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Connacht Tribune

Galway’s ‘magnificent seven’ but Harte unlucky not to make team

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GALWAY DOUBLE: Hurler of the Year, Joe Canning, and Young Hurler of the Year, Conor Whelan, at the PwC All Stars banquet in the Convention Centre, Dublin on Friday night.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

Ahead of last week’s announcement of the 2017 hurling All Stars, I was concerned that David Burke mightn’t make the line-up. After all, he had been left out of the Sunday Game’s ‘Team of the Year’ on the night of the All-Ireland final and an exaggerated credence was being given to an admittedly disjointed display from the Galway captain in the championship semi-final against Tipperary.

Other than epic high-wire August clash, Burke had been in regal form all season. Last March he scored six points from play against Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds after Galway had a difficult opening, while his Man of the Match performance in the All-Ireland final against Waterford played a huge role in the Tribesmen bringing the McCarthy Cup West for the first time in 29 years.

Reflecting on his overall performances in 2017, Burke ought to have been an automatic choice on the All Stars despite a couple of experts in Sunday newspapers also leaving him out of their selections as well. The St Thomas’ clubman led from the front this year helping to steer Galway to an unprecedented haul of league, Leinster and All-Ireland titles in the space of a few months.

Burke was one of seven Galway players to make the All-Stars team, with the inclusion of Padraic Mannion, Daithí Burke, Gearóid McInerney, Joe Canning, who was deservedly acclaimed the ‘Hurler of the Year’ at the presentation banquet in Dublin last Friday, Conor Whelan and Conor Cooney a fitting reward for their individual exploits during a magnificent season.

However, it’s difficult not to feel some sympathy for one Galway player whose strong claims for an All Star were ignored. Defender Aidan Harte took his all-round game to new levels in 2017. And though he was employed as a sweeper some days, the Gort man thrived in the responsibility and he also scored two crucial points in that season-changing comeback league quarter-final win over Waterford at Pearse Stadium last March. Harte would have been on my team at the expense of Cork’s Mark Coleman, who admittedly was having a fine season until he was blown away by Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Surprisingly, Harte is the only one of Galway’s starting team against Waterford who can add to his medal haul ahead of Sunday’s county semi-finals at Kenny Park. Champions in 2011 and ’14, his club Gort will be aiming to justify pre-match favourtism against Craughwell in a repeat of last year’s semi-final which went down to the wire.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Gort set for transformation under regeneration plans

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Gort...set for major revitalisation.

The revitalisation of the town of Gort received another major shot in the arm last week when it was one of 27 landmark projects to share in the latest €21.5 million Rural Regeneration Development Fund.

The Gort Inse Guaire project received €798,000 towards the re-design of the Market Square and town centre streets, as well as reinvigorating the Canon Quinn Park greenspace in the town centre.

The Gorgeous Gort Forum – the representative body for all local community groups, clubs and organisations which drove this application – welcomed ‘the wonderful news’.

“We thank the Minister for approving funding for our town, and all the team in Galway County Council who we supported in developing and submitting this application and the local representatives who supported this application.

“We also thank the over 40 organisations, clubs and groups in our community, who we represent, that provided invaluable letters of support’, said Gorgeous Gort Forum chairperson Justin McDermott.

The Forum supported Galway County Council in the development and submission of this application.  This included organising letters of support from over 40 various clubs, organisations, and groups in Gort which they represent.

The group also facilitated meetings between Galway County Council and key community stakeholders, and worked with local elected representatives, including Minister Anne Rabbitte, Sean Canny TD, Ciaran Cannon TD and local councillors including Joe Byrne, PJ Murphy, and Geraldine Donoghue, to lobby the minister on behalf of the community.

The news was warmly welcomed from all fronts, with local TD Ciaran Cannon describing it as an ambitious investment in Gort, building on a very strong community spirit in the town.

And his fellow Galway East TD Sean Canney particularly welcomed the work on Canon Quinn Park, which he described as ‘an underutilised yet vital greenspace within the centre of the town’.

“In order to capitalise on this invaluable resource, the park requires diversification and redesign to improve usages, discourage anti-social behaviour and provide a green lung for the town centre,” he said.

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Award-winning Galway Traveller Movement reveals impact of Covid on its education programme

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Galway Traveller Movement Education Project Worker Anne Marie Stokes (front) with (from left) Deirdre Mortell, CEO Rethink Ireland; Declan Black, Managing Partner, Mason Hayes & Curran LLP and Minister Joe O’Brien at the announcement of the €1.2m Engage & Educate Fund awardees.

The Galway Traveller Movement has revealed the impact Covid-19 has had on its efforts to ensure access to education for all – with a lack of technology making it particularly difficult to accommodate home schooling.

GTM’s Education Coordinator Aisling Egan said that the pandemic added to the challenges for the group, and for Traveller families generally who face unique barriers with literacy and language issues.

“We linked in with these families, supplied the technology needed and offered any help that we possibly could in supporting them through the pandemic”, said Aisling.

“We’re only now seeing the huge disadvantage that COVID-19 has created for Traveller children – but with projects like ours in place, hopefully we can be there to deal with those issues at the very early stages and it doesn’t have a negative impact on the rest of their school experience,” she added.

The GTM was last week announced as one of the recipients of the €1.2m Engage & Educate Fund – one of five organisations receiving grants and non-financial supports packages in the largest ever financial pot since the project began.

The Galway Traveller Movement’s education programme has worked with over 100 children in Galway City and County since its establishment.

GTM provides assistance to families who have had negative experiences in school, breaking the cycle of community members leaving school and empowering Travellers to progress with their education and succeed.

The project aims to reach potential early-school leavers at a primary and post-primary level.

The project operates creative and culturally specific workshops in consultation with Traveller youth, that build self-esteem and belonging.

The members also work with policymakers locally and nationally to influence change with the view to ensuring equality outcomes for the Traveller community.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Galway’s Living Bog will become showpiece for environmental and educational visits

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A picture taken in pre-Covid days replicating the old ways of turfcutting at Carrownagappul Bog with the ‘slaner’ Tommy Cunningham firing the sods up the ‘spreader’ Paul Connaughton. Now the bog is set for a new lease of life as a national visitor attraction.

A STRETCH of bog in North-East Galway is set to become a major showpiece in terms of environmental, tourism and educational visits, according to the leader of the local group involved in the project.

Former TD and Minister of State, Paul Connaughton, told the Connacht Tribune this week that the 3,000-acre Carrownagappul Bog in Mountbellew was now regularly attracting TV crews from all over Europe to film what was going on there.

According to the NPWS (National Parks and Wildlife Service), the bog has been described as ‘one of the most beautiful in Europe’ with the potential to become one of Ireland’s foremost bogs to visit due to its unique flora, fauna, folklore and location.

Chairman of the local Carrownagappul Bog Committee, Paul Connaughton, said that the site was just opening up for a whole series of educational tours early in 2020 when the Covid pandemic intervened.

“There is however no doubt in my mind at all that over the coming years that the Carrownagappul Bog Project will be attracting visitors not just in Ireland but from different parts of the world as well.

“The project is very special in that it involved the co-operation of local people whose families had cut turf in the bog for years but who are now committed to seeing this project develop into a local tourism and educational hub,” said Paul Connaughton.

Back in the early Summer of 2011, there was close to a confrontation between local turfcutters and the NPWS when an order was issued to cease cutting immediately on the bog.

Eventually a compromise was reached in which turf was allowed to be cut for that year before a more long-term compensation package was agreed (€1,500 pa for 15 years) while alternatively a number of cutters were offered an alternative bog site to cut turf, close by.

“Already the project is employing five people and we can this figure growing over the coming years with second and third-level colleges across the region and country involved in visits to the site.

“In total, we estimate that between the compensation scheme and improvement works carried out to the roadways through the bogs – as well as the construction of two boardwalks – that spending so far has been in the region of a half-million euros,” said Paul Connaughton.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

 

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