An election wipeout is facing the Labour Partyin Galway on Friday as the voters of the city turn their backs on the most popular party five years ago.
Privately, Labour, currently the biggest party on Galway City Council with five seats, is bracing itself for an almighty backlash, as an austerity-weary electorate is poised to vent its anger on the Government, and in particular the junior Coalition partner.
On a disastrous day, Labour, who are in single digits in opinion polls, could be left with just one seat on the Council, as Billy Cameron in the Central Ward is the only certainty to retain a seat for the party. Even on a ‘good’ day for Labour, they are likely to lose at least two seats.
Cameron’s running mate in Central, Collette Connolly, is under pressure to hold on, with party colleague John McDonagh affecting her first preferences and a resurgent Fianna Fáil putting the ‘squeeze’ on.
In City West, Labour’s Niall McNelis is feeling the heat from Sinn Féin and Anti-Austerity Alliance candidate, Tommy Holohan.
In the East Ward, both Labour candidates, City Councillor Nuala Nolan and newcomer to politics, Monica Coughlan, are under serious pressure to retain the party’s two seats.
Sinn Féin, riding high in the national polls, is likely to make a breakthrough with Maireád Farrell in City East, the party’s strongest candidate, on course for a seat.
Fianna Fáil, who were electorally toxic just two years ago, appear to be making a comeback, and could end up with five – and possibly an outside chance of six – seats on the next Council.
Fine Gael, who currently have three seats, are on course for a ‘middle-of-the-road’ election, with candidates taking flak for the Government imposed property taxes, water charges and general austerity measures, although they’re not feeling the heat as much as Labour.
This election is expected to be ‘Independents’ Day’ as non-party candidates are expected to be successful as large swathes of the ‘fed-up’ electorate turns its backs on the main parties.
In Galway City East, two former Progressive Democrats now independents, Cllrs Terry O’Flaherty and Declan McDonnell, are on course to retain their seats while newcomer independent Noel Larkin is making a big push for a seat.
Mike Cubbard, in City Central, who has the backing of former PD now independent TD, Noel Grealish, will poll well and looks likely to take a seat in Central while independents Donal Lyons and Catherine Connolly are untouchable in West.
See full predictions in today’s Connacht Sentinel
US basketball champion boasts impeccable Galway roots
An Irish American basketball player with impeccable Galway roots helped end a 50-year NBA famine for the Milwaukee Bucks last week.
Boston-born Pat Connaughton, whose grandparents hail from Clostoken, Loughrea, played a pivotal part in his side clinching the NBA championship final series over the Phoenix Suns.
The 6ft 5in shoot guard was involved in all six games of the final series, including the last, which the Bucks won 105-98.
Afterwards, the 28-year-old said: “It’s incredible. The fans supported us through thick and thin. They’ve had our backs. To be able to do it and to win it and to be able to call ourselves World champions in front of our own fans . . . it’s incredible. The city of Milwaukee deserves it and I’m just proud that I could be a part of a team, with my teammates, that gave it to them.”
One of his cousins in Loughrea, Madeleine Connaughton, told the Connacht Tribune that his relations in Galway were incredibly proud of his achievement.
“It’s absolutely brilliant; he’s a celebrity in our eyes because he has done so well,” said Madeleine.
“It’s brilliant that Pat is flying the flag for us over there. He was the only person to play both professionally, baseball and basketball with Notre Dame. He was as good a baseball player as basketball and had to choose.”
Madeleine joked that there ‘is a clatter of us’ in Loughrea related to Pat Connaughton, including the Connaughtons, Tierneys, Keanes and Burkes.
Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Galway duo make sporting history as out first Olympic medallists
The motto of the Ireland Women’s Coxless Four team, which includes Galway’s first ever Olympic medallists, Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh, has been drilled into them by coach Giuseppe De Vita: ‘Winter miles makes Summer smiles.’
At twenty-three minutes past two on Wednesday morning Irish time, during the Tokyo Olympic medal presentation ceremony at a windswept Sea Forest Waterway, the rowing quartet’s smiles beamed from ear-to-ear.
It was a testament to the hard graft they’ve put into the sport over many years, especially the past 18 months, and the last eight weeks in particular in the build-up to the biggest six minutes of their careers to date.
Keogh (29) from Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, Fiona Murtagh (26) from Gortachalla in Moycullen, and Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty were well entitled to smile after a remarkable rowing performance that earned them bronze medals in the Women’s Fours Final.
As they presented each other with their medals, in keeping with Covid-19 restrictions, and waved their bouquets into the air, back home, their smiles lit up the television and computer screens in living rooms of their family, friends and new legion of fans throughout the land.
It was a history-making feat – Galway’s first Olympic medallists, Ireland’s first women rowers to win Olympic medals, and the nation’s first at Tokyo 2020.
Both women were ecstatic afterwards as they spoke with the Connacht Tribune via Zoom from the media centre in the Olympic Village.
Read the full interview with Galway’s Olympic heroes in today’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Olympic dream comes true for Galway sprinting star
It was March, 2019 when the Olympic dream of Cillín Greene went up in smoke – or so everyone thought.
On day one of the European Indoor championships in Glasgow, the Claregalway sprinter was progressing nicely in a 400m heat.
He was in lane two, minding his own business, when, all of a sudden, he was ‘bounced’ by a Polish competitor on his inside.
Cillín steadied himself after the collision but was unable to react quick enough to hop over a Czech runner who tumbled in front of him. Both hit the deck. Bad enough that his race was run; worse again, afterwards it emerged he’d sustained a serious injury.
“He was knocked on the track and broke his elbow,” recalled his father, Colman.
“I think it put his whole make-up out of line for a long time. He started pulling hamstrings after that, and things like that. It took a long time to get it right. It’s like a fine-tuned sports car, everything has to be right. Last year, he had a lot of injuries and he wasn’t really going anywhere,” he said.
Glasgow was just over a year out from the Tokyo Olympic Games, and almost certainly wiped his chances of qualification.
But then Covid-19 delayed the Games, giving time to rehab; and the Galway City Harriers clubman worked relentlessly in Lockdown to get back on track.
The result? This Friday, along with another Galway man, Robert McDonnell (19) from Knocknacarra, 23-year-old Cillín Greene will become an Olympian when he competes in the mixed 4x400m relay heat at the Olympic Stadium at 12 noon Irish time.
See the full story – and comprehensive Olympic coverage – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie