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Connacht Tribune

GAA legends reap rich rewards from ‘cocooning chats’

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Double All-Ireland winning Galway football manager, John O’Mahony, has ‘enjoyed immensely’ a novel project involving local GAA sporting legends chatting with people cocooning during the coronavirus crisis.

Along with a number of other sporting personalities from the county – including Cyril Farrell, Joe Connolly and Ray Silke – the Mayo man who guided Galway to All-Ireland football successes in 1998 and 2001 has spoken to many ‘cocooners’ over recent weeks.

“I think that I enjoyed it more than the people I was talking to. It really was a most enjoyable project to be involved with and some of those I spoke to, triggered memories of some things that I had forgotten about myself.

“It even brought me into the world of Zoom [conference video style telephone chats] with a number or residents from the Cheshire Home in Galway city.

“To be honest about it, most of the time I just enjoyed listening to the stories that these people had to tell. One man from Loughrea had gone to an incredible number of All-Ireland finals in football and hurling over the past 60 years,” John O’Mahony told the Connacht Tribune.

The Galway GAA Legends On-Call project was the brainchild of Oranmore’s Paul Byrnes – a former Executive Editor of GAA with RTE Sport – and Galway city ‘Community Champion’ Brendan Mulry.

“People like Cyril Farrell, John O’Mahony, Joe Connolly and Ray Silke, who have given many magical and memorable moments to Galway GAA fans, have very kindly made themselves available for this project,” Paul Byrnes told the Connacht Tribune.

Community Champions have been appointed by the Government as part of their outreach programme to help communities cope with the impact of the COVID-19, and Brendan Mulry has been delighted with the response to the Galway Legends initiative.

“While there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules with the project, the focus is really on these fans who need this most.

“Think of a parent or grandparent who is at home isolating who would love to chat all things GAA with a legend of the game,” said Brendan Mulry.

Galway GAA Chairperson, Pat Kearney, said that the idea was ‘a great one in unprecedented times’ and he also praised the ongoing role of Galway hurling icon, Iggy Clarke, who had done a huge amount of work in ‘chairing’ the county’s health and wellbeing committee.

While Galway All-Ireland successes against Kildare in 1998 and Meath in 2001 were the obvious big ‘chat lines’ with John O’Mahony, he said that the conversations embraced a whole range of GAA events.

“I suppose that having retired from politics and with the coronavirus restrictions in place, I found myself with a bit of time on my hands, and it really was wonderful to chat about so many GAA memories.

“These were very knowledgeable people on all-things GAA and the only thing I can say is, that if they enjoyed the chats, half as much as I did, then we’re all winners,” said John O’Mahony.

Even though the cocooning restrictions have eased somewhat over recent weeks for the elderly and those with medical conditions, the chats are still ongoing.

Anyone wishing to participate – or who might know of a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or elderly friend interested in taking part – can do so by contacting Brendan Mulry on 087-2194243 or online at: brendan@equalireland.ie

Paul Byrnes also thanked the GAA clubs around the county for their ‘trojan efforts’ in helping those most in need during those difficult times.

“At this time of year, we should be looking forward to the height of the championship season, but that seems a long way off at the moment.

“However, the GAA is still a major social outlet, and although the absence of the games is hugely felt, the clubs – and their members – are still doing great work to help those most in need,” said Paul Byrnes.

Connacht Tribune

Clifden break new ground with a five-star final show

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Clifden's Gearoid King, who has Michael O'Toole in support, breaking out of defence against St Ronan's of Roscommon during Saturday's Connacht Club Junior Football Final at Hyde Park. Photos: Bernie O'Farrell.

Clifden 1-16

St Ronan’s 0-10

John McIntyre at Hyde Park

A lot can change in one year. Just ask the mould-breaking Clifden junior Gaelic footballers for confirmation.

In the space of 12 months, Galway’s most westerly Gaelic football bastion has gone from fighting relegation to being crowned Connacht champions.

It’s some turnaround in fortunes by any standards, and Clifden are not finished yet with an All-Ireland Club semi-final to look forward to in early January.

Having taken out highly-rated Islandeady of Mayo in the semi-final, suddenly the burden of favouritism for provincial glory fell on Clifden’s shoulders, but they made light of this new-found status at Hyde Park on Saturday.

Coming up against St Ronan’s of Roscommon – a club which was fighting for survival itself just five years ago – in the Connacht final, a progressive Clifden outfit carried too much firepower and quality for opponents who are based close to the Sligo border.

Having suffered defeat in the club’s two previous provincial final appearances – in 2006 and 2015 – Clifden were determined to make it third-time lucky and the fact their supporters rarely had cause for concern underlines how much they were in control.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

An Spidéal raise their game after being hit by black card

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Kinvara full forward Joshua O’Connor is challenged by Liam Ó Fatharta and Eoin Ó Conghaile of An Spidéal during Saturday's County U19 B Football Final at Tuam Stadium. Photos: Iain McDonald.

An Spidéal 1-10

Kinvara 1-6

Eanna O’Reilly at Tuam Stadium

AN Spidéal claimed the county under 19 B football title on Saturday following an entertaining contest with North board winners Kinvara at Tuam Stadium.

The Connemara side were deserving winners on the day as they played the superior football for long spells. Nevertheless, they were well tested by a hard working Kinvara side, who produced a strong third quarter performance and took the lead in the 43rd minute.

An Spidéal weathered the storm however, to take control of the contest in the final quarter, scoring the final five points of the game to deservedly take the title.They displayed a greater ability to generate scores from play, which made all the difference in the end. An Spidéal’s tallied 1-6 from open play, while Kinvara were held to 0-3 by comparison.

Both sides deserve credit for serving up an entertaining spectacle in tricky conditions at Tuam Stadium. Kinvara played against the wind in the opening half but made a bright start when Oisín Ivers pointed from the right corner.

An Spidéal replied with their first score, which proved to be a major one. A strong run from Liam Ó Conghaile saw him break through Kinvara’s defence before firing a shot to the bottom corner past Shaun Philips.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

 

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Country Living

A glimpse back to darker days when we turned on each other

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A photo taken in happier pre-civil war times on October 27, 1921, at the wedding of Kevin O’Higgins (centre) to Birdie Cole (centre front). O’Higgins is flanked to his right by Eamon de Valera and on his left by Rory O’Connor, the latter to be executed just over a year later on the orders of O’Higgins. Photo: Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

One of my regrets in childhood and younger life was that I never really got to know my ageing father. There was a rural way of life back through the 20th century where older farmers tended to marry younger women, one of the consequences being that by the time the youngest of the children had reached teenage years, their father would have slipped into old age.

It wasn’t all bad though and as a child, I’d hear first-hand stories of what times were like during The Troubles from the War of Independence through to the Civil War. My father wouldn’t always talk about it that often, but here and there, he’d mention tales of hiding behind walls when they’d hear the sound of Crossley Tenders – lightweight lorries which carried parties of Black-and-Tans across the country to ‘put manners’ on the restless natives.

Tales of guns and ambushes were quite frightening but also somewhat alluring yarns for a young lad of 11 or 12 summers as here and there, my father would mention that what followed on after the hated Black-and-Tans was even worse. He would recount tales from the Civil War and how even the closest of families were torn apart, depending on whether they were pro-Treaty or not.

He would point to a spot on a field where IRA members fired shots at the Free State-controlled railway station in Ballyglunin, or maybe a house where two brothers fought on opposite sides during the Civil War. As years passed, and elderly parents moved on, talks of the Tans and the Treaty faded, but of late with the 100th anniversary of so many awful events in 1922 now being recalled, curiosity again took hold.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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