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Connacht Tribune

Galway WFC coming to the boil at perfect time – Clery

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Galway WFC’s new English signing Kaya-Lily Pottinger who will be making her competitive debut for the club against Cork City at Eamonn Deacy Park on Saturday. Photo: Vincent O’Connor Visual Media.

GALWAY WFC manager Billy Clery feels his side are coming to the boil at just the right time as they prepare for their season-opening game against Cork City at Eamonn Deacy Park on Saturday (4pm) in the Women’s National League.

It is a sign of the standards he is setting his side this season that, speaking just after the final whistle of Galway WFC’s final preseason friendly last Saturday, the manager spoke of his frustration at the lack of goals his side scored in the game, a game they had just one 6-0!

“It was an impressive second-half, but in the first half we counted nine or 10 chances and we should have put two or three of them away,” said Clery after the win over Treaty United at Caulfield Industrial Park, Maree/Oranmore FC’s new 4g pitch.

When it is put to him that maybe recording an even bigger winning margin than the one his side just enjoyed might not be of any benefit, the city native moves quickly to dispel such a suggestion.

“Look, there might not be any good in that but you gather a lot of confidence from scoring goals and I would much prefer if we put another two or three or four goals on the scoresheet. There is never anything wrong with scoring goals, it instils confidence.

“True, it was a friendly and you can’t complain with 6-0, but you can’t be faulted with wanting to score more goals either. It was great to see Rachel [Kearns] scoring a couple, Elle [O’Flaherty] scored a couple, Lynsey McKey got a goal, Kaya [Pottinger] got off the mark; while at the other end, we kept a clean sheet, so we’re in a good place going in to next week’s game,” Clery said.

Saturday’s game was the fifth Galway WFC have played in preparation for the new season, with those five games condensed into a two-week window, and the improvement in performance from the first game – a 3-1 win over Athlone Town, also in Maree, back the start of March – to Saturday’s drubbing of the visitors from Limerick was stark.

Club captain Shauna Fox and midfield star Tessa Mullins have both said that, while it is great to get back to training, it is game-time that brings the players on in terms of match fitness and sharpness, and that was very much in evidence last weekend.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Community fights back on hospital ‘downgrade by stealth’

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Raw emotion, sadness and some anger filled the air at Clifden Town Hall on Sky Road last Sunday afternoon as a shaken community gave honest, personal accounts of the impact the closure by stealth of Clifden District Hospital would have on the people of North Connemara.

The public meeting was hastily organised after fears emerged on Friday that the HSE may transfer respite services from Clifden to Merlin Park Hospital, 50-plus miles away in Galway City.

Families were told their loved ones in Clifden Hospital may have to move home, or go to Merlin Park the following Monday, due to ‘issues with staffing’.

An axe has hung over Clifden Hospital for some years, but this latest move stirred the community to fight back to retain services locally.

Galway County Councillor Eileen Mannion (FG), who organised the public meeting with Senator Sean Kyne, said 625 people signed the attendance sheets and an estimated 650 people attended.

“The community effort spreading the word was unbelievable; the turnout was unbelievable,” she said.

“It wasn’t just anger; it was raw emotion in the room. Sadness. Family members spoke about the calls they got on Friday. The feeling that their elderly person was being rejected; that they weren’t being respected.

“One man stood up, three years waiting for respite care for a family member, and then to be told after a few days in there that she’d have to be taken home or to Merlin Park.

“We’re 50 miles from Galway. If there’s no traffic you might get to the outskirts in an hour but with the traffic in Galway, you could be another hour to get to Merlin Park. Not everyone has transport either and they’ve to rely on buses.

“A young woman stood up at the meeting and said her dad was dying in Galway. And she had to go to Saint Vincent de Paul to get money to pay for a B&B so that the family would be close to him when the end came. People gave their personal stories, and it was just heart-breaking.”

(Photo by Carmel Lyden: Teresa Conneely from Roundstone addresses people at the public meeting in Clifden Town Hall).

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the Clifden Hospital story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Pilgrim took to his feet to realise dream!

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Clifden man Breandan O Scanaill, who is on a pilgrimage from his home town of Clifden to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, received a Mayoral welcome and a memorial crest when he arrived at the Asturian town of Navia last week.

Breandan, whose walk from his home outside Clifden to the reputed burial place of St James in Santiago, began in April, was walking through Navia in Spain when a local man came over to chat to him.

“He asked me about my journey and was interested in the fact that an Irish man had turned up in the town,” says Breandan, who had been admiring the Chapel of San Roque at the time.

The local man outlined the history of the building and the town to Breandan and they began chatting more generally about history and architecture – topics dear to the pilgrim’s heart.

Breandán’s new friend introduced himself as the Mayor of Navia, lgnacio Garcia Palacios, who invited the visitor from Clifden to visit the Town Hall.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Local Property Tax rate to stay unchanged despite Council chief’s plea

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Councillors have agreed to keep the Local Property Tax (LPT) rate unchanged – despite pleas from management that Galway County Council is predicted to spend at least €22 million more than it brings in for the next two years.

County Chief Executive Jim Cullen had recommended an increase of 15% on the LPT rate for 2023 and 2024 – amounting to €2.1m extra in the coffers annually – which would bolster its case when it came to pleading for a greater share of funding from central government.

In an estimation of income and expenditure for the Council, taking into account “unavoidable” expenditure and income changes set to hit, the Council would run a deficit of €9.04m in 2023 and 13.2m in 2024 – well over €22m unless there was a change in finances.

“I am hopeful of an uplift in baseline [funding] levels . . . we cannot continue to ignore the fact that other councils have raised LPT and their citizens enjoy a better standard of services that in Galway,” he stressed.

He told a meeting this week that €9m would be needed to maintain services next year at the same level as 2022. This was due to significant cost increases given that inflation is reaching 9.6% currently. Pensions, gratuities and payroll increases from the national pay agreement, increments and additional staff were all adding to bigger outgoings.

Without that extra funding, it will be necessary to reduce spending by that amount with a negative impact on service and staffing levels, he said.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the story, including the councillors’ discussions, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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