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All-Ireland winning captains set for Galway charity event

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It will easily set a new world record – up to seventy senior All-Ireland winning hurling and Gaelic football captains, whose success spans eight decades, will descend on Galway this week for a unique walk for charity.

The All-Ireland winning captains are one of the highlights of what will be the greatest gathering of past and present GAA legends ever when hundreds of the all-time greats of Gaelic football, hurling and camogie take part in the 100,000 Steps for Cormac.

The three-day event, in memory of the late Cormac Connolly, is in aid of Pieta House and takes place next weekend from Thursday to Saturday, August 28-30.

Brian Smith, Meath’s All-Ireland football captain in 1949, and Jimmy Finn, who led the Tipperary hurlers to glory in 1951, are among the earliest captains to agree to take part.

Last year’s senior All-Ireland winning hurling captain, Clare’s Pat Donnellan, is also on board for the event which highlights the work of suicide prevention charity, Pieta House.

The captains’ gathering, on Saturday week is the third leg and culmination of the three-day monumental event that aims to raise awareness, as well as €100,000 for Pieta House.

The driving force behind the event, Cormac’s uncle, Galway All-Ireland winning captain in 1980, Joe Connolly, explains that exactly 100 All-Ireland winning captains are alive today.

Of these, seven from Kilkenny – including current manager Brain Cody and six of the panel – as well as three from the current Dublin football squad and Michael Murphy from Donegal, are unable to attend due to commitments on the field of play.

“As of now, we have between 60 and 70 All-Ireland captains who are coming. It is absolutely unbelievable. A gathering of all living All-Ireland winning captains has never been done in the history of the GAA. I got a letter from Tommy Wall, 1958 Tipperary winning captain who was on the millennium team and he said, ‘It should be great’. Everyone is really looking forward to it,” said Joe Connolly.

Saturday’s Walk with the Captains starts at 1pm in Athenry, through to Oranmore, on to Castlegar and finishing at Ballybrit Racecourse.

Fittingly, legendary RTÉ broadcaster, Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh will be at Galway Racecourse to MC and interview on the night. Ollie Turner, of Galway Bay FM, and Jim Carney of the Tuam Herald, will be involved in interviews over the three nights.

The event begins next Thursday, August 28 at 1pm with the Walk with the Clubs starting in Portumna and heading to Killimor, Mullagh and finishing at Kiltormer pitch.

The special guests are representatives from all Galway GAA clubs that have won All-Ireland titles including seven hurling clubs, three football clubs, five camogie clubs and one ladies football.

The organisers hope that representatives from every GAA club in Galway will participate in this leg, and will wear their club colours to show support for the work being done by Pieta House, to help those struggling with suicidal thoughts and mental health difficulties, a problem that afflicts all parishes.

The final leg of the first day’s walk, from Mullagh to Kiltormer, will be particularly poignant. Cormac Connolly won medals at U16 and minor for Castlegar and he played against Kiltormer in the final; and so Castlegar and Kiltormer will join forces on the day and walk the last leg together.

Cormac died of an inoperable brain tumour at the age of 24 on July 25, 2011, but his family chose to support Pieta House in this event, to help prevent other families from going through the pain and suffering of losing a loved one.

The Walk with Champions is on Friday, August 29 at 1pm from St Thomas’ pitch in Peterswell to Loughrea, on to Sarsfields and from Bullaun to New Inn. Pupils at New Inn primary school are dancing 100,000 steps for Cormac to raise funds for the event.

The special guests on this ‘champions day’ are representatives of Galway’s All-Ireland winning  senior teams including six football, three hurling, two camogie and one ladies football from 1956 to 2013. The 94 Galway All-Stars from 1971 onwards in all GAA codes have been invited to walk on Friday, too.

Joe Connolly stresses that all clubs – not just GAA clubs – are welcome, and encouraged to participate, be they bridge clubs or rugby clubs or whatever.

“It is open to everyone. It is built around the captains but we want everyone to take part. The GAA isn’t in competition with other sports – the competition is drink and drugs and mental health,” he says.

For more information on how to get involved on make a donation:
Visit 100kstephsforCormac.com or visit the Facebook page.
You can also register to do the walk here or make a donation here or call Joe Burke on 085 7388908 or email Cormac100ksteps@yahoo.ie

CITY TRIBUNE

Plan for ‘world-class’ campus with potential for 10,000 jobs at Galway Airport

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From this week’s Galway CIty Tribune – A proposal to transform the former Galway Airport into a ‘world-class’ business and technology campus has been drawn up by Galway County Council – with the potential to create up to 10,000 jobs.

The plan, which was compiled as part of the Draft County Development Plan, proposes a multi-million-euro investment in the 115-acre site owned jointly by the County and City Councils.

According to the vision document, the airport site at Carnmore could become a key economic driver that would “attract and secure long-term investment in Galway and the western region, and underpin the development of the Galway Metropolitan Area”.

Among the sectors identified as potential occupants are renewable energy, biodiversity, food science and logistics.

Some of the structures included for are a ‘landmark building’; commercial units; park amenity and recreation space; a renewable energy park; and a multi-purpose leisure facility.

A contemporary development with the potential to accommodate emerging industries is promised, with projected employment numbers ranging between 3,500 to 10,000 over time.

However, county councillors raised concerns at a meeting this week that the proposal they had seen in the Development Plan had been ‘sitting on a shelf’ since last March – and they still hadn’t seen what was dubbed ‘the masterplan’ for the airport site.

Cllr Liam Carroll (FG) told the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District meeting that the recent news that Oranmore was among the locations being looked at by multinational tech giant, Intel, put fresh focus on the future of the airport.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Work expected to start on Galway City cycleways next summer

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The first six projects in the city’s major new cycle network are expected to begin construction by next June.

In an update on developments that are in train to improve the lot of cyclists, councillors at this week’s local authority meeting were told that the Martin Roundabout (near the Galway Clinic) would next be changed to a junction and the BusConnects, involving priority bus lanes from Moneenageisha to University Hospital Galway, were advancing.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has approved a raised cycle lane north of Railway Bridge on Doughiska Road South and for a shared street south of the bridge.

Eglinton Canal will turn into a shared cycle and pedestrian path. Four weeks of public consultation on both of these is set to begin in October, with the projects set to go to detailed design and tender following final NTA approval.

Ballybane, Castlepark and Bóthar Stiofáin Roads will also go to public consultation for “raised adjacent cycle schemes” a month after that.

The six projects are expected to begin construction by the end of June or early July next year.

Millars Lane is currently in preliminary design stage after clearing works were carried out last November.

Options are being examined and parking survey prepared for Threadneedle, Bishop O’Donnell, Dr Mannix, Devon Park, Salthill Road Upper and Lower Roads with input and designs from the Parkmore Strategic Framework awaited for the Monivea and Doughiska North Roads.

Active Travel Schemes had been approved in principle by the NTA for Ballyloughane and Clybaun South Roads, involving pedestrian crossings, traffic calming, signalisation of junctions and the integration of safe school routes.

Cllr John Connolly (FF) noted that the first quarter of 2021 was when some of these projects were to go to construction, according to a previous timetable.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Pamela’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Racecourse Park and Ride a non-runner for Christmas in Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The lack of a park and ride service this Christmas will drive shoppers out of town at a time when businesses are struggling to recover from months in lockdown, the Mayor has warned.

This is after it was revealed that the City Council has failed to secure an alternative location for the service – with its usual base at Galway Racecourse out of action due to the ongoing vaccination programme.

The service, which had previously operated for the three-week period in the run up to Christmas, enabled motorists to park their cars in Ballybrit and take a return trip by bus to town at a cost of just €2 – taking hundreds of cars out of the city centre.

The Mayor, Cllr Colette Connolly, said it was ‘completely ludicrous’ that it would not be in operation this year, in a city that was already gridlocked with car traffic.

“I think that it is a retrograde step not to proceed with the Christmas Park and Ride because we know what will happen – we’ve seen before what happens at the Corrib Centre around Christmas where traffic backs up and people get stuck in the car park,” said the Mayor.

This would result in shoppers from outside the city avoiding coming in, while others would go to other towns and cities to avoid traffic misery.

“They will go to Limerick or to Dublin, which is only two-and-a-half hours away. They will go to Athlone, because they may as well go there, rather than spend two hours sitting in traffic on Lough Atalia,” added the Independent councillor.

In Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath’s report to councillors, it is stated that “it is looking unlikely that Galway City Council will be able to run the Christmas Park and Ride in 2021”.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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