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Connacht Tribune

Portumna rage against time to preserve senior A status

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Portumna's Damien Hayes who announced his retirement from hurling after helping his club overcome Gort in a senior A relegation play-off in Loughrea on Saturday.

PORTUMNA 0-21

GORT 2-14

Mark Walsh in Loughrea

LESS than five years ago, Portumna and Gort contested a county final on a cold December’s day in Athenry. Gort dethroned the then Galway and All-Ireland champions, but on Saturday in Loughrea, two late Joe Canning points won the day for Portumna and secured their status as a Senior A side for 2020.

As well as that 2014 final, these clubs faced off in the 2008 decider, a game that was won by Portumna, on their way to a second All-Ireland title. The passage of time means that few things stay the same, and while it didn’t come as much surprise to see the club from the banks of the river Shannon were in this relegation play-off, at the start of 2019 Gort were expected to be in the mix at the business end of proceedings.

Three narrow losses in succession in Group 2 of Senior A – to Cappataggle, Sarsfields and Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry – left Gort facing into this play-off at the weekend. Despite the tight nature of the game, at no stage would you have said that Gort were actually motoring that well. By contrast, this was Portumna’s best performance of their 2019 SHC campaign.

That’s probably an easy summation to make, given that they had lost all five of their Group 1 fixtures, but it was a thrill to see some of their more experienced, leading servants, fight against the dying of the light. Ollie Canning, at 43, scored two points, had a fine game from wing-forward, and linked up with Damien Hayes on a couple of occasions.

While it’s unclear as of yet whether Ollie will come back for 2020, Saturday’s game represented Damien Hayes’ last in Portumna colours. Aged 37, Hayes leaves an indelible mark on not just his club, but on the county club scene overall. He has six county medals in his back pocket, allied to four All-Ireland club medals, and three All-Stars from his time in maroon. A fair haul by any standard.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Two arrested in Galway over spate of burglaries

Enda Cunningham

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Two men in County Galway have been arrested as part of a Garda investigation into a series of burglaries in businesses in Limerick and Tipperary.

As part of the operation, three houses were searched yesterday (Saturday) morning in Co Galway and two men in their 20s were arrested. They were brought to Henry Street and Roxboro Road Garda stations in Limerick, where they were detained under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2007.

During the search operation, two vehicles were also seized for technical examination.

The eight burglaries were carried out in the Limerick and Tipperary area in the early hours of last Wednesday morning.

As part of these investigations, an operation was put in place by detective Gardaí from Henry Street Garda station with the assistance of the Armed Support Unit in the Western Region and Gardaí from Tipperary, Limerick and Galway.

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Connacht Tribune

Branar reaching for skies at former airport

Judy Murphy

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Marc Mac Lochlainn, the director of Branar Téatar do Pháistí.

Lifestyle – The disused terminal at Galway Airport is being transformed for Sruth na Teanga, an immersive journey through centuries of Irish language and culture. Created by theatre company Branar, it was commissioned by Galway 2020 and will use puppetry, music, video and live performance to give audiences a fresh insight into the oldest vernacular language in Western Europe. Its creator and director, Marc Mac Lochlainn talks to JUDY MURPHY.

Entering the terminal of Galway Airport is like visiting the place that time forgot.

The desks for Avis and Budget Travel are still in place, exactly as they were when the facility closed nine years ago. So too are signs saying ‘Departures’ and ‘Garda and Customs only’, while the yellow pay-machines for the empty car-park stand abandoned by the main door and wind howls through the deserted building.

At the reception desk, a dog-eared copy of Dan Brown’s novel, Deception, is a lonesome reminder of the days when people thronged through this airport, carrying reading material for their flights.

“It’s a bit like the Mary Celeste,” says Marc Mac Lochlainn, the director of Branar Téatar do Pháistí with a mischievous grin. He’s referring to the American shipwreck that was found abandoned off the Azores in 1872, with everything perfectly intact but its crew missing.

At the height of Storm Brendan, with the rain lashing and wind howling, the space does feel eerie, but from March 2-29, thanks to Branar, it will become home to magical forests, streams and islands for one of the main events of Galway 2020 – European Capital of Culture.

Branar’s new show, Sruth na Teanga, was commissioned by 2020 as one of its flagship productions.  Now the theatre company has just over a month to transform the abandoned terminal building into a space for an immersive journey capturing the evolution of Western Europe’s oldest written, and still spoken, language. That language is Irish – a subject which caused so many people so much angst at school.

Marc is aware of this difficult legacy, but points out that Irish language and its culture far predates what has happened to it in the 20th Century at the hands of the Irish education system.

And that’s what Sruth na Teanga – based on the metaphor of a river – is all about. With puppetry, music, video mapping and live performance, it’s for children and adults and Marc hopes it will give people a fresh appreciation for Irish and its ongoing role in shaping us as a nation, through our place-names, our stories, our songs and the way we view the world.

Transforming the deserted airport terminal for this production will be no small feat but then Branar have never been short of ambition, as anyone who has seen their magical productions, such as How to Catch a Star and Woolly’s Quest, will be aware.

Sruth na Teanga has been evolving since 2015 when Galway first sought the European Capital of Culture designation and invited people such as Marc to dream big.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Corofin stand 60 minutes away from club football crowning glory

John McIntyre

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Corofin's Colin Brady is tackled by Paul Kerrigan of Nemo Rangers in the All-Ireland club semi-final. The reigning champions face Kilcoo of Down in Sunday's showdown at Croke Park.

IT’S a date with destiny like none other in the history of club Gaelic football. A team from Galway trying to go where no parish team has gone before.

Protecting a remarkable 35-match unbeaten run, Corofin stand on the threshold of becoming the first team to win three All-Ireland club senior titles on the trot.

It would represent a phenomenal achievement and the crowning glory for the Galway champions who have been such a compelling force over the past decade.

Standing in their way are All-Ireland final debutants, Kilcoo from Down, and while Corofin are red-hot favourite, the biggest occasion on the club GAA calendar has been littered with upsets down through the years.

It’s not in the nature of Kevin O’Brien’s charges to take anything for granted, however, and if they bring their A-game to Croke Park for the third year running, Corofin will have secured a cherished place in the record books on Sunday night.

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