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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

Matriarch of Scotty’s Diner donates kidney to her son!

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A well-known family in the Galway restaurant trade have swapped chef whites for hospital gowns after the matriarch donated a kidney to her son.

Jenny and Andrew Ishmael, synonymous with Scotty’s Diner in Cúirt na Coiribe on the Headford Road in Terryland, are recovering in Beaumont Hospital after the marathon live donor operation.

It took place last Monday and staff are so impressed by the quick recovery of mother and son that they could be discharged as early as this weekend.

“It went really well. I’m still a bit sore. We’re still on the mend. It’s working perfectly,” says Andrew from the isolation ward of the hospital’s Kidney Centre.  “My creatine was over 1,000 when I came in and it’s already around 260.

“I felt weak after the surgery, but I could feel that bit of life in me again straight away. It’s amazing how quick it works. Mom wasn’t too great after the surgery – it was her first ever. She was quite sore, a bit iffy, but she’s good now.

“We have rooms back-to-back. We’ve been going for walks, going for breakfast together. It’s nice to spend that time together.”

Andrew – or Drew as he’s known to family and friends –  was diagnosed with kidney disease when he was just 16.

Berger’s Disease occurs when an antibody called immunoglobulin builds up in the kidneys and results in inflammation, which over time, can hamper the kidneys’ ability to filter waste from the blood.

He managed the condition well for over a decade without too much impact on his life.

The son of classically trained chefs who studied together at Johnson and Wales College in Rhode Island, he grew up working in his parents’ American-style diner, trading since 1991.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the February 3 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

New River Corrib rescue boat to be deployed following ‘significant donation’

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The provision of a specialist rescue craft on the Corrib – upstream from the Weir – could now happen over the coming weeks or months following a ‘significant voluntary donation’ in the past few weeks, the Galway City Tribune has learned.

Water safety issues on the Corrib were highlighted last month when up to 10 rowers had to be rescued after their two boats were sucked in by the currents towards the Weir.

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board has launched an investigation into the circumstances of the potentially catastrophic incident which occurred around midday on Saturday, January 14.

A specialist D Class lifeboat is now being sourced as part of a multi-agency approach to try and improve emergency rescue operations upstream from the Weir which would be accessible on a 24/7 basis.

While the cost would be in the region of €40,000 to €50,000, the overall figure would rise to around €80,000 to €90,000 when specialist personnel training costs were included.

Galway Lifeboat Operations Manager, Mike Swan, told the Galway City Tribune that he was aware of a lot of work going on behind the scenes to try and get the Corrib rescue craft in place as soon as possible.

“I suppose we’re all trying to work together to ensure that a full-time rescue craft is provided on the Corrib and I believe that real progress is being made in this regard. This would be very good news for everyone,” said Mr Swan.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the February 3 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Three years on and ‘Changing Places’ facility on Salthill Promenade still not open

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Mayor of Galway, Cllr Clodagh Higgins at the site of the Changing Places facility, for which she had ring-fenced money. Work on the project only began last February, despite initial predictions that the facility would be open in January last year.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The wait for accessible, specialised toilet facilities at Ladies Beach in Salthill goes on – three years after they were ‘prioritised’ by city councillors.

Galway City Council has confirmed to the Tribune this week that the ‘Changing Places’ facility at Ladies Beach is still not open.

Construction of the facility began almost a year ago, at the end of February 2022.

The local authority confirmed that some €135,600 has been spent on the unit, which is not yet open to the public.

“The initial stages of construction went well, with the facility now largely in place. There are a number of outstanding snags to be completed before the facility can open.

“Galway City Council is liaising with the contractor to complete out these snags, with a view to opening the facility as soon as possible,” a spokesperson said.

The local authority did not elaborate on what ‘snags’ were delaying the project.

But in January, Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, suggested that staffing issues were to blame for the delay.

(Photo: Mayor of Galway, Clodagh Higgins, at the site of the Changing Places facility, for which she had ring-fenced money).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the February 3 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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