IT’S difficult to pinpoint when exactly this All-Ireland minor football final was lost by Galway but you could argue it was seven months ago and not the first Sunday of September.
Back in February, a bombshell was dropped on dual county players who were told to pick football or hurling. Seven lads, who had played underage football since U14 with this group of players, chose the latter, including four who would probably have featured in Galway’s starting XV, on the biggest stage, on the biggest day of the GAA calendar.
Take seven players – including four starters – out of any squad, and they’d struggle to compete. In that context, Galway’s feat this year of A) reaching an All-Ireland final and B) seriously putting it up to Kerry in the final must be admired and applauded.
But it shouldn’t have come to this, and the reality is Galway GAA had enough talent this year to win the double All-Ireland minor hurling and football titles and didn’t use that talent optimally. That’s the reality – this was an opportunity squandered by off-field politics.
The 16-and-17-year-olds, who were forced to pick one sport over the other, are innocent victims. Where was the County Board in all of this? And are Galway’s football clubs going to flex their muscles or will they lie-down and take their beating and allow this scenario to develop again with next year’s minor footballers and hurlers?
That’s the backdrop. As for the game itself, Galway could have won it, and there’s an argument to be made that they left it behind them, but that blunt analysis is a tad disrespectful to the winners: Kerry, in fairness, were pretty awesome when they needed to be and deservedly carried the day, although the four-points margin of victory was perhaps flattering.
The Tribesmen certainly created enough chances, and they really put it up to five-in-a-row chasing Kerry, but ultimately, they were beaten by a better team, who had a handful of outstanding displays from key performers Paul O’Shea, Paul Walsh, Darragh Rahilly, and Killian Falvey. That quartet stood-up in the second-half and, along with sub Ruaidhrí Ó Beaglaoích, powered Kerry to victory, their 30th consecutive championship win at minor.
The Connacht champions will have regrets, not least the bucketload of missed opportunities. How different would the complexion of the game have been had Eoghan Tinney’s fisted effort at goal, midway through the first-half, gone in? Marc Kelliher between the posts for Kerry knew nothing of it, and by chance kept it out. Or what if wing-back Cathal Sweeney’s goal-bound effort just before half-time wasn’t well saved by Kelliher?
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer
On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.
Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.
While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.
“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.
“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”
Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!
Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.
But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.
The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.
She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.
The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.
“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.
“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”
Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery
Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.
But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.
The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.
To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.
“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.
But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.
Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie