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Leading trainer at Wolverhampton last season is proving handler to follow in UK

John McIntyre



PERFECT PRESENT: Dave and Sarah Loughnane give full vent to their joy as Apex King wins at Goodwood in May of 2019, the yard’s first winner after the couple’s marriage.

HE’S largely unheralded in his own county, but Dave Loughnane is one of the rising stars of the cross-channel flat racing scene. John McIntyre charts the impressive progress of the Monivea native who saddled a Group Three winner last season.

HE’S only 33; has a trainer’s licence for less than five years; and there is little racing background in the family, but in 2020 Dave Loughnane saddled his first Group Three winner and ended the season as the leading trainer at Wolverhampton.

The Monivea native has emerged as one of the rising stars of the UK flat scene, turning out a total of 43 winners last season, many of whom were partnered by Rossa Ryan, who in a startling coincidence, was born barely a dozen miles from Loughnane in North Galway.

Not alone that, but his first introduction to a racing yard came as a teenager at the stables of Rossa’s father David, who continues to run his training operation in Ballinderry in the parish of Corofin.

It’s been a circuitous route for Loughnane in ending up running his own stables at Helshaw Grange in Shropshire as he had spent a couple of years doing carpentry with Kieran Flaherty in Monivea, before working for the Bank of America based in Carrick-on-Shannon.

Throw in five years in Australia which was initially supposed to be just one, Loughnane has certainly been undaunted in trying his hand at anything in experiencing life in many of its various forms.

Little though did he think when persuading a friend to buy a half-share in a pony with their confirmation money in the late nineties to hack around with on the family farm in Ballyskeagh, that it would eventually lead to a career in horse racing.

A son of Tony and Margaret Loughnane, the only real racing heritage in his background came from his grandfather Pete Monaghan from Lakeview, Caherlistrane who ran a training farm for work horses and Connemara ponies. Monaghan also dealt in point-to-pointers and did a bit of riding himself.

But growing up in Monivea and attending the local national school, Dave Loughnane was prepared to have a crack at most sports, notably hurling, football, soccer, rugby and boxing.

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

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Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades

Denise McNamara



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.

Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.

The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.

“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.

“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”

Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.

“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools

Stephen Corrigan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.

The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools

Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.

“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.

“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.

A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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GMIT warns partying students they are delaying return to campus

Enda Cunningham



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Partying students have been told their actions have impacted GMIT’s plans to re-start practical classes on campus – and Gardaí are monitoring the city’s bus and train stations to catch those breaking the 5km travel restriction by returning home for the weekend.

College authorities said the current “extremely serious outbreak” of Covid-19 among students in Galway City was caused by a small minority who are “moving and mixing between different households”.

Following a meeting with Gardaí last week, GMIT contacted all students to clarify that because there are no ‘onsite’ classes, there should be no need to travel for educational purposes.

“The Gardaí have notified us that there will be checks at the bus and train stations to implement the 5km travel rule, as well as checkpoints on the roads, and that fines will be given for any non-compliance with this rule,” students were told.

In a separate communication issued this week, the college’s Covid Officer appealed to students to abide by the rules.

“This outbreak has had an impact on our plans with regard to return to onsite practical work, with consequences for all students.

“We are appealing to all students to comply with all Covid restrictions and in doing so, to help ensure that those students who have to return to onsite practical work can do so,” the email read.

Many students from outside the city have opted to stay in their accommodation for access to better broadband.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more coverage of Covid figures and vaccinations, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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