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Connacht Tribune

Galway brothers are on the ball

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It’s been a jam-packed summer of sport for Moycullen brothers Paul and Sean Kelly who continue to distinguish themselves in their respective fields at home and abroad.

Both brothers are Croker bound on the weekend of August 11 and 12, after they helped the Galway footballers qualify for All-Ireland semi-finals at senior and minor level.

They are following in the footsteps of their late father, Pádraig ‘Dandy’ Kelly, a five-time Connacht champion who soldiered with the Galway footballers during the 1980s.

Sean Kelly scored a point in Galway’s win over Kildare in the Super 8s and also made his mark in the Tribesmen’s first championship win over Kerry in 53 years the week previous.

The lively wing-forward, who’d run all day, is expected to line-out in Pearse Stadium this Saturday against Monaghan in the final game of the Super 8s, the result of which will determine who Galway play having reached the last four of the All-Ireland for the first time since 2001.

Sean Kelly is one of the young guns who has grasped the opportunity to play for Galway footballers, having been blooded by manager Kevin Walsh in the FBD League in January. Since getting his start, Sean has been a regular in maroon and white and scored the first goal in their Connacht semi-final win over Sligo.

Meanwhile, his younger brother, Paul Kelly, is as handy on the basketball court as he is on the football field.

Paul starred in the Ireland U18 basketball squad that won bronze in thrilling fashion at the FIBA European Championship Division C in Kosovo last week.

Though he was side-lined through injury for the semi-final and third place play-off, Paul made a huge contribution to the cause in the earlier games.

The St Mary’s student scored 14 points in Ireland’s 80-71 win over Monaco but it was against Malta that Paul shone brightest as he led by example, finishing the game with 11 rebounds, 16 points and eight assists as Ireland enjoyed an 84-69 win over Malta.

Fellow Galwayman, and Bish student James Connaire also featured prominently in Kosovo, netting nine points against Malta. James also made a huge contribution in the bronze-medal play-off last Sunday – as well as scoring 13 points, he was involved in a dramatic finish

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

‘Give even one big GAA game to Ballinasloe’

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It’s the most centrally located ground in the country but Ballinasloe’s Duggan Park won’t host a single inter-county match this year – much to the annoyance of one local councillor who wants the GAA to allocate at least one big game to the venue.

Cllr Michael Connolly told a meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council that the ground is entitled to host major football and hurling fixtures – even though all but one of the Galway footballers’ home league games are assigned to Pearse Stadium with the other one in Tuam.

“If they gave us one match in Duggan Park, it would be something,” he said. “But at the moment, it seems as if it is being ignored.”

The Moylough councillor described it as the most accessible ground in the country and a venue in which players and supporters like to travel to – unlike, he suggested, Pearse Stadium.

He said that it was “a hateful venue” and few GAA supporters relished the prospect of travelling to the “far side of the city” to watch a football or hurling match.

A recent meeting in Gullane’s Hotel to discuss Duggan Park was attended by Deputy Denis Naughton, Senator Aisling Dolan, Cllr Evelyn Parsons and Cllr Declan Kelly among others.

But the Duggan Park Committee then issued a statement saying that the ground is owned by Galway GAA and any use of the facility needed to be authorised – and no authorisation was given to the meeting organiser, former Mayor of Ballinasloe Joe Kelly, for this purpose.

Mr Kelly has been a staunch campaigner for the redevelopment of Duggan Park and has called on the local authority to row in behind this initiative.

They went on to say that there is a plan in place for the development of Duggan Park which is multiple staged which started with the new dressing rooms, flood lights and a new entrance to the venue.

Planning permission is in place for this development and that €500,000 has already been spent in the Duggan Park over the past number of years carrying out these projects.

The work in the ground, they say, is done to an excellent standard by local contractors with the support of the previous Town Council for grants and sports capital grants.

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Connacht Tribune

Former tourism magnet officially on register of derelict sites

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The fire-ravaged hotel that was once one of the most popular in the county is now officially considered a derelict site – and that has led a local councillor to call for it to be either redeveloped or levelled.

Portumna’s Shannon Oaks Hotel, for so long popular with anglers and golfers in particular, has been boarded up for more than a decade since it was destroyed by fire.

Local councillor, Jimmy McClearn, has called on the owners to reopen or sell the property – adding that it should either be levelled or redeveloped.

“We are a tourist town and we need a hotel. The last thing we want is for a hotel to be shut up,” he said.

“It is a fine facility and on an extensive site so there is no reason why it should be boarded up,” he added.

The Shannon Oaks saga has gone on for the past twelve years – but now the owners, the multi-millionaire Comer brothers, will be forced to pay a derelict site levy if they do not reopen or redevelop.

That amounts to a seven per cent levy based on the market value of the property, which is worth around €1 million even in its derelict state.

The Shannon Oaks was ravaged by fire in September 2011 and four years later, the site was acquired by the Comer Group who, at the time, gave an undertaking that it would be reopened.

Around two years ago, planning permission was granted by Galway County Council to Barry Comer of the Comer Group to renovate the hotel by providing 60 new bedrooms along with 40 apartments to the rear of the structure.

However, there has been little or no movement on the site since then and now the owners are being again asked to give some indication as to when the hotel will be rebuilt.

It is considered an integral part of the tourism industry for the town and that is why pressure is mounting on the owners to rebuild the hotel.

Cllr McClearn said that all he is asking for is the owners to develop the site and provide a hotel there. “It’s not much to ask in a tourist town,” he added.

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Connacht Tribune

More than €200,000 worth of cannabis seized in East Galway

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More than €200,000 worth of cannabis was seized in during two separate search operations in East Galway on Saturday.

Gardai from the Divisional Drugs Unit conducted a search at a residence in Aughrim and seized cannabis plants with an estimated street value of €146,000 and €20,000 worth of cannabis herb which will now be sent for analysis.

Two men (both in their 30s) were arrested at the scene in connection with the investigation and are currently detained at Galway Garda station under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act, 1996.  Both men remain in custody.

A separate search was carried out at a residence in Ballinasloe yesterday afternoon and cannabis herb with an estimated street value of €35,000 was seized. Cannabis jellies and €7,510 in cash were also seized.

A man in his 40s was arrested and later released without charge and a file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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