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Connacht Tribune

Ireland and Schmidt rocked as World Cup hopes suffer big hit

John McIntyre

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Galway's Seán McDonagh who was honoured as the 2019 Minor Hurler of the Year at the Electric Ireland GAA Minor Star Awards. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

JOE Schmidt’s halo has slipped a little further in the wake of Ireland’s shock World Cup defeat to Japan in Shizouka on Saturday. Suddenly, a dreaded quarter-final against the All-Blacks is now almost inevitable unless there are further unexpected results in Pool A.

It’s a scenario Ireland probably thought that they had avoided when easily dismissing Scotland’s disappointing challenge in the opening round. That performance gave the men in green the ideal platform for the rest of the tournament, only for the wheels to come off in spectacular fashion against the brilliant Japanese.

After their Six Nations struggles, a record-breaking pummelling from England in the build-up to the World Cup, several controversial omissions from the final squad and ongoing concerns about Johnny Sexton’s fitness, there was something of a cloud hanging over Ireland in advance of their long trek to Japan.

But all of that appeared to be left behind after putting Scotland to the sword. This was deemed as the key fixture of the pool and Ireland had got the job done very efficiently, with their physically imposing pack to the fore. The assumption now was that the Irish would drive on ahead of a knock-out collision against South Africa.

Well, that prospect has been virtually kicked to touch after Saturday’s calamitous loss to the host nation. Initially, we were led astray by the action in really demanding humid conditions. Ireland established a 12-3 lead in the opening quarter, with Connacht’s Jack Carty the creator of their tries from Garry Ringrose and Rob Kearney.

Incredibly, Ireland would not score again – a period of nearly 60 minutes – as the Japanese stormed back into the contest. Ya Tamura kicked his penalties, while they created a superb second-half try from Kenki Fukuoka to turn the match completely on its head. It says everything about Ireland’s collapse that they were content to settle for a losing bonus point in the end.

Some Irish players were out on their feet long before the finish on a chastening day when individual inspiration was sadly lacking as the game progressed. Some chickens came home to roost as well. Rory Best’s lineout accuracy again was a problem, Conor Murray is simply not the player he was, while Peter O’Mahony’s lack of discipline also hurt the team.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Galway Real Estate have attractive site for sale on the Aran Islands

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Oghill, Inishmore, Aran Islands.

Galway Real Estate have an attractive site/property for sale at Oghill, Inishmore, Aran Islands.

The site is approximately c.150 square metres. (c.1600 sq. ft.) on c.1 acre with planning permission to convert to a dwelling house and fit a new waste water treatment system. Planning Ref: 17/1284. There are two years  left on planning. The planning is for a proposed 4 bedrooms, kitchen, dining/room, laundry/room, bathroom. This is a wonderful opportunity to get a property ready to go. Offers in excess of €125,000 considered.

Full details from Paddy Flynn 0872557618 or Galway Real Estate on 091565488 or email: info@galwayrealestate.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Aran to welcome Ireland’s largest domestic passenger ferry

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Saoirse na Farraige

The largest domestic passenger ferry in the country is making its journey from the Far East to the Far West – ready to commence service from Galway to the three Aran Islands.

The 40-metre ‘Saoirse na Farraige’ represents a massive investment – and vote of confidence – in island tourism on the part of the owners, Aran Island Ferries.

Commissioned in January 2019, this sixth member of their fleet has a capacity of 400 – and it is expected to arrive in Galway Bay from Hong Kong in October.

The vessel departed Hong Kong last week, embarking on a 2,500 mile journey to Galway Bay – inside the hold of a heavy lift ship called Svenja’”.

Saoirse na Farraige has at least three more stops to make before arriving in Galway Bay at the end of October – and it won’t not enter service until next spring.

Aran Island Ferries Sales and Marketing Manager, Aine McLoughlin, said that they were looking forward to seeing visitors enjoy their journey to the Aran Islands, enjoying the increased capacity, accessibility, and safety features.

“We are really looking forward to officially launching ‘Saoirse na Farraige’ next year and seeing visitors enjoy their journey to the Aran Islands on board our new ferry,” she said.

Saoirse na Farraige will serve all three islands from Rossaveel – with a journey time of 40 minutes to Inis Mór, 50 minutes to Inis Meáin, and 55 minutes to Inis Oírr.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in now – or download our digital edition at www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Emergency Department upgrade will happen at UHG – but it’s complicated

Denise McNamara

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The current ED at UHG.

Revamping the emergency department at UHG will involve three separate projects – leading to the hospital’s chief describing the process as ‘very complex’.

City Councillor John Connolly (FF) said the people of Galway were concerned that the new emergency department – like the ring road – would never happen, as it appeared to be so bound up in red tape.

Joe Hoare, assistant national director of estates in HSE West, told the Regional Health Forum West meeting that that outpatients department adjacent to the emergency department was being redeveloped to create more capacity for streaming Covid patients from non-Covid patients for the winter.

The outpatients department would be relocated to the Merlin Park campus. The design for this building would be completed within ten months with construction expected to begin in by last 2021 at the earliest.

An interim emergency department was the next priority so that the current building could be knocked to make way for the new state-of-the-art building, creating a new maternity department and paediatrics unit.

Since the budget for the new children’s hospital had blown out of all proportion, the rules over public projects over €100 million had changed and the Saolta hospital group had to ensure its business case for the massive project was ‘watertight’.

Mr Hoare said all three projects were moving in parallel, including the enabling works for the main build, which would take around 18 months to complete.

He described the project as Saolta’s ‘absolute top priority and was regarded as such by the national HSE organisation.

Head of Saolta, Tony Canavan, said the project was ‘big and very complex’ and required management to remain ‘very focused over a long time’.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in now – or download our digital edition at www.connachttribune.ie

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