over eight hours. I don’t know how we’ll do it, but I’m sure we’ll pull it off at the end of the day.”

Brian Keane has a high profile in the world of personal fitness, being one of a handful of fitness models in the country who has competed internationally. He finished in the top 10 at the WBFF [World Beauty Fitness & Fashion] World Championships in Las Vegas in August 2015. He has 40,000 followers on Instagram, who read his grueling fitness schedule, nutritional plans and motivational posts.

After a stint in London as a personal trainer, the Clonbur-native quit his full-time job as a primary school teacher to start his own personal training in business in Galway.

“I had no money, no house, I was driving my little sister’s old Toyota Yaris, I had 500 likes on my Facebook page, no Instagram and I had never stepped foot on a stage,” he recalls on his blog.

“I was called everything from a ‘dreamer’ to an ‘idiot’ for leaving everything in pursuit of something better.” It was then he discovered the world of professional fitness modelling.

He now specialises in online life transformation programmes and preparing athletes for competition.

His fitness partner Paul, 25, does the one-on-one personal training in the business. He caught the bug when he began training with Brian some years back and came third in the 2015 Irish Spring Classic of the Men’s Physique Athlete competition. He quit his job in a bookies in Ballybrit to concentrate on fitness full-time.

“In our game we’ve noticed a crazy amount of people who have a bad body image or suffer from eating disorders, I think it’s through social media and all these selfies that they think they look bad; some suffer from body dysmorphia.

“There are all these companies who prey on that. There has to be self acceptance. People have to learn to love themselves. There’s such a large tie-in with young people and mental health, so that’s why we chose Console,” explained Paul.

“Though we hope to raise €5,000-10,000, our real aim is to create awareness and have people know they are not alone or weird for having this condition.”

The event will be held on Saturday, March 19 in the Warehouse Gym on the Monivea Road, where they train many clients. The public are invited to cheer the pair on and get involved – if they dare.

To donate, log onto Just Giving


Bikers do their bit to mark anniversary of blood service



The Blood Bike team and supporters with the charity’ s newest motorbike, Cara, during the fundraising day at the Galway Plaza. Pictured are (from left) John Moylan, Bridie Lyons (Fundraising Manager), Sean Griffin, Fergus Turner, James Treacy, Pat McDonagh, Dave O'Leary (Chairperson), Ronan Kane (Fleet Manager), and Sergio Massidda.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of Blood Bike West, and the big birthday was marked in style with a sun-drenched afternoon at Galway Plaza’s Bike Fest West.

Galway stuntman Mattie Griffin was the headline attraction; there was face painting, games, plenty of ice-cream – and hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts and families.

The birthday celebrations kicked off with a 160-strong motorcycle spin around the Galway countryside, raising well-needed funds for the volunteering efforts of Blood Bike West.

As a 100% volunteer-run and funded organisation, donations are vitally important for Blood Bike West to continue operating their medical transport in the West of Ireland.

Since its inception in 2012, demand for their volunteers’ services continues to grow:  collecting and delivering all manner of urgent medical items regionally and nationally, such as bloods, breast milk, medicines, scans, and equipment.

In 2021 alone, Blood Bike West delivered 983 urgent medical deliveries throughout the country.

As part of Galway City Councils Community, Blood Bike West undertook to operate a 24/7 service, including 165 medication deliveries from pharmacies to the self-isolating and vulnerable during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Since Blood Bike West’s inception in 2012, this increase sees the ongoing need to replace and renew their fleet of motorcycles.

Their motorbikes, Madison, Heather, Margaret, and newly inaugurated bike Cara, are regularly seen on Galway roads, delivering consignments to and from local and regional hospitals.


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Park fun to mark Africa Day



Pam Mncube-Zoki of Africa United Galway, speaking at the National Integration Conference at NUI Galway last week. The group are co-organisers of Africa Day which takes place in Salthill Park on May 28. Photo:xposure

On Saturday next (May 28) in Salthill Park, Galway’s African community invites people to join them in a celebration of culture as part of the national Africa Day celebrations.

Africa United Galway, emerging from lockdown and having hosted online festivals for the past two years, will be delivering a family fun day event.

Africa Day 2022 will reinforce a collaboration between Africa United Galway and Galway Africa Diaspora, Shining Light Galway and GoCom Radio (broadcasting live), who have worked to create a festival that will showcase Galway as a city of culture.

Among the performances on the day will be Afrobeat dancer Lapree Lala of Southside Moves, who will show how to dance in African style; Elikya Band will be bringing indigenous African Congolese music; The Youth Performances will be displaying their talent in rap, singing, speaking, and dancing and for the young at heart.

Galway Afrobeat performer Dave Kody will get the crowd moving and there will be poetry through spoken word and cultural displays. There will be a photo booth and face painting and everyone will get to have a taste of African cuisines.

In the spirit of inclusion and integration, The St Nicholas Collegiate Church Parish Choir will be presenting a special African performance as well as a feature presentation by the Hession School of Irish Dance, who will be presenting the famous Riverdance.

Also organised is a football friendly between the African community and An Garda Siochana.

The Mayor, Colette Connolly, will officially be opening the event with a keynote speech and several African Ambassadors are expected to be present on the day to reinforce the culture, beauty and strength of Africa and support for its people.

Africa Day is sponsored by Irish Aid and supported by Galway City Council.

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Domestic Violence Response recorded highest number of clients in 24 years under Covid ‘shadow’



At the launch of the Domestic Violence Response (DVR) Annual Report were Rachel Doyle and Elizabeth Power of DVR, Deputy Catherine Connolly and Anne Reynolds. Photos Sean Lydon


A domestic violence support charity in Galway has recorded its highest number of clients in 24 years – “under the shadow” of Covid-19.

Domestic Violence Response (DVR), which is based in Moycullen, also reported its highest level of counselling support sessions in its 2021 annual report published last week.

The charity saw 136 new clients in 2021, and a total of 266 people utilised its services. It also saw a significant increase of return service users.

The support service also provided 51 nights of emergency accommodation through a partnership between Airbnb, Safe Ireland, and Women’s Aid.

Elizabeth Power, Coordinator of DVR Galway, said: “Our 2021 annual report highlights the stark reality of the level of domestic violence in Galway. Under the shadow of Covid-19, DVR recorded the highest number of clients in our 24-year history and delivered the highest number of support services.

“Our staff noted increases in the level of worrying and harrowing experiences of control and abuse. The trauma of these experiences will live with our service users long after Covid-19 fades into memory.

“While Covid-19 restrictions are behind us, domestic violence continues to be present in hundreds of homes throughout Galway.

“As we move through 2022, we will continue to provide our much-needed services to women and men throughout Galway, with an extensive counselling support and advocacy service and a number of new initiatives including a partnership with the HSE which will be launched in the coming months.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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