Date Published: 24-Mar-2011
IT may not be Croke Park, but even among a sea of table tennis tables, former All-Ireland football referee and Co-ordinator of the County Galway Local Sports Partnership, Michael Curley cuts a striking figure.
Although the Tribune has checked in with Curley and County Galway Local Sports Partnership from time to time, it has been all of six years since this column caught up with one of the most familiar faces of Galway sport.
Since then, Curley’s life has moved on immeasurably, from retiring as a Garda Superintendent in Salthill to subsequently taking up a role that, arguably, he was born to do – co-ordinator of a sporting body. It’s a role he thoroughly enjoys.
“What the Sports Partnership does is that it promotes sports and recreation across all sectors of the community, regardless of how old or young you are,” says Curley. “It does this in a number of different ways, working with different organisations, such as the Active Retirement for the older people and clubs and organisations for the younger and, indeed, middle aged people.”
On this day, Curley stands in the magnificent Kingfisher gym in NUI Galway; the sound of table tennis balls whipping from the bats creating a symphony of sorts. “In this particular instance, we have organised with Top Spin, which is the table tennis club here in Galway, to coach the sport in five schools around the county.
“Tom Shaughnessy of Top Spin – he is also with the Irish Table Tennis Association – has been coaching the schools for the last number of weeks, and today is the culmination of that coaching,” notes Curley, as he surveys waspish competitors buzzing around the sea of tables.
Those five schools, as it happens, are all in the Connemara area, namely Cornamona, Spiddal, Oughterard – primary and secondary – and Carna. All, with the exception of the primary school, attended the second-level tournament at NUI Galway last week.
“So, we have brought four of those five schools together in a blitz. We have 60 students here from the four schools. They will take part in a blitz throughout the day and there are prizes for the winners.
“After today, we hope to set up table tennis clubs in those four areas where they can continue to play this sport afterwards. Most of those you see here today are very interested in table tennis, and that is why they are playing it. This is another sporting outlet for them. So, I will be working with the communities in the four areas concerned – and with the schools – and we hope we will be able to set up those clubs.”
In truth, most people who have played the game at one stage or other will agree – be they closet fans or not – that table tennis is a thoroughly enjoyable game to play. The Glinsk native agrees, but he notes that the game also encourages a certain degree of movement and activity.
“It is a very active sport without it requiring extreme fitness or anything like that,” says the Sports Partnership co-ordinator. “Also, it is a great alternative for those who don’t play other sports (such as GAA, rugby or soccer) and that is one of the pillars of the Sports Partnership’s work. To try and promote the minority sports, as well as everything else. This is one of them.”
Surprised by the level of interest – “it was even greater than we thought” – Curley says it underlined the demand for these activities among young people. “In fairness, the likes of Gaelic games, soccer and rugby, they look after their people very well and provide plenty of opportunities for them,” continues the 57-year-old.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
Galway County VEC Chief takes High Court case
Date Published: 07-May-2013
The High Court is hearing arguments from the state in an action brought by two VEC bosses who are challenging the loss of an annual allowance worth 12 and a half thousand euro.
Former president of the GAA Joe McDonagh who’s the CEO of County Galway VEC and Dr Katie Sweeney, CEO of Mayo VEC, say a special Transport Liaison Officers Allowance should not have been cut, even though that part of their role no longer operates.
Lawyers for the Department of Education deny the allowance is part of their pay.
The case is in the context of planned changes within the VEC system under the Croke Park agreement.
Planning go ahead for community facility in Doughiska
Date Published: 09-May-2013
A hotel in the city is to be changed into a community facility.
Planning permission has been granted to DRA Community Development Company Limited to redevelop the ‘Racing Lodge Hotel’ in Doughiska.
It’s planned to use the building for community, educational and pastoral use.
Planners have attached 4 conditions to the development, including the stipulation that all uses at the building be on a not-for-profit basis.
Galway call for Transport Minister to intervene in bus strike
Date Published: 13-May-2013
City Councillor Michael Crowe is calling on the Transport Minister Leo Vradkar to urgently intervene to end strike action by Bus Eireann in Galway.
Major travel disruption is expected in Galway and nationwide as the national strike enters its second day.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing their picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city.
It’s understood up to 80 Galway workers took part in the picket on rotational rosters yesterday.
Speaking on Galway Talks, City Cllr Michael Crowe said Minister Vradkar needs to take urgent action to intervene so that transport services can be restored.