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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Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer
On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.
Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.
While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.
“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.
“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”
Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!
Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.
But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.
The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.
She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.
The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.
“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.
“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”
Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery
Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.
But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.
The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.
To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.
“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.
But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.
Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie