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Connacht Tribune

Galway’s Pocket Rocket seeks a helping hand!

Dara Bradley

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She’s known as the ‘Pocket Rocket’, and 21-years-old Sinead Keon from Moyglass, Kylebrack near Woodford has many more medals in her trophy cabinet than years she’s spent competing . . . but the one thing she hasn’t yet been able to source is a sponsor.

The sporting achievements of Sinead, who has a form of dwarfism, this year, were recognised at the Irish Grand Prix Awards ceremony held in Kilkenny last Saturday night.

It was another busy season for the Galway athlete who competed in eight home games, and two International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Games in Portugal and Athlone.

The highlight of the year came in Athlone in July when Sinead recorded a new Irish and European javelin record – with a 16.85 metres throw.

For this, she was lauded with the Jimmy Byrne Award at the ceremony in Kilkenny, as well as coming first overall in javelin in Ireland for the year, and third overall in shot putt.

However, Sinead Keon is still on the lookout for sponsorship, as she sets her sights on competing at the IWAS World Games in Sharjah, UAE next year.

In February, she will join a team of nine athletes who will represent Ireland at the games. It will cost at least €1,700 to compete at UAE.

Her ultimate goal is to qualify and compete at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo – all of her exploits next season will be focused on qualifying for Japan.

Sinead’s list of achievements over the past five years since she began competing include being the current holder of the Irish and European record in javelin in her class (F41)

She has represented Ireland at seven World Games and won gold medals at discus and shot putt, three silver medals in javelin and two bronze in shot putt. She is a two-times World table tennis champion and has won countless medals at Irish and UK National competitions.

A past pupil of Mercy College Woodford, Sinead has a restricted growth condition known as Achondroplasia, which is a form of dwarfism.

She is one of just three young people in Galway who has the condition. Sinead is just over four feet tall, and is unlikely to grow more than a half a foot further even in adulthood. The top of her legs and the top of her arms are short, and so her reach is very restricted. She became involved in sport in 2012 and has excelled in her chosen fields.

Connacht Tribune

Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer

Denise McNamara

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Ninety-five year old Margaret Kenny was first person to be administered the Covid-19 vaccination Practice Nurse Deirdre Furey at the Surgery Athenry.

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

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara

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Linda Hughes, presenting the RTÉ weather forecast live in studio.

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

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Connacht Tribune

Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Quinn...back home after an incredible few months.

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

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