Galway may have marched onto a Connacht U-21 football semi-final meeting against reigning All-Ireland champions Mayo in the coming weeks but they have done so in the knowledge that they have a whole lot of improving to do before they go head-to-head with their greatest rivals.
For, having incredibly raced into a 19-point lead after just 26 minutes of this Connacht championship quarter-final at Tuam Stadium on Saturday, the home side subsequently and inexplicably imploded as Leitrim kicked an unanswered 2-9 over the next half hour or so of play.
It meant that with seven minutes remaining, Leitrim had reduced the arrears to just four points, 4-8 to 2-10, and they looked set to complete one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the GAA. Lazarus had nothing on these Leitrim boys.
Galway needed a score – and badly – and it finally arrived on 56 minutes when Cillian McDaid and Paul Mannion, showing a measure of leadership between them, conjured up the opportunity for the lively Dessie Conneely to kick an invaluable point.
Momentarily, Leitrim’s hearts sank, and Galway took full advantage as substitute Colm Brennan, who certainly made an impact around the middle of the park upon his introduction, secured possession from the resulting kick-out. The move finished with Mannion tallying his third point of play over the afternoon.
You would have thought the contest would have flagged thereafter, but over the ensuing minutes Galway custodian Ronán Ó Beoláin had to be smart to deal with another dangerous high ball, which could have easily ended up in the net; while Killererin’s Michael Boyle also had a chance to goal at the other end, but Leitrim’s Jack Burke was equal to the effort.
As it was, Leitrim did kick the last two points of this enigmatic match through substitute Conor Cullen and the impressive Keith Beirne (free) but, really, all the damage had been done when Galway hit Leitrim for that unanswered 4-8 in the first-half.
In fairness to Leitrim, they had started this clash in a livelier fashion, kicking the opening point through their key man and centre-half forward Ryan O’Rourke in the opening minute. Enthusiast and energetic, without a doubt the Leitrim team as a whole looked up for this game.
Using this as a reference point, what happened next was unfathomable. With sharpshooter O’Rourke forced off the field due to injury on six minutes, it was as if every bit of confidence and belief was sucked out of the Leitrim players. It was as if they thought they couldn’t win this game without him. Or, at least, that is how they played.
Gaps as large as the Grand Canyon began to suddenly appear and with the quality in the Galway forward line, they were always likely to exploit this. And so they did – to the tune of an extraordinary total of 4-8!
Eyrecourt tune makes it to Hollywood in Jig time
A tune composed to celebrate the twinning of Eyrecourt in south-east Galway with Gouesnach in France is to feature in a new film.
Written by Niall Crehan, ‘The Eyrecourt Jig’ made quite a splash when it was released in 2013 and is still popular in music sessions up and down the country.
Niall had been commissioned to write the tune for the 20th anniversary of the twinning of the two villages, Eyrecourt and Gouesnach.
So, when he had a small part as a fiddler in a TV film called Royal Rendevouz, he started playing the jig.
The producers were so impressed, they added it to the movie soundtrack and it will appear in the credits.
Niall is a member of a celebrated traditional Irish musical dynasty hailing originally from County Clare.
He is the youngest son of whistle and concertina player Vincent Crehan and nephew of renowned fiddler Junior Crehan.
Niall and his brother Kieran ran the Dublin shop Crehan Musical instruments until his early retirement.
Now living in Kildare, Niall is a cousin of publican Mick Crehan, who runs the renowned folk pub in the west end of Galway, The Crane.
Niall and the large army of musicians in the extended family are regular guests.
His brother Dermot got music playing parts on films such as the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and he managed to get Niall onto the likes of Downton Abbey.
This latest TV project is the latest foray into the world of film, explains his son Brian.
The story centres on an American chef who is invited to an Irish manor to cook a feast in order to convince the matriarch not to sell the home.
It premieres on Sunday, February 26 at 9pm on the E! Network starring Isabella Gomez, Ruairi O’Connor and Ronan Raftery.
‘No show’ TDs criticised at County Galway policing committee meeting
A county councillor has launched a stinging criticism of Oireachtas members for their repeated failure to attend County Galway Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meetings.
At a meeting of the JPC on Monday, Cllr Michael ‘Moegie’ Maher (photographed) said he believed it was time the three TDs on the committee decided if they wanted to remain, or give their place up to someone who would make use of it.
“I am asking the Council to write out to our Oireachtas members and ask them do they want to be on this JPC or not, and if not, let someone else be on it,” blasted the Fine Gael councillor.
This followed repeated non-appearances from TDs representing the Oireachtas on the committee – the three representatives are Deputy Noel Grealish (Ind), Deputy Anne Rabbitte (FF) and Deputy Catherine Connolly (Ind).
Cllr Maher said the JPC, which sits around five times per year, was deliberately held on a Mondays to facilitate Oireachtas members who were in the Dáil later in the week. He said there were issues being raised regularly that required raising at a national level and it was incumbent on national representatives to bring those matters back to Dublin.
One such issue was the use of CCTV in the pursuit of illegal dumpers and travelling crime gangs, said Cllr Maher who is Cathaoirleach of the County Council.
“I would like our members of the Oireachtas to be taking the message back on CCTV,” he added, as representatives locally were getting no further as a result of data protection laws.
None of the three Oireachtas members were present for this week’s meeting. Chair of the JPC, Cllr Jim Cuddy, confirmed he had received an apology from Deputy Catherine Connolly.
New Chief Executive for Galway County Council
The new Chief Executive of Galway County Council is set to be unveiled in the coming weeks.
Liam Conneally, who is Director of Services for Economic Development at Clare County Council, is understood to be the preferred candidate following an interview process and has been offered the post.
His appointment will have to be ratified by councillors at an upcoming meeting of Galway County Council.
He will replace Jim Cullen, who was Acting CE for a number of years.
The last permanent CE of the local authority was also a Clare native, Martina Moloney who retired in 2014.
Since then, Kevin Kelly initially and then Jim Cullen have been acting in the roles.
According to his LinkedIn page, Liam Conneally was a senior planner at Limerick City and County Councils for almost three years before taking up the Director of Services role in Clare in 2016.
He was educated at University of Limerick and Queen’s University Belfast.
A native of Ennistymon, he is steeped in the GAA.
“He’s done a very good job in Clare; he’s very dynamic and forward-looking, he will be a good choice for Galway County Council,” said a source familiar with Mr Conneally, and the interview process.
Government completed a review in 2021 about whether it was going to appoint someone permanently into the CE role, which was filled on a temporary/acting basis for almost nine years.
It’s understood that officials in Dublin had delayed filling the role as they wanted to push for an amalgamation of both Councils.
The amalgamation, however, was rejected by local politicians, and has since been put on the back burner.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, is due to retire this year. It’s understood his deputy CE, Patricia Philbin will take the role in an acting capacity until an interview process is completed.