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Connacht Tribune

Galway now have it all to prove after being scalped on home turf



Inside Track with John McIntyre

UNLESS the Galway footballers were pulling the wool over our eyes on a grand scale, they couldn’t have picked a more inopportune time to have produced their worst display of the year when falling meekly to a determined and under-rated Monaghan outfit in the final round of the Super 8s at Pearse Stadium last Saturday.
The Galway players wouldn’t have been human if they struggled to reach the necessary motivation levels given that they were already through to the All-Ireland semi-finals, but there was still a big prize on offer for them in Salthill – avoiding four-in-a-row chasing title holders Dublin at the penultimate stage of the championship.
Not for one minute do I believe that Galway were playing silly beggars. Their camp would have wanted to beat Monaghan, but when you not faced with a do-or die scenario – as their opponents were – standards can drop. Kevin Walsh’s men lacked bite and there was a flatness about their play even if undoubtedly committed.
It was just that Monaghan wanted it more. They devoured the breaking ball; attacked with purpose and width; and had plenty of individual inspiration, not least in Ryan McAnespie, who kicked four terrific points from play, workaholic Dermot Malone, team captain Colin Walshe and tireless midfielder Darren Hughes.
After the trauma of a first ever championship win over Kerry being denied with virtually the last kick of the game in Clones a fortnight earlier, Monaghan’s mental mettle was being tested like never before ahead of their trip West. Malachy O’Rourke’s admirable squad have a track record of falling to get over the line in the key matches, so they had plenty to prove.
Monaghan, however, silenced their critics in emphatic fashion. They virtually bossed the game from start to finish and beating Galway – even a partially switched off opposition – by double scores on their home turf is no mean achievement. They now face old rivals Tyrone on Sunday in what will be the Farney men’s first semi-final in 30 years and, wouldn’t it be heartwarming if the county with the fourth smallest population in the country could make it to the decider.
Unfortunately, Galway face a challenge on an altogether different level on Saturday evening. It’s tough enough have to face the Dublin juggernaut at the best of times, but coming into the fixture just a week after a disappointing defeat and momentum stalled makes the challenge all the more formidable. Kevin Walsh and his backroom team face a mighty challenge in lifting morale and clearing their players’ heads in such a space of time.
Of course, we are all aware that sometimes a team can be at their more dangerous when having a point to prove and coming off the back of a big setback, but Galway looked so out of sorts at Pearse Stadium, Damien Comer and his team-mates will have to turn themselves inside out to have any chance of upsetting the Dubs.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Nurses call in Chief Fire Officer on ED overcrowding



UHG's Emergency Department.

The nurses’ union has formally urged the Chief Fire Officer to investigate 17 alleged breaches of the fire regulations as a result of chronic overcrowding in the emergency department at University Hospital Galway.

It’s the second time the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has done so since Christmas, fearing the lives of staff and patients are being put in grave danger.

The emergency department was busier than normal last week, with between 222 and 251 patients turning up to be seen per day. On Wednesday of last week there were 53 patients waiting on trolleys, according to figures released by the Saolta Hospital group. That went down to 47 on Thursday and Friday.

This week has seen little let up. On Monday and Tuesday the number of people who could only get a trolley was down to 36 and 38 respectively.

Local area representative of the INMO, Anne Burke, said as a result of very high attendances at the temporary emergency department, management had opened a transit area where between 12 and 14 people could be accommodated in cubicles.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Comer has eyes on the prize



Damien Comer undergoing an eye test at Specsavers; the Galway star is encouraging all to look after their eyesight and hearing.

If you Google Damien Comer, the first entry the search returns is a dedicated Wikipedia page, which declares: “He’s better than David Clifford”.

And while Wikipedia as a source of fact isn’t necessarily always reliable, who are we to argue with it?

But whatever about comparisons with Kerry greats, the Annaghdown clubman is certainly up there among Galway’s finest ever footballers.

Winning a first All-Star last season, from his third nomination, was proof of that. It was a special personal accolade, but he’d trade it in a shot for a Celtic Cross.

“It was nice to get but if I finish my career not having won an All-Ireland, I’ll be very disappointed,” he declared.

Comer hints that the 2022 All-Ireland final loss to Kerry last July was not one of his better games in maroon, and it’s one he thinks about regularly.

“Yeah, I would yeah, I’d think about it a bit. But I try to forget it as well, because it wasn’t a good day for me, personally, anyway.

“You try to forget about it and yet you have to try to learn from it and improve on the mistakes you made, and stuff you didn’t do that you should’ve done, and different things that you can bring to this season.

“It’s one that’s hard to forget about really because we were there for so long. Sixty minutes in, neck-and-neck, and then they just pulled away, so it was disappointing,” he said.

Damien Comer has teamed up with Specsavers to encourage people to take a more proactive approach to their eye and hearing health. There’s a full interview with him ahead of Sunday’s National Football League Final, is in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway publican reflects on traumatic journey that ended with his abuser in jail



Paul Grealish. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway businessman Paul Grealish remembers the moment back in 2000 when he was given a sheet of paper and asked to write about his life. He was on weekend-long self-development course that he’d been sent on by his brother John. At the time, John was managing director of their family business for which Paul and their sister, Joan, also worked.

“The course was probably done in an attempt to make it easier to manage me,” says Paul with a laugh, adding that he “was tough to manage” back then.

He was enjoying the course – until he received that blank sheet.

“I got about four or five sentences in, writing about my early life. Until I got to the primary school part . . . I was in tears,” he remembers. “I was so used to compartmentalising things, I didn’t see the danger.”

In the early 1970s, aged nine and ten years, Paul had been beaten and sexually abused by his teacher, Brother Thomas Caulfield, at Tuam CBS primary school.

He had repressed those memories for nearly three decades.

“You bury the memory, and you bury it as deep as you can. There’s an awareness of something terrible there but it’s too frightening for you to actively remember.”

Paul was so terrified of those memories that he’d lost all recollection of his childhood. He couldn’t tell his story.

He was meant to show it to one of the course leaders – a counsellor, he thinks. Instead, Paul put the nearly-blank sheet before the man and explained what had happened.

Realising Paul’s plight, that man gave him a list of phone numbers for counsellors in Galway.

“Every now and again, I’d look at it and think about ringing them but I didn’t,” Paul says.

However, the abuse that had robbed Paul of his childhood and blighted his adulthood with feelings of guilt and self-hatred refused to stay buried. Finally, he knew he had to deal with it. That journey began in the early 2000s and Paul finally got closure earlier this month when Caulfield was sentenced to 27 months in prison – with the final seven suspended – for his crime.

Read Paul’s full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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