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Mervue Utd player making waves in the States

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Robbie Keane isn’t the only Irish soccer player making waves on the other side of the Atlantic – Galway man James Casserly is brewing up a storm stateside, too.

Casserly, a former Mervue United centre back, has made quite the impression in the United States where he was part of a university soccer team that won a unique treble of titles this season.

The 21-year-old is on a sports scholarship with Lynn University in Boca Raton, which is 40 minutes from Miami in Florida, where he was an integral part of the university team that won the league and cup double at State level as well as a national title. Not since the 1990s has a university completed the treble.

Casserly, at right back, was the only member of the Lynn squad that started and played every minute (over 1,900) of the 21 games they were involved in this year.

Lynn won the Sunshine State Conference (equivalent of league), and followed it up with a win in the Sunshine State Championship tournament (equivalent of the cup) in the final in November.

His team then went on to win a nation knockout tournament, the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 2 National Championships, which were held in December.

The competitive university season in the US runs from August to December.

“We played 21 games and I was the only player to play every minute of every game. We won 19 matches, lost one and drew one,” says Casserly, who was home in Galway for Christmas and New Year.

Casserly has played with Mervue United since he was seven and made the breakthrough to Johnny Glynn’s senior team over five years ago, enjoying two and half successful seasons with the League of Ireland club.

During that time the former St Mary’s pupil represented his country on the Irish Youths but he craved a change of direction, and looked to the United States for a scholarship.

He sent video footage to universities in America and was snapped up through a scholarship by UNC Pembroke two and a half years ago before transferring last summer to Lynn.

Casserly trained with Mervue’s U19s while at home over the festive season and he would advise any young player in Galway thinking of making the move, to just do it. “I would recommend it to anyone. It is hard work – you have to study full-time as well as training then after study but I’d 100 per cent recommend it. I have no regrets about going over.”

Casserly, who turns 22 in March, has no idea yet what the long-term future holds but for now he’s just enjoying playing the beautiful game.

“I go back on Friday, and we’d train and have friendlies but there isn’t any competitive games this semester until the start of the next season, which is in August. I’m the only Irish guy on the team but there are players from all over the world, not just the US. I’m looking forward to next season and then graduating in May next year and we’ll see after that,” he said.

CITY TRIBUNE

Woman sustains serious injuries after being struck by firework in Eyre Square

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Gardaí are appealing for witnesses after a young woman was struck in the face by a firework in Eyre Square in the city overnight.

It happened shortly after midnight and gardai say it’s understood the firework had been launched from close to the Tourist Information Kiosk.

The young woman suffered serious injuries and was hospitalised as a result.

Gardaí understand there was a large group of people in Eyre Square at the time and are now asking that any person who may have witnessed the incident make contact with the investigating team.

In particular Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have video footage of the incident, either on mobile phone, CCTV or dash-cam to make contact with them.

This incident comes just days after a policing committee meeting was told of increasing concern about anti social behaviour around Eyre Square.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Garda chief suggests closing Eyre Square to curb anti-social behaviour

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Closing Eyre Square at night-time was among the radical suggestions put forward by Galway’s top Garda this week – in response to claims that the city centre’s famous landmark had become a ‘no-go area’ after dark.

It comes as Gardaí confirmed that since January they issued almost 500 fines for breaches of the city’s alcohol bylaws, which prohibit the consumption of alcohol in public spaces.

Responding to claims that people were afraid to visit parts of the city centre at night due to anti-social behaviour, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that the authorities might have to look at closing Eyre Square at certain times.

Chief Supt Curley also said that improved lighting and better CCTV were other tools that could be used to deter anti-social behaviour and to detect crime in the city centre.

“I’d need another five officers in there – and I haven’t got them,” said Chief Supt Curley of the requirement for more Gardaí on patrol in Eyre Square.

He was responding to a charge by former mayor of Galway, Councillor Frank Fahy, who said Eyre Square was dangerous at night. “It’s a no-go area,” he said at a City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting this week.

Cllr Fahy said that the illegal activity and anti-social behaviour in the city centre was a product of the Covid-19 pandemic and people socialising outdoors. Eyre Square was safe pre-Covid, he said.

In a written reply to the JPC, Chief Supt Curley said that anti-social behaviour issues had been ‘de-escalated’ along the city’s canals, Woodquay and Spanish Arch ‘as a result of extra Garda patrols’.

“The resulting consequences have led to crowd movement from these areas (and they) are now congregating at Eyre Square. Garda attention is concentrated on Eyre Square, however the return of students and the continued restrictions has led to increased numbers,” he said.

(Photo: a scene from Eyre Square at night this week taken from a video circulated on social media)

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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CITY TRIBUNE

Tourists duped in Galway City rental accommodation scam

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have issued another ‘beware’ warning in relation to scammers offering fictitious properties to rent in the city area.

The advice comes after a report of a several separate tourists from overseas calling to a house in Shantalla over recent weeks, thinking that they had booked rental accommodation.

It is understood that the fake rental offer had been made through a booking website, but it turned out to be a scam with the tourists having ‘parted’ weeks earlier with a deposit of several hundred euro.

Galway Garda Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Walsh, said that such rental scams were an ongoing reality in relation to the accommodation sector, especially in cities like Galway with huge rental markets for long-term and short-term lets.

He said that the first pieces of advice for anyone seeking to rent a property was to only do business with an established bona-fide rental agency and to always meet the prospective landlord in the accommodation to be rented.

Sgt Walsh said that the scammers also tended to be more active at times of the year when accommodation was in major demand as in the late-Summer/early-Autumn period as students returned to third level colleges.

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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