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Plotting the hurling downfall of his native county

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Date Published: 02-Jun-2011

IF you asked former Athenry hurler Brian Hanley, three months ago, where did he think he would be on Saturday, June 4, he would more than likely have looked at the GAA calendar and pondered, perhaps, attending Galway hurlers’ Leinster quarter-final tie against either Carlow or Westmeath.

He would never have imagined, though, that he would be leading Westmeath out against the Tribesmen, having been appointed manager of the Lake County just a couple of months ago. Still, by nature, Hanley has always liked to be up close and personal to the action . . . he would gladly swap the comfort of the stand for the cut and thrust of the battlefield any day.

In late spring, Hanley took over as Westmeath boss from former Offaly great Kevin Martin following a disastrous National League Division 2 campaign in which Westmeath failed to record a single league point. “They have been down in their boots this year, partly, I can gather, due to what had transpired between the previous management and players,” says Hanley.

“So, they were at a low ebb and it was a good challenge for me to try and get them back up again. They gave me one ultimatum – one goal – and that was to beat Carlow (in their Leinster championship opener) and take them wherever we could after that. We have done that and now we are ready for the next round.”

Indeed, that 4-10 to 1-14 victory over favourites Carlow has, in many respects, restored some of the pride back into Westmeath hurling. However, the former All-Ireland club winning Athenry midfielder has now the unenviable task of cajoling a competitive display out of the reigning Christy Ring Cup holders when they face his native county at Cusack Park, Mullingar on Saturday evening (7pm).

“I didn’t realise it at the time that Westmeath could be in line to play Galway,” says Hanley. “We have to raise the bar now because, in my opinion, they (Westmeath) are only where they should be. Now, they have to drive on and put in a good performance against Galway and let the result take care of itself.

“Leinster hurling needs Westmeath to play well. Galway hurling needs Westmeath to play well. It is no good for Galway going up to Mullingar and the game being a waste of time. It is no good for me either, to have a team that it is not competitive. I am very, very competitive by nature, so I will be asking them (Westmeath) to go out there expecting to give the performance of their lives. If that takes them over the line, fair enough. If it takes thema within ‘X’ amount of points of Galway, so be it. That is the prize of it.”

No doubt, since Hanley – who is also the current Liam Mellows manager – has taken charge of Westmeath two and a half months ago, he has revitalised the set-up. “Believe it or not, we didn’t train for three weeks when we were starting out again after the Down [National League] game, because their local football and hurling championships were on.

“I told them, you can’t burn them out and they got to respect that decision. So, when I went looking for the players, I got them. I gave them a schedule of dates, venues and times and when I went training, I knew I had 24 to 30 players. We had nine proper training sessions with full squads, and we had three matches with full panels, bar, maybe, the challenge game against Athenry. That, though, set the tone for the championship.”

Hanley’s structured approach has certainly worked, underlined by their Leinster championship victory over a Carlow outfit that continually looks to break new boundaries. “The big thing I did was put a system in place – the same as I did with Liam Mellows this year – in adopting a style and system of play. It is all about trying to get players into positions where you know they can do a job for you. Your best 15 isn’t always necessarily your best 15 hurlers. That is the bottom line.

 

“So, for us to progress against Galway, we have got to have our own plan and hope that it works. We may even have to stick to it when it is not [working]. We have to be competitive from the first to the last ball, regardless. For the good of the Liam McCarthy championship, we don’t want one-sided games in hurling. And we don’t want to be slated for our performance.”

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

Galway Bay FM News Archives

Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent

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Date Published: 07-May-2013

A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.

That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.

The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.

Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.

Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.

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Galway Bay FM News Archives

Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis

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Date Published: 09-May-2013

Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.

A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.

Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.

Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.

Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.

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Galway Bay FM News Archives

Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action

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Date Published: 12-May-2013

The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.

There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.

Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.

Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.

Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.

The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.

However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.

Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.

 

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