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New Connemara camogie club overcoming its geographical isolation

Stephen Glennon



Atlantic Camogie during a socially distanced training session in 2020. Left to right: Georgia Walsh, Cliodhna Conroy, Alannah Carty, Rachael King, Amy King, Edwina Mannion, Laura Flaherty, Mia Barry, Mia Clarke, Leora Morahan, Siofra Gannon, Rebecca Nee, Emily Conroy, Iseult O' Flaherty, Naoise Barry, Kaiya Joyce, Holly O'Toole, Kara May Gallagher, Meera O Toole, Rachael Dooly, Roisin O Toole and Shona O Toole.

THERE has always been a great love of hurling in Connemara, but, quite often, its geography – particularly, in the deeper areas, where the distances required to travel to compete is far greater – has often been an impediment in the development of clubs and teams.

In recent times, hurling clubs like Moycullen, An Spidéal, Micheál Breathnach and Barna/Furbo have represented the West with great distinction while, in camogie circles, Cois Fharraige and Moycullen have also proudly flown the flag.

Yet, despite the vast distances those teams have to travel to play, they are still shorter than those that Galway’s newest camogie club, Atlantic, must make. Set up in 2018, Atlantic Camogie Club is based in Clifden, with a number of its players also hailing from other outposts such as Ballyconneely, Carna and Letterfrack.

Club Chairman Kevin Barry says not having other camogie clubs within an easy drive limits the opportunities available to their players, who, like any youngsters, relish the challenge of playing against other clubs.

“That’s what they love,” he states. “It is great training, but they don’t want to be playing against one another all the time. They love pulling on the jersey and playing alongside their pals. The handiest thing is if you have another club to play nearby, but for us to play another club, the day is gone.

“Whereas, if you take somewhere like Clarinbridge or Abbeyknockmoy, where there is another club or pitch every two miles, it is so handy for them to play other teams. We are really envious of that. We’d love to see another club somewhere within 10 miles of us; that would be so helpful to us.”

Yet, what Atlantic Camogie Club, which boasts teams from U12 to minor,  has shown in its infancy is a hunger to succeed. Barry believes the reason for this is down to the young players themselves. It was they – rather than adults – who pushed for a new camogie club in Clifden and its surrounds.

“The girls rang up and said, ‘would you do camogie?’ We held a meeting in the GAA club to see who was interested and 25 of them turned up. We were quite astonished. They were all ages,” recalls Barry, who previously coached young hurlers in Clifden for a brief period.

“Now, not all the 25 stuck – two or three didn’t – but then another five or six joined. That was literally how it started.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Residents call in the clampers to sort problem parking

Dara Bradley



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in a Salthill estate have become tired of illegal parking outside their homes – and hired private clampers as a deterrent.

People living in Seamount off Threadneedle Road near Blackrock said they have been plagued by extra traffic and vehicles parking outside their homes, blocking access, during the latest Covid lockdown.

They said that since Galway City Council closed off the Prom to car parking, and closed the two public carparks, the cars have just migrated to Threadneedle Road and their estate.

Seamount is a private estate and the road has not been taken in charge by the Council. The residents have clubbed together and hired a clamping company, which will erect signs in the coming days and begin clamping illegally parked cars from next week.

Residents said they are also concerned that cars parked on Threadneedle Road are making it more difficult for buses to pass, and cause congestion.

A residents’ spokesperson said: “Since the lockdown, they closed off the Prom and closed off Salthill car park but people are still using the Prom and swimming off Blackrock. I have huge admiration for the swimmers, I do it myself when it’s warmer. But what’s happening is they park on both sides of Threadneedle Road, because there’re no yellow lines on either side of it and it’s not wide enough for cars to be parked either side of it, so buses are getting stuck.”
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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NUIG President’s upset at Covid breaches on campus

Enda Cunningham



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – “I work in the hospital and we have had a really awful six weeks. We have nowhere to sit down and have our breaks. We are exhausted and would long to see family and friends. To see public health guidelines [being flouted] on NUIG property is a kick in the teeth.”

These are the words of an angry and frustrated healthcare worker at University Hospital Galway in a message sent to the head of NUIG.

President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh told students and staff at the university this week that he found it “deeply frustrating” that some students were flouting public health guidelines.

The HSE has confirmed that there were at least 441 cases of Covid in the city’s 18-24 age group – which has affected 224 households – in the past three weeks.

“Our neighbours contacted me expressing their upset at what they see as activities by our students that do not respect the health and safety of the community at large. People who work in the health service, people who have lost friends and relations to Covid-19. I share their upset.

“I was struck, for example, by one particularly heartfelt message from a local healthcare worker and campus user who shared their frustration with me last week on seeing groups congregating and socialising on campus grounds and which they agreed we could share,” Prof Ó hÓgartaigh said.

The head of the university shared the message in an email to students and staff this week, adding that students had expressed frustration that study spaces were not open on campus and at the challenges posed by the constricted spaces in which they study.

NUIG confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it had imposed sanctions on a number of students in relation to Covid breaches, while there have been none at GMIT.
This is a brief 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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Principals band together for safer cycling infrastructure

Denise McNamara



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A total of 28 Galway City school principals have signed an open letter to the Minister for Transport and local councillors highlighting the need for safer cycling infrastructure around schools, to encourage students and staff to switch to bikes.

The push by Government to cycle or walk where possible during the pandemic has its limitations in a city where cycle lanes are rare and parents are too afraid to let their children cycle on narrow roads often choked with traffic.

A group of cycling enthusiasts in city schools has been campaigning to encourage the school community to engage with Galway City Council’s public consultation process for the next development plan which will have a key role in deciding whether cycling lanes or off-road cycle routes become a reality.

The first stage of the initial consultation process for the ‘City Development Plan 2023-2029, Your City, Your Future’ closes today (Friday). But the process will continue for two more years with more consultation encouraged once the draft plan is published.

This week a letter from 28 principals sent to councillors called for support for the provision of better cycle infrastructure in and around all schools. It has also been sent to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan and Galway West TD and Minister of State at Cabinet, Hildegarde Naughton.

“It is our view that existing road infrastructure around schools can be unsafe for children, teachers, and families who wish to cycle to school and we would like to encourage the development safe cycling routes in the future,” the letter states.

Principal of Coláiste na Coiribe, Eoghan Ó Ceallaigh, said it was important for the school community to get involved with the public consultation.

(Photo: Last year, the Council introduced a ‘School Streets’ pilot scheme at Scoil Iognáid, which bans cans during certain times, encouraging parents and children to walk or cycle. Schools now want proper cycling infrastructure put in place).
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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