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Connacht Tribune

It’s dressingroom mayhem as Galway United celebrate making FAI Cup history

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By Ciaran Tierney

In May of 1991, Galway United pulled off the greatest triumph in the club’s history when a late goal by team captain Johnny Glynn saw the Tribesmen defeat Shamrock Rovers 1-0 in the final at DALYMOUNT PARK. The Connacht Tribune takes a step back in time and reproduces our post-match coverage of a red letter occasion for the club.

“FANTASTIC”, “Unbelievable”, “Delighted”, “A Dream Come True” – a thousand cliches could hardly begin to describe the ecstatic mood in the Galway United camp after they had defeated Shamrock Rovers to capture a major trophy for the very first time.

Yes, there was that League Cup victory in 1986, but this was the day that will never be forgotten. “Wait ‘til Gazza sees Carraroe!” was the slogan of the moment in the post-match dressing room as players pinched themselves, guzzled back Harp cans, and kept asking each other whether it really was true or if it had sunk in yet.

It was an unusual sight, to say the least, as a large band of Dublin journalists mobbed the likes of Malone, Cleary, and Glynn and few ventured near the morgue which was the Shamrock Rovers room. Few noticed as the dejected Dublin players made a quiet exit from the ground. So much for the pre-match hype!

It was sweet revenge, too, for that narrow defeat back in ’85 when Rovers put an end to Galway’s cup dreams with a “sneaked” late goal. How sweet it was to go to Dublin, out-play the opposition (and a very biased-looking referee), grab a late goal . . . and win! So often in the near past we have seen Galway teams travel to the capital to play in a final, play well, and then have victory snatched from them.

The match programme highlighted the total contrast between the sides. Shamrock Rovers: League Championships, 14; F.A.I. Cup titles, 24. Galway United: League Championships, 0; F.A.I. Cup titles, 0. Galway, one of the youngest sides in the league, were up against the most successful club ever in domestic soccer.

Most of the Dublin papers favoured Rovers, which was hardly surprising considering that some of the journalists had probably not even seen United play this season. But those of us who had witnessed the team’s powerful displays in the earlier rounds – as they saw off the challenges of Cobh (3-1), Shelbourne (2-0), Limerick (2-1) and St. James’ Gate (3-1) – knew just what United were capable of.

This time they left it late, very late. No doubt many fans among the large contingent in the crowd of 15,257 had begun to think about another Dublin trip for the replay until Keane, and Glynn combined so brilliantly to produce the crucial goal.

“Was there really only four minutes left?” asked a delighted John Glynn once he had been surrounded by a sea of notebooks, tape recorders and pens. “Wow . . . I thought there was about ten to go!”

Who will forget 4.45p.m. on Sunday? We were 86 minutes into the game when the decisive breakthrough came. “The ball came in low, I just saw it flying into me and hit it with my left foot,” said John. “I had seen the advertising hoarding behind the goal before the match and decided to run over it if I scored.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

‘Give even one big GAA game to Ballinasloe’

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It’s the most centrally located ground in the country but Ballinasloe’s Duggan Park won’t host a single inter-county match this year – much to the annoyance of one local councillor who wants the GAA to allocate at least one big game to the venue.

Cllr Michael Connolly told a meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council that the ground is entitled to host major football and hurling fixtures – even though all but one of the Galway footballers’ home league games are assigned to Pearse Stadium with the other one in Tuam.

“If they gave us one match in Duggan Park, it would be something,” he said. “But at the moment, it seems as if it is being ignored.”

The Moylough councillor described it as the most accessible ground in the country and a venue in which players and supporters like to travel to – unlike, he suggested, Pearse Stadium.

He said that it was “a hateful venue” and few GAA supporters relished the prospect of travelling to the “far side of the city” to watch a football or hurling match.

A recent meeting in Gullane’s Hotel to discuss Duggan Park was attended by Deputy Denis Naughton, Senator Aisling Dolan, Cllr Evelyn Parsons and Cllr Declan Kelly among others.

But the Duggan Park Committee then issued a statement saying that the ground is owned by Galway GAA and any use of the facility needed to be authorised – and no authorisation was given to the meeting organiser, former Mayor of Ballinasloe Joe Kelly, for this purpose.

Mr Kelly has been a staunch campaigner for the redevelopment of Duggan Park and has called on the local authority to row in behind this initiative.

They went on to say that there is a plan in place for the development of Duggan Park which is multiple staged which started with the new dressing rooms, flood lights and a new entrance to the venue.

Planning permission is in place for this development and that €500,000 has already been spent in the Duggan Park over the past number of years carrying out these projects.

The work in the ground, they say, is done to an excellent standard by local contractors with the support of the previous Town Council for grants and sports capital grants.

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Connacht Tribune

Former tourism magnet officially on register of derelict sites

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The fire-ravaged hotel that was once one of the most popular in the county is now officially considered a derelict site – and that has led a local councillor to call for it to be either redeveloped or levelled.

Portumna’s Shannon Oaks Hotel, for so long popular with anglers and golfers in particular, has been boarded up for more than a decade since it was destroyed by fire.

Local councillor, Jimmy McClearn, has called on the owners to reopen or sell the property – adding that it should either be levelled or redeveloped.

“We are a tourist town and we need a hotel. The last thing we want is for a hotel to be shut up,” he said.

“It is a fine facility and on an extensive site so there is no reason why it should be boarded up,” he added.

The Shannon Oaks saga has gone on for the past twelve years – but now the owners, the multi-millionaire Comer brothers, will be forced to pay a derelict site levy if they do not reopen or redevelop.

That amounts to a seven per cent levy based on the market value of the property, which is worth around €1 million even in its derelict state.

The Shannon Oaks was ravaged by fire in September 2011 and four years later, the site was acquired by the Comer Group who, at the time, gave an undertaking that it would be reopened.

Around two years ago, planning permission was granted by Galway County Council to Barry Comer of the Comer Group to renovate the hotel by providing 60 new bedrooms along with 40 apartments to the rear of the structure.

However, there has been little or no movement on the site since then and now the owners are being again asked to give some indication as to when the hotel will be rebuilt.

It is considered an integral part of the tourism industry for the town and that is why pressure is mounting on the owners to rebuild the hotel.

Cllr McClearn said that all he is asking for is the owners to develop the site and provide a hotel there. “It’s not much to ask in a tourist town,” he added.

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Connacht Tribune

More than €200,000 worth of cannabis seized in East Galway

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More than €200,000 worth of cannabis was seized in during two separate search operations in East Galway on Saturday.

Gardai from the Divisional Drugs Unit conducted a search at a residence in Aughrim and seized cannabis plants with an estimated street value of €146,000 and €20,000 worth of cannabis herb which will now be sent for analysis.

Two men (both in their 30s) were arrested at the scene in connection with the investigation and are currently detained at Galway Garda station under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act, 1996.  Both men remain in custody.

A separate search was carried out at a residence in Ballinasloe yesterday afternoon and cannabis herb with an estimated street value of €35,000 was seized. Cannabis jellies and €7,510 in cash were also seized.

A man in his 40s was arrested and later released without charge and a file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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