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Connacht Tribune

Galway kidney recipient gets ready for World Transplant Games




A Galway city native is representing Ireland on a very special world stage at the end of the month – thanks to her brother’s generosity that gave her a second shot at life.

Sinead McGowan was diagnosed with lupus in 1991, but she has never let that slow her down.

But her condition meant that, in 2009, Sinead underwent a kidney transplant in London – underlining the true meaning of family.

“My brother Seamus donated a kidney to me. I was on dialysis every day for the ten months prior to the transplant,” she recalls.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system starts attacking healthy tissue. Symptoms—including painful and swollen joints, fever, chest pain, hair loss, and a red rash—can range from mild to severe.

There is no cure for the disease, which lowers sufferers’ life expectancy.

But Sinead doesn’t focus on her condition – instead, she concentrated on her career as a project manager for fashion retailers in Sydney, Australia, where she has lived for the past fifteen years.

The 45-year-old from Renmore – whose parents still live in Larchfield Avenue, where she was born and raised – is now among 29 Irish citizens taking part in the World Transplant Games at the end of June in Malaga, Spain.

The Irish team will join others from over 50 countries in what will be the biggest gathering of transplant recipients this year – with nearly 1,000 competitors registered to take on events as diverse as athletics, badminton, swimming, ten pin bowling and darts.

Sinead’s successful athletic career at the Games started in Sweden in 2011.

With a few silvers and a bronze medal already under her belt, she hopes to add to her trophies this year in Malaga, where she will compete in the 5km road race, 400m freestyle swim, 30k bike race and the athletics.

The past pupil of Calasanctius College in Oranmore also loves the training for the Transplant Games, which take place every two years. “It gives me a goal to aim for to ensure I maintain my fitness at a good level,” she says.

“The Irish team are competitive but most importantly great fun. The games are a great way for everybody to honour their ‘gift of life’, meet up with the transplant community and promote organ donation along the way.”

She has travelled from Australia to two of the past three Games, in Sweden and South Africa, and plans to meet up with Transplant Team Ireland again this year in Spain.

The team ranges in age from 30 to 79 and includes five liver transplant recipients as well as 24 kidney transplant recipients—one of whom is also poignantly the father of a deceased organ donor.

Every athlete at the World Transplant Games will have already received a kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas or bone marrow transplant.

The World Transplant Games will run from June 25 to July 2. Transplant Team Ireland’s participation is coordinated by the Irish Kidney Association.

Connacht Tribune

Gardaí investigate fatal Carraroe crash

Enda Cunningham



A man in his 30s has died following a road crash in Carraroe in the early hours of this morning.

At 3.50am, Gardaí and emergency services attended at a single car collision on a minor road.

The driver of the car, a man in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later. A passenger in the car, a male in his 30s, was taken by ambulance to Galway University Hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

The road is currently closed and local diversions are in place. Garda forensic collision investigators will examine the crash site this morning.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Salthill Garda Station (091) 514 720 the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

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Connacht Tribune

Wake-up call as United are pummelled by lively Athlone

Keith Kelly



Galway United substitute Wilson Waweru who scored a consolation goal in their 3-1 First Division defeat to Athlone Town on Friday night.

Athlone Town 3

Galway United 1

IT turned out to be a Bad Friday for Galway United in Athlone as they were outthought, outfought and outplayed by a home side that deserved a far greater reward than a two-goal victory.

All the damage was done in the first-half, with the home side scoring three goals without reply in a 14-minute spell that left the visitors visibly shell-shocked and in danger of shipping an absolute hammering.

United manager, John Caufield, described the first-half as the worst United display since he took charge at the club midway through last season, but it was worse than that: this was 2011 Sean Connor bad (one win in 40 matches), it was 2001 Dave Connell bad (one win in 13).

Both of those seasons ended in United dropping to the First Division, and the First Division is where they will find themselves against next season unless there is an immediate improvement in performance and attitude, starting with this Friday’s trip to Stradbrook to take on Cabinteely.

The post-mortem examination on last Friday should not solely focus on United’s wretchedness: Athlone Town were hugely impressive in recording a first win over United since May 2006, though it should be noted the sides have met just 13 times since the Town dumped United out of the FAI Cup thanks to a 2-1 win in May 2006, a game that saw the end of Stephen Lally’s reign as United manager.

“Galway playing with three at the back, you know, they’re almost three centre-backs really rather than full-backs and we just knew that would be an opportunity for our players to get at them and take them on and I thought James Doona and Adam Wixted did that very well tonight,” Athlone manager Adrian Carberry told the website after the game.

In truth, that was something of an understatement – Wixted and Doona ravished the United back-three in the opening 45 minutes, with all three of the home side’s goals coming from out wide.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway couple take life in the fast lane after losing jobs to pandemic




The Luv2Swim set-up in Carrowbrowne.

A Galway couple who both lost their jobs because of the pandemic are back on the crest of a wave – after opening a swimming pool that allows them to teach and coach swimmers, right beside their family home.

Fitness-loving husband and wife John and Shelly Newell have always had a passion for swimming – but it took the devastation of losing their jobs during Covid to spark the idea of turning it into a highly-specialised business they called Luv2Swim.

They had an idea to build an endless swimming pool and start swimming lessons and swim video analysis in their own private facility, three miles outside Galway city in Carrowbrowne.

And while Level 5 Lockdown has forced them to close for now, their single lane pool will be back, providing a unique facility for adults and children in a safe, fun, and friendly environment.

“Both of us had lost our jobs due to the pandemic and while out walking with our girls, I threw the idea out to John and it took legs from there. It was the beginning of a family business venture,” Shelly said.

But this was more than just a light bulb moment during lockdown; John and Shelly were aware of a recurring problem they had heard many times over the years – people’s anxiety about coming into an overcrowded, noisy, large pool environment.

“Luv2Swim would be Galway’s only private swimming studio providing one-to-one swim lessons and video analysis for adults and children. Swimming is such a vital lifesaving skill and it’s a skill you will have for your whole life,” said John.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from

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