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Helping Aussie Rules to get small foothold in Galway

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John O'Regan,

Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon 

One thing you can say about sport in Galway – be it mainstream sport or not – is that it certainly does not lack choice. If there is one that tickles your fancy, there is a fair chance it can be found somewhere in the Corrib region. No wonder then that Aussie Rules should boast of a small claim on this landscape.

Although the Australian Rules Football League of Ireland (ARFLI) has been up and running for over a decade, the West of Ireland branch has only been in operation about half of this time, according to Galway Magpies President and Coach Shaun Murphy, who hails from Bunbury, just south of Perth.

“It started five years ago when one of the lads who was involved in a team in Dublin moved West and started a team up. He (Ciaran O’Hara) had played for the Dublin Demons and the North Leinster Giants, I think, and he pretty much founded the League 10 years ago,” begins the Australian native.

Based out of the Claddagh, the Magpies train every Wednesday (6:30pm) and play their league games on a fortnightly basis. At present, there are six teams competing from around the country. The others are the South Dublin Swans, Dublin Demons, North Leinster Giants, Belfast Redbacks and Cork’s Leeside Lions.

“Obviously, for the away games the numbers can fluctuate, because of the travel involved, but for the home games you get 18 to 20. We played in Dublin recently and we had 16,” says Murphy, referring to the Galway Magpies 50-40 opening day defeat to the Swans.

However, for Murphy, who also plays junior ‘B’ football with An Spidéal – “I have trouble with the solo and picking the ball up off the ground,” he laughs – the result is not the be-all and end-all. The primary purpose of Aussie Rules team is to provide an opportunity to play for those who love the sport.

“Obviously, towards the end [of the league], some of us take it more seriously than others,” he laughs, “but it basically is all about having fun. Most of the away games you stay over, book a hostel and have a few drinks with the other team.

“We only train once a week and then it is every second weekend that we play. We train in the Claddagh – the Swamp – and we try to make it as fun as possible. It is more about participation than anything else.”

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Six Shinners to contest Galway City local elections in 2024

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Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Sinn Féin is planning to run two candidates in each city electoral ward in the next Local Elections in 2024.

Party number-crunchers nationally want to flood local election tickets with candidates to pick up extra seats and capitalise on anti-Government sentiment that is circulating among a cohort of voters.

The Shinners ran too few candidates in the last General Election. It meant they could not capitalise fully from a swing to the party during that campaign. They left seats behind them.

Now they’re planning to run a record number of candidates. In Galway, that would mean two candidates in each of the three areas, City West, City Central and City East.

The thinking is that they need to pick up additional seats in local authority elections, so that they have sufficient councillors to vote for Sinn Féin candidates in Seanad elections. More councillors equals more senators.

Sinn Féin is very much preparing for Government; and while the polls suggest it’s the most popular party (at 34% according to the latest in the Sunday Times last weekend) and would likely win most Dáil seats if an election was held tomorrow, it would still need numbers in the Seanad to pass legislation.

One problem faced by Sinn Féin is the party might find it difficult to source six credible candidates to contest local elections in Galway.

Another problem with running two, rather than one, in each ward in Galway City is that SF could split the vote and end up not winning any seats at all.

In 2019, Councillors Mairéad Farrell, Mark Lohan and Cathal Ó Conchúir all lost their seats after dismal local elections. Farrell was since elected to the Dáil following her Lazarus comeback but the organisation locally is still wary of a fickle Galway electorate.

If Sinn Féin doesn’t win back those three seats lost in 2019, then the next locals would be deemed a massive failure.

Winning more than three seats on Galway City Council would be a success but are the Shinners willing to risk running two candidates in each ward, splitting the vote and ending up with egg on their faces?

Photo: Mairéad Farrell with fellow Sinn Féin members Mark Lohan and Cathal Ó Conchúir (back left) after she was elected to the Dáil in 2020. All lost had their seats in Galway City Council in 2019 after dismal local elections.


This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the January 27 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.


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Connacht Tribune

Galway under a little pressure to stop Mayo’s early-season gallop

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Hall of Fame award winner Tommy Joe Gilmore with his daughter Olivia, his son Brian and daughter in-law Karen Monks at the Metronic Galway Sports Stars banquet in the Galway Bay Hotel on Friday night. Photo: Iain McDonald.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

We won’t even have reached the end of January and the paths of Connacht’s great footballing rivals will have already crossed twice, with the prospect of more clashes between Galway and Mayo before the end of the inter-county season in late July.

The early 2023 bragging rights have gone to Mayo manager Kevin McStay after their defeat of the Tribesmen in the semi-final of the FBD League – a competition they went on to win last weekend with a comfortable 0-13 to 0-9 victory over Roscommon in the Connacht Air Dome.

Though both teams were in understandably experimental mode, Mayo managed to secure this pre-season competition for the first time in a decade with late points from Cillian O’Connor and Conor Loftus sealing the deal. In the overall scheme of things, the FBD league doesn’t count for much but delivering some silverware so early into his tenure won’t do McStay’s management any harm.

Naturally, Mayo will be anxious to keep the momentum going in Saturday evening’s televised National League clash at MacHale Park, especially given that they narrowly failed to Galway in last year’s provincial championship. A first-half Johnny Heaney goal and some quality free-taking from Shane Walsh just about saw the Tribesmen through in the face of a late siege by the home team.

Galway boss Padraic Joyce kept a sense of perspective after that early season loss to Mayo a couple of weeks ago, but he was blunt enough in assessing the merits or otherwise of some of the players being trialled. Joyce is experienced in the post now and knows what he is looking for. And having led Galway to league promotion, the Connacht title and the All-Ireland final last year, he has earned that leverage to call it as he sees it.

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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Connacht Tribune

Caught by online fraudsters – and rescued by the bank

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Somewhere in a supermarket in Australia last week, a person or persons spent €57.88 of my money on food or drink and charged it to my Visa card. Hours later they then repeated the exercise at another branch of Coles, the Melbourne-based multiple – but then their mini-spree came to a shuddering halt.

In truth perhaps, they probably didn’t leave home at all; they may not even have been anywhere near Australia, instead carrying out their shopping online around midday local time – and again for around the same amount an hour or two later.

But then the fraud department of Allied Irish Banks put a halt to their gallop and during the wee small hours inquired if I had somehow made it from conducting an evening online transaction in Galway to buying things from a supermarket in Melbourne, in the process inadvertently breaking the sound barrier while I slept.

And when I replied that indeed I had not, my Visa card was shut down and the prospects of the intrepid Australians buying some serious kit from my pocket disappeared quicker than snow on the outback.

Not alone that but AIB refunded the money these people had spent without my knowledge, allowed me to take a few bob out of the bank without a card – but with ID – and then sent on a brand new card this week.

The embarrassing part was having to confirm that online purchases in the run-up to the Aussie shopping spree were legit; it’s like having a list of misdemeanours read out in court.

There was nothing accusatory in the tone of the nice woman from the bank, who merely inquired if indeed it was me who had gone twice to Mace the previous day; if I’d also bought an album online and paid a monthly subscription for a digital newspaper.

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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