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CITY TRIBUNE

O’Connell one of the driving forces in title run of 2004

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MOMENT IN TIME: Galway's Marie O'Connell lifting the All-Ireland ladies football senior cup in 2004.

WHEN Galway ladies football was at the height of its powers in the early noughties, there was a core group of players driving it on. One of those was Killererin native Marie O’Connell, who captained the Tribeswomen to an All-Ireland junior title in 2002 before helping her county to senior glory in ’04.

These days O’Connell resides in Togher in County Louth, where she is married to former Louth senior football panellist John Doyle. They have three children, Luke (4), Eoin (2) and Mark (three months) and “in between having kids, I am a vet,” she adds.

Indeed, it was her work that took her to Louth in 2011 – taking up a post in Dundalk – and it wasn’t long before she was kicking ball in the ‘Wee County’. “I played with Louth for two years when I came up here, in 2012 and 2013. We got to the All-Ireland in 2012 but we were well-beaten by Antrim (3-9 to 0-7).”

O’Connell played at centre-half back that day in Croke Park, returning to the ground where she had some great times with Galway. Despite the result, she really enjoyed being back there. “It was junior, so it was a different standard. I suppose, we were very lucky when PJ Fahy (2004 Galway manager) was there. We had professionalism before a lot of other ladies teams had.

“He really upped the ante when he came in, between being the manager, with the sponsorship, and he was very generous to us. The training methods implemented by Richard Bowles and my uncle Michael (O’Connell) were excellent. The management was years ahead of their time.

“So, when I moved to Louth, I saw that Louth ladies football was eight or 10 years behind where Galway was. There was some difference. Even the club football in Louth was a long way behind Galway, although they have caught up since. They are getting there now.”

In 2000, Galway were defeated in the All-Ireland junior final by Down, O’Connell lining out at wing-back on that team. Two years later, though, she captained the side to victory over Donegal, securing Galway promotion to the senior ranks.

While they lost the All-Ireland senior semi-final to Mayo in 2003, Fahy’s outfit turned the tables on their greatest rivals at the same stage of the competition 12 months later, winning 3-10 to 3-9 after extra time – in a replay! It summed up the rivalry between the neighbours.

O’Connell agrees. “Those games against Mayo were the best games we ever played. The rivalry we had with Mayo! I read Cora Staunton’s book there recently and it brought back a lot of memories. They hated us as much as we hated them. She openly says it in the book and I was like ‘oh my God, I am so glad they thought of us what we thought of them’,” she laughs.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Mercury hit 30°C for Galway City’s hottest day in 45 years

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –

Wednesday was the hottest day in the city over the past 45 years when with a high of 30.1 Celsius being recorded at the NUI Galway Weather Station.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the city dates back to June 30, 1976, when the late Frank Gaffney had a reading of 30.5° Celsius at his weather station in Newcastle.

Pharmacists and doctors have reported a surge in people seeking treatment for sunburn.

A Status Yellow ‘high temperature warning’ from Met Éireann – issued on Tuesday – remains in place for Galway and the rest of the country until 9am on Saturday morning.

It will be even hotter in the North Midlands, where a Status Orange temperature warning is in place.

One of the more uncomfortable aspects of our current heatwave has been the above average night-time temperatures and the high humidity levels – presenting sleeping difficulties for a lot of people.
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

Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to boost Galway City Council coffers by half a million euro every year by increasing Local Property Tax (LPT) did not receive the support of city councillors.

Councillor Peter Keane (FF) failed to get a seconder at this week’s local authority meeting for his motion to increase the LPT payable on Galway City houses by 5%.

Cllr Keane said that the increase would net the Council €500,000 every year, which could be spent evenly on services across all three electoral wards.

It would be used to fund services and projects city councillors are always looking for, including a proposal by his colleague Cllr Imelda Byrne for the local authority to hire additional staff for city parks.

The cost to the taxpayer – or property owner – would be minimal, he insisted.

“It would mean that 90% of households would pay 37 cent extra per week,” he said.

Not one of the 17 other elected members, including four party colleagues, would second his motion and so it fell.

Another motion recommending no change in the current rate of LPT in 2022 was passed by a majority.
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

Galway City Council needs 40 more workers to help deliver on projects

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Forty more workers are needed at City Hall ‘right away’, the Chief Executive of Galway City Council has said.

Brendan McGrath has warned city councillors that the local authority is understaffed and it needs to hire more staff immediately to deliver its plans and projects.

The total cost of the extra 40 workers, including salary, would be between €1.75 million and €1.95 million.

Mr McGrath said that the City Council had a workforce now that was below what it had in 2007, but the city’s population has grown and so too had the services the Council provides.

The population of Galway City grew by almost 11% in the 10 years to 2016, he said, and total staff numbers in the Council fell by 13.6% during that period.

Though more staff were hired in recent years, Mr McGrath said that the Council was at 2007 and 2008 staffing levels, even though the Census will record further increases in population since 2016.

Mr McGrath said that the City Council now provides 1,000 services across a range of departments, far more than during the 2000s.

He said that currently, 524 staff are employed at the City Council. This equated to 493 Whole Time Equivalents when part-time workers such as school wardens and Town Hall workers are included.

Mr McGrath said that 12% of all staff are in acting up positions, with many more in short-term or fixed-term contracts. There was a highly competitive jobs market and the Council was finding recruitment and retention of specialist staff difficult.
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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