Date Published: 14-Apr-2011
GALWAY City teenagers Jennifer Hegarty and Conor O’Shea will both hope to make their mark when they travel to take part in the European U-19 Squash Championships at Sport Park Pilatus Kriens in Lucerne, Switzerland this coming week.
Getting underway on Saturday – and running to Sunday, April 24 – the championships will host approximately 120 players from 20 countries across the continent. In the opening rounds, Hegarty will face Marina De Juan of Spain while O’Shea has been paired against Remo Handl of Switzerland.
No doubt, these are exciting times for the duo and, in particular for Hegarty, as she endeavours to juggle her squash and Leaving Cert. commitments.
Hegarty, though, will travel to Switzerland in high spirits, having defeated the equally promising Elaine Ware in the Irish U-19 squash decider, on a scoreline of 3-1, at her home club, Galway Lawn Tennis Club recently.
This was Hegarty’s first win over Carlow girl Ware and it couldn’t have come at a better time. “It should be good, but it is going to be tough,” says the Newcastle girl of the upcoming championships. “A lot of the other countries are better than Ireland, generally. Last year, we finished 13th, so hopefully we can break into the top 10 this year.”
With both individual and team events taking place in Lucerne, Hegarty – who also represented Ireland at the Europeans in Vienna, Austria last year and, previously, at the U-15 Home Internationals in Leeds three years ago – says it is imperative she performs to the best of her ability.
“I hope to go to the Worlds this year, and represent Ireland. Maybe next year, then, I would like to go on the pro circuit and see what it is like. The Worlds, though, are on in (Harvard University, Boston) America in July (20th to 30th) and there will be a team of five girls going to that.”
However, despite being the Irish U-19 champion, she says that still does not guarantee her seat to the United States. “You still have to earn the place because they (Squash Ireland) might, instead, bring the younger players to give them experience. So, I have to do well at the Europeans,” insists the 18-year-old Yeats College student, who hopes to study PE teaching at third level later in the year.
In addition to the coaching she has received from GLTC’s Edwin Brennan and David Noone, Hegarty has also received advice from top class squash players, John Rooney and Arthur Gaskin.
“Yeah, I got some coaching off John a few times. It was really good and I learned some new things,” she says. “I also got some coaching from Arthur Gaskin, who is now the Irish No. 1. That was really, really good.”
Daughter of former Ireland tennis player Donal and Martina Hegarty, the multi-talented teenager has also played Gaelic football with St. Michael’s, hockey with Galway Hockey Club and soccer with Salthill Devon.
That said, her sporting priority these days is squash and when she travels to the championships, alongside Conor Lavin, Michael Stewart, Ware and, of course, O’Shea – who was on the Irish boy’s team that took part in the World Junior Championships in Ecuador last year – Hegarty will be hoping that both she and Ireland can improve on previous showings.
Galway County VEC Chief takes High Court case
Date Published: 07-May-2013
The High Court is hearing arguments from the state in an action brought by two VEC bosses who are challenging the loss of an annual allowance worth 12 and a half thousand euro.
Former president of the GAA Joe McDonagh who’s the CEO of County Galway VEC and Dr Katie Sweeney, CEO of Mayo VEC, say a special Transport Liaison Officers Allowance should not have been cut, even though that part of their role no longer operates.
Lawyers for the Department of Education deny the allowance is part of their pay.
The case is in the context of planned changes within the VEC system under the Croke Park agreement.
Planning go ahead for community facility in Doughiska
Date Published: 09-May-2013
A hotel in the city is to be changed into a community facility.
Planning permission has been granted to DRA Community Development Company Limited to redevelop the ‘Racing Lodge Hotel’ in Doughiska.
It’s planned to use the building for community, educational and pastoral use.
Planners have attached 4 conditions to the development, including the stipulation that all uses at the building be on a not-for-profit basis.
Galway call for Transport Minister to intervene in bus strike
Date Published: 13-May-2013
City Councillor Michael Crowe is calling on the Transport Minister Leo Vradkar to urgently intervene to end strike action by Bus Eireann in Galway.
Major travel disruption is expected in Galway and nationwide as the national strike enters its second day.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing their picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city.
It’s understood up to 80 Galway workers took part in the picket on rotational rosters yesterday.
Speaking on Galway Talks, City Cllr Michael Crowe said Minister Vradkar needs to take urgent action to intervene so that transport services can be restored.