Date Published: 22-Jun-2011
EVEN the bookmakers haven’t been conned by Mayo’s brush with disaster in the opening round of the Connacht football championship in Ruislip last month. That was the day when James Horan’s squad came within a whisker of being involved in the GAA shock of the century for all the wrong reasons. As it was, they were lucky to force extra time before unconvincingly fending off the minnows from London.
Nobody saw Mayo struggling so badly against the Division Four league outfit, but those types of ‘no-win’ fixtures are all about the result. Ronan McGarrity and his team-mates had probably under-estimated the Exiles and having avoided an embarrassing defeat, the lesson in humility has surely not gone astray in terms of their preparations for the visit of Galway to McHale Park, Castlebar on Sunday.
Their near-escape in London, in retrospect, was the best thing that could have happened to Mayo. They will be well grounded for the Connacht semi-final even if the bookies have installed them as pre-match favourites and they have already recorded a comfortable National League victory over Galway at Tuam Stadium earlier in the year. New boss Horan is low key and that suits them too after the departure of John O’Mahony.
What about Galway? It’s fair to claim that the team’s supporters don’t really know what to expect from the men in maroon at the weekend. The disappointment of relegation to Division Two is tempered by the fact that the team was improving significantly as the campaign evolved, notably in a home draw with Dublin. Subsequently, Alan Mulholland’s U-21s gave the county a great lift by routing Cavan in the All-Ireland final having overcome a supposedly ‘unbeatable’ Cork outfit at the penultimate stage of the championship.
Three of those U-21s are set to feature in McHale Park, namely defenders Colin Forde and Jonathan Duane, along with attacker Mark Hehir. Several more are on the bench, including Micheal Boyle and Fionntán O Curraoin, and that infusion of young blood is welcome. On the debit side, Sean Armstrong’s troublesome hamstring has flared up again; Michael Meehan is still not ready to start; and Nicky Joyce remains in self-imposed exile.
These would be three classy forwards to go to war with against the county’s arch provincial rivals, but their attack still won’t be short of some heavy artillery. Naturally, Padraic Joyce can’t be the force of old, but he tends to strike fear into Mayo’s hearts and his experience remains vital to the Galway cause in an attack where Paul Conroy’s deployment at full forward could be a match-breaker and Cormac Bane’s accuracy should not be under-estimated. Gareth Bradshaw’s likely new role on the wing will surely bring extra energy up front as well.
Bradshaw and Conroy aren’t the only ones in unfamiliar positions. Long time full back Finian Hanley’s switch to midfield coincided with Galway’s improved form in the league and alongside Joe Bergin – we have always thought the Mountbellew man should be a permanent fixture in this sector – they give the team a greater capacity to secure primary ball. Their defence, however, is still a work in progress and, ultimately, the fortunes of Gary O’Donnell, Greg Higgins, who is also more recognised in another position, and Corofin clubmate Gary Sice, in the probable half-back line will be critical to the outcome.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Retail industry trade body welcomes B&Q announcement
Date Published: 07-May-2013
Retail Excellence Ireland, the country’s largest retail industry trade body, has welcomed the news that 60 jobs have been saved at the city branch of B&Q.
It’s after the home improvements store successfully exited examinership.
Under the scheme, 2.4 million euro is to be invested by parent company Kingfisher plc, and B and Q will continue to trade at eight stores
This means 640 jobs have been saved nationwide, including 60 at the outlet in Knocknacarra.
However, David Fitzsimons of Retail Excellence Ireland says landlords need to be willing to help out smaller retailers too.
Foundation reports nine Galway heart deaths each week
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Nine people die in Galway every week from heart disease and stroke.
That’s according to the Irish Heart Foundation, which is launching its Happy Hearts Appeal today. (9/5)
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, launched the appeal today to help raise funds for the charity, which has seen increasing demand on its patient services.
The Foundation says it needs to raise at least half a million euro to maintain existing information services.
Call to tackle delays at Oranmore rail crossing
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Concerns have been raised over traffic delays at the railway crossing in Oranmore.
Councillor Jim Cuddy says he has received many representations from local motorists who have been experiencing extended delays.
He says the closed barrier can sometimes cause a traffic tailback as far as the roundabout near the Maldron hotel.
Cllr Cuddy has brought the matter to the attention of Iarnrod Eireann and has asked for an explanation as to why the crossing is closed for so long.