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Galwayman back on Countdown after summer of stardom

Dara Bradley

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Galway’s ‘Countdown king’ returns to the small screen next week for the finals of the British television game show.

Liam Moloney (37) from Renmore in the city is back on Channel 4’s Countdown next Wednesday, December 16, where he is competing in the quarter-finals of the popular letters and numbers quiz programme with the distinctive signature tune.

A self-professed ‘biggest fan ever’ of Countdown, Liam’s dream of taking part came true earlier this Summer when he made it through to the televised shows.

Now, having done so well in July, Liam is one of eight contestants returning to compete in the finals, which will be screened for a week with the ‘grand final’ going out on December 23.

The shows were pre-recorded in November but Liam is tight-lipped about how he got on.

“You’ll have to tune in on Wednesday. But let’s just say, what I lacked in knowledge I made up for in heart,” he chuckles.

Liam broke Countdown records during a remarkable run of results in July when he won six games on the trot. He is the third highest points scorer in the history of the game show for contestants on six rounds of the show. His average score was 111, for six games and he almost hit 700 points, and achieved the highest points earned by any contestant not to have won eight games.

“It’s a small bit of history,” he says.

Liam says the reaction to his participation on the show has been “incredible”.

“It was unbelievable the reaction I got. And it swelled when I had an article in the Tribune and it was on Galway Bay FM. A lot of people were coming up to me saying they read about it or heard it on the radio. There was a huge following then of people who watched the show. It was like a mini celebrity status. Irish people have thing about begrudging but there wasn’t a whiff of it. Everyone was so pleased to see me do so well,” he says.

During his stint this Summer, Liam broke the highest score so far this season, with a tally of 118. He then went and broke his own record, with another season best of 121 points. He scored two nines in the letters’ game – practised and departing – which is the top mark. But he’s also come up with some humdingers sevens and eights, including ‘inchoate’ (just begun or not formed), ‘soigneur’ (a masseuse for cyclists), and ‘meiosis’ (cell-division).

Liam says many of the other contestants were ‘eccentric’ and that he was “proud to be just a normal guy” who did so well on the show.

“It was like ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoos’ Nest’ at times in there!; they have just got massive brains – you’d want to see them . . . I was just so proud to have done so well and I just want to thank people for all the support they have shown me,” adds Liam.

Liam is seeded seventh in the finals and in the quarter-final he is paired-off against the second seed. His quarter-final, presented by Nick Hewer and assistants Rachel Riley and Susie Dent in the ‘dictionary corner’, is televised on Wednesday, December 16 at 3.10pm and is repeated early the following morning.

Connacht Tribune

A Moycullen win would add badly needed spice to football’s big day

John McIntyre

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Conor Reddington of Annaghdown and Tuam Stars' Adam Carton in action during the North Board Minor B football final at Tuam Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

BEFORE a ball was kicked in this year’s Galway senior championship, the smart money would have been on champions Corofin, Tuam Stars, Salthill/Knocknacarra and Mountbellew/Moylough making it to the semi-finals if they managed to keep out of each other’s way on the road to the penultimate stage off the title race.

Unfortunately, for a Salthill team which, in any event, didn’t scale their expected heights this year, they came up against the champions in the quarter-finals where the Seasiders’ challenge was dismissed in convincing fashion. It was business as usual for Corofin who remain odds on to claim a record-breaking eighth consecutive title.

With Tuam Stars edging out Bearna after extra-time, a Paul Kelly goal helping Moycullen get the better of St James’, and Mountbellew/Moylough powering home against 14-man Killannin, it means that three of last year’s semi-finalists are back seeking a place in the Galway decider this weekend. Mountbellew/Moylough are the odd ones out having fallen to Corofin in the 2019 quarter-finals.

Val Daly’s troops will need the performance of the lives to overturn club’s football’s dominant power, especially as they continue to field without county player John Daly – a son of their manager. Of course, they are not without a chance and if the likes of Michael Daly, Matthew Barrett, Eoin Finnerty, Eoin Ryan and Barry McHugh hit the ground running, they could give Corofin a searching time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Greens see red on gold rush

Dara Bradley

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Opposition is intensifying to the prospect of a licence being awarded to Canadian gold prospectors planning to explore the heart of Connemara.

Environmental campaigners have warned of the dangers of awarding a prospecting licence to Toronto-based MOAG to mine for gold and silver in land around Roundstone, Ballyconneely and Ballynahinch.

They claim the exploration could devastate water supplies, tourism, wildlife – and also led to tensions in the local community.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton has indicated he intends to grant a prospecting licence to the company to explore for the valuable minerals in townlands in Ballynahinch Barony.

The licence allows the holder to explore for mineral deposits, and does not authorise mining of any materials that are found – that requires further licensing.

And Minister Bruton’s Department insists that the activities permitted under this licence are “non-invasive” and “of minimal environmental impact”.

However, campaigners have warned of the dangers mining can have on Connemara, and have urged the public to object before July 6.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Controversial Ballinasloe landfill prepares for closure

Declan Tierney

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The Galway dump that forced householders to close their windows during the hottest of summers will take in waste for the last time during the middle of this year.

The pong the emanated from the landfill site in Kilconnell will be no more as it will cease accepting waste by the end of June next year.

Ballinasloe area councillors were told how Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site following the liquidation of the former operators Greenstar.

The Council agreed to accept 300,000 tons of municipal waste over a three-year period and this will come to an end by the middle of next year, after which the dump will be capped and closed the following year.

Director of Services Jim Cullen informed a meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council that following the closure of the dump, there would be long term care of the site to ensure that there would be no adverse environmental issues.

When Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site, an allocation of €300,000 was provided by the Department of the Environment for local projects.

Of this, €120,000 has been given to the area engineer to spend at his discretion and the remaining €180,000 has been dispersed equally among the six Ballinasloe councillors – resulting in each getting €30,000 to spend on projects in their area.

It is expected that a further €300,000 will be allocated to organisations within a certain radius of the landfill site and a committee made up of Cllr Aidan Donohue (FG), Cllr Dermot Connolly (SF) and Cllr Timmy Broderick (Ind) to decide how this fund will be dispersed.

For years, the dump in Kilconnell caused annoyance for local residents because of the smells emanating from the site and many householders say that it is still a major problem.

Cllr Michael Finnerty warned about the possibility of a run-off of leachate – a liquid that drains from landfill sites that can cause pollution – from the site into the future.

He said that he attended a meeting in Ballinasloe in which residents expressed concern about a leachate run-off from the old dump in Poolboy which has been closed down for years.

He was assured by Mr Cullen that the situation in Poolboy was being continually monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency but he would investigate these claims.

With regard to the closure of the dump in Kilconnell, Cllr Aidan Donohue said that he was not convinced about the ongoing maintenance of the site into the future.

He said when the landfill site in New Inn was closed many years ago, the Council just walked away and left the site in an unacceptable state.

The Fine Gael councillor was referring to suggestions that the Kilconnell site might have future potential and may be an asset but he cited what happened in New Inn when he said that it was just abandoned.

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