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New Galway Utd man tells of family’s flight from genocide

Keith Kelly

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Galway United's new signing Armin Aganovic at the Connacht Hotel. Photo: Sean Ryan sportsphoto.ie

It was one of the few dry days in close to three months when Galway United unveiled their new Swedish centre-back, Armin Aganovic, in the Connacht Hotel recently.

The 21-year-old had returned to Galway two days earlier, having previously spent a week in the city, getting to know his new team-mates and his new ‘home’, and he laughed when asked what he thought about the near horizontal rain he endured on his first trip to the wet and windy west.

“The positive thing is I will never need sun cream, it’s a money saver straight away! I was surprised by the weather, I have never seen that much rain in my while life, but it’s okay, I don’t mind. My family has a saying – after every rain comes the sunshine . . . though I am not sure that happens in Galway.”

He laughs as he says that, but there is a more serious note to the origins of those first six words, which trace back to a time just before he was born. His parents, dad Emir and mother Asima, along with their young son, Adi, were forced to flee their home in Bosnia as war – and genocide – swept through the region following the break-up of Yugoslavia. They fled to Sweden, where Armin was born a few months later.

“My family, like thousands of others, was forced out of our home in 1993, and my parents and my older brother, Adi along with other members of the family – they fled to Sweden, and I was born there in 1994,” he explains.

His family are originally from Sanski Most, a town in the north west of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a region that was one of six constituent republics that were joined together to form the new country, known as Yugoslavia, after the end of World War I.

There were constant ethnic tensions within Yugoslavia, and these came to the fore following the death of dictator, Josef Tito, in 1980.

After a decade of matters simmering just beneath the surface, Croatia and Slovenia declared independence in 1991, despite the efforts of the Yugoslav government to prevent the country fragmenting and ruling the declarations as illegal.

War soon broke out between different ethnic groups, starting in 1991 and lasting for a decade, and it is estimated that 140,000 people lost their lives in the various conflicts in what was Europe’s bloodiest and deadliest conflict since WWII.

When Yugoslavia split up, Sanski Most was given to the Bosnian-Croat Federation, but it was occupied by Serb forces from 1992 to 1995, when it was freed by the Bosnian army.

Hundreds of people lost their lives in the town, and hundreds more were forced to flee with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

“Yes, I lost family members in the war, just like every family in Bosnia. My brother remembers a little bit about the war unfortunately. I am the youngest across the extended family, so everyone [in my family] remembers the war.

“I will always have that [his family’s history] with me, but life goes on, you have to fight for everything. Not everyone could escape, but a big part of the family moved to Sweden, and some moved to Germany. Some of my family did move back to Bosnia but not many, it is still a country that is affected by war, unfortunately there is still a bit of tension there.

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

CITY TRIBUNE

Big boost for Connacht as dozen make Irish squads

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Former Galway minor hurler Shane Jennings who is one of six Connacht players named on the Irish U20 rugby squad for the upcoming Six Nations.

By Rob Murphy

THERE was some off season good news for Connacht this week with confirmation of 12 players from the Sportsground having made it into international squads at senior and U-20 level.

Six Connacht players were called into Andy Farrell’s 37-man senior international squad for next month’s two tests against Japan and USA. Three of those are looking to make their international debut in Tom Daly, Paul Boyle and Caolin Blade; while three more are looking to continue their progress with the Irish squad in Dave Heffernan (5 caps), Ultan Dillane (18 caps) and Finlay Bealham (14 caps).

For Daly, the progress from fringe starter to captaining Connacht has been a rapid one. The 27-years-old inside centre from Carlow is now a key part of Andy Friend’s plans having led the way in starts this season and his consistent form has clearly caught the eye of Farrell too, with the recent stand-out effort in the win over Munster at Thomond Park no doubt a key factor.

At 24, Boyle has already amassed 57 appearances in the green of Connacht having made his debut in 2017. He also has captained Connacht on multiple occasions and while he missed some of the end of season Rainbow Cup games, the Gorey native was a consistent almost ever present part of the back row during the PRO14 campaign.

Monivea man Blade is back in Ireland camp for the second season in a row and will hope to get his first cap this time around. The 27-years-old is being rewarded for another excellent season in the nine shirt for Connacht where he led the team in starts at scrum half and scored five tries in 20 appearances.

Ireland will play two games in the Aviva Stadium next month starting with a clash against Japan on July 3 before they host USA on July 10.

The Irish U-20s will be involved in Six Nations action, starting tomorrow against Scotland with the month-long tournament taking place entirely in Cardiff to help guarantee a safe environment for players.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway surrender top flight status after Clones collapse

Stephen Glennon

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Galway’s Robert Finnerty who scored 1-3 in their costly National League relegation play-off defeat to Monaghan in Clones on Sunday.

Monaghan 1-21

Galway 2-17

(After Extra-Time)

NO thermometer was required to take the temperature of those hundred or so die-hard Galway supporters who travelled to Clones last Sunday. With their side five points to the good and time almost up, they watched on in horror as a winning lead was blown.

The result: Galway beaten. The result: Galway are no longer a Division 1 county. The result: Galway now have just won one game in their last seven competitive outings. The result: Galway have gone from a side on the brink of something in spring of 2020 to an outfit that has regressed and have now been cast back to the land of mediocrity.

That Galway boss Padraic Joyce didn’t make himself available to the media afterwards to put some positive spin on the performance only compounded the result. By not offering some take, he left a dangerous void in which disgruntled supporters have begun to weave their own narrative about where Joyce’s Galway are at.

Ironically, with time almost up in Clones, it appeared the Tribesmen had turned the corner after a poor run of form. First half goals from Paul Kelly and Rob Finnerty saw Galway lead this thrilling relegation game by five points going down the home stretch, but in the five minutes plus of normal time injury-time, they came undone.

In hindsight, hauling off Galway’s two best forwards – Robert Finnerty and Shane Walsh (although he was nowhere near his best) – was a mistake as it not only blunted the point of attack but deprived it of the guile and experience that they needed to see this game out.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Galway U20s set to make up for lost time in delayed final

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Conor Walsh who is a key member of the Galway U20 hurling team seeking Leinster final glory when they take on Dublin next Wednesday.

GALWAY’S U20 hurlers have a number of injury concerns ahead of their long overdue 2020 Leinster final clash against Dublin at O’Connor Park, Tullamore, next Wednesday evening, June 23. Throw-in 7:30pm.

Among them are Sarsfields midfielder Alex Connaire and Craughwell wing-forward Adrian Prendergast, both of whom scored in the Tribesmen’s victories over Laois and Kilkenny last December, but they now look set to miss the provincial decider with groin and pelvis injuries respectively.

“This game is just too early for them, it has just come too quick,” says Galway manager Jeffrey Lynskey, who says Connaire and Prendergast join an injury list that also includes long-term victims Mark Gill of Castlegar (metatarsal) and Conor Hynes of Liam Mellows (shoulder).

“We are lucky enough though that we have depth in the squad and can pull on lads who are performing and doing well (in training). They have trained well, in fairness to them, over the last five weeks.”

Indeed, Lynskey says the form is good in the camp, outlining the focus has been getting the players back up to speed with in-house and challenges games against the Galway development panel.

“In all the in-house and challenge games, they have performed really well. They are all looking forward to getting back. They have trained hard, really, over the last five weeks and they put a serious bloc of work in during the third lockdown. Gym-wise, they all came back in fantastic shape.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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