Date Published: 18-May-2011
IT was nearly the worst form of sporting penance. The All-Ireland Gaelic football championship may have finally kicked off on home soil last Sunday, but the first round Ulster clash between Donegal and Antrim in Ballybofey turned out to be a dreadful affair as the rival teams took negative tactics to the extreme. It was a forgettable match in every sense of the word.
The statistics back up that analysis. Neither team could manage a score from play in the opening 21 minutes until Donegal wing forward Ryan Bradley split the posts, while Antrim appeared even more clueless up front as it took until the 33rd minute for Paddy Cunningham to finally open their account outside of frees. An interval scoreline of 0-6 to 0-3 in the home side’s favour perfectly reflected the frustrating over-commitment to defence.
The game was a shocking spectacle as Donegal, in particular, were determined to get as many players behind the ball as possible and though the county achieved its first Ulster championship victory in four years, their failure to be more ambitious against a team of Antrim’s modest ability does not bode well for their prospects of a protracted summer campaign.
All through the game, Donegal flooded their own half of the field and while their ‘swarm defence’ ultimately delivered a winning outcome last Sunday, Jim McGuinness’ squad will need to be far more adventurous and positive against the better teams. A total return of 1-10 summed up their priorities against Antrim, but as an advertisement for Gaelic football, this offering was in dire need of censorship.
Despite the woeful nature of Antrim’s challenge, Donegal were still only four points ahead nearing the end of the match and it took a neatly taken goal from wing forward MarkMcHugh to wrap up the contest. The failure of the much hyped Michael Murphy to register a single score from play is an additional worry for the Glenties men who will, no doubt, justify their tactics in the context of getting the right result.
Unfortunately, Gaelic football these days is nearly all about curtailing the opposition instead of focussing on attack. At least, the better teams like Kerry and Cork have never lost sight of the fact that if you don’t score enough, it doesn’t matter how well you defend. There is no point in having quality forwards like Colm Copper or Donncha O’Connor in your ranks, if they are back in their own half of the field defending.
Galway, to their credit, have rarely resorted to the massed defence strategy even under Tomas Ó Flathárta’s brief reign so far – the Kerry native wasn’t shy about utilising the tactic when over Westmeath – and the manner in which the county U-21s stormed to the All-Ireland title recently was a sharp and timely reminder of the benefits of traditional, direct football.. Alan Mulholland’s charges simply played on the front foot with their ‘have a go nature’ proving critical to a title triumph which must bode well for football in the county.
If Donegal had resorted to an all out attacking policy against Antrim, they would surely have carried the day by at least ten points, but they simply took no chances in a performance which bore all the hallmarks of a team determined not to lose. From that perspective alone, the end justified the means for McGuinness and his mentors last Sunday even if the watching TV audience were given little or nothing to enthuse about. Donegal may have stopped their rot in Ulster, but their tactics left the rest of us utterly deflated.
In a broader sense, the GAA championship season has again started with a whimper rather than a bang. Two weeks earlier a forewarned Roscommon made short work of the New York exiles – a result which appears to have slipped under the radar – but these low key fixtures don’t excite the neutral or help to generate much debate. Maybe, it’s time for the GAA to condense their championship season from June to September as there are still no shortage of big rugby and soccer (cross channel) going ahead in May.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent
Date Published: 07-May-2013
A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.
That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.
The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.
Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.
Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.
Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.
A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.
Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.
Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.
Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.
Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action
Date Published: 12-May-2013
The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.
There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.
Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.
However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.
Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.