THE NEALE 0-11
Mark Walsh at MacHale Park
IN the annals of Oughterard football, the year 1938, and the club’s Senior County final success, is held in the highest of regard, even 81 years later. However, the twists and turns of their run of 2019, which has led them to Intermediate county and now provincial glory, will also be revered in exalted tones in years to come.
Castlebar’s MacHale Park was lit up for this Connacht final occasion on Saturday evening, and there’s something about playing beneath the shining lights that brings out the best in the best players. While Tulsk had kept the younger Tierney brother, Matthew, relatively under wraps in the semi-final, Galway U-20’s standout player was not about to let a game of this magnitude slide him by.
A haul of 1-5, 1-2 from play, illustrates that. However, his performance was not without error, as a couple of missed goal chances in the first will testify to, but when himself and his older brother Enda have concluded their efforts with Oughterard, Padraic Joyce will surely be testing them out in maroon and white.
Draws have been one of the protruding themes of Oughterard’s remarkable 2019 journey. Both Clifden and Kilkerrin/Clonberne drew with them in the group stages of the Galway IFC, whilst those two memorable County finals with Micheál Breathnach ended level, with penalties needed to decide the replay.
Oughterard and The Neale look wistfully across the banks of the River Corrib at one another. On Saturday night, they stared each other directly in the eyes. Nose-to-nose at half-time, tied at 0-7 apiece, by whistle’s end, Oughterard had left The Neale firmly in their shadow.
Tommy Finnerty’s side fell a point behind after the break. No matter to them, because they went on a run of 1-8 without reply, culminating in team captain Eddie O’Sullivan collecting the Gene Byrne Memorial Cup. It will have a nice glimmer to it sitting beside the Cotter Cup, won last month at Pearse Stadium, in the Oughterard clubhouse.
What the eight-point win over the Mayo champions, and the 11-point success over Roscommon’s Tulsk Lord Edwards the previous weekend, demonstrated above anything else, is the high standard of football and competitiveness at play within the Galway IFC.
The anatomy of that second half display on Saturday evening centred on another salient theme of Oughterard’s season, their support play and ability to finish off hard runs out of defence with punishing scores. O’Sullivan referenced it in the aftermath, and the goal was an example in point.
Eric Lee was selfless and made constant forays into his full-back line to help out all evening. He wasn’t just filling space as a healthy number of forwards do when carrying out defensive duties. Oughterard’s number 12 made one important interception in the first half, and another in the second half, led to the goal.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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Shannon back in full flight!
There was a festive atmosphere at Shannon Airport this week as the inaugural Ryanair Corfu service prepared to take flight – ahead of another new service to Gran Canaria, which begins this week.
The new route to the popular Greek Island will operate twice weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays until the end of October, and the new weekly Ryanair service to Gran Canaria (Las Palmas) begins this Saturday.
All of this means that Shannon Airport is now serving Alicante, Barcelona, Stansted, Gatwick, Kaunas, Krakow, Wroclaw, Warsaw, Manchester, Corfu, Faro, Lanzarote, Malaga, Palma, Tenerife, Gran Canaria (Las Palmas) and Turin.
Passengers on the first Corfu-bound flight enjoyed a pre-departure reception in the airport’s transit lounge which was decorated in festive style.
To celebrate the new routes, the airport gave one lucky passenger a special surprise, return flight tickets for two people to a choice of one of Shannon Airport’s 17 exciting destinations.
A special water cannon salute by the airport’s fire service added an extra sense of occasion as airport staff welcomed passengers and looked after them throughout their time in the airport.
Welcoming the new air services Mary Considine, CEO, Shannon Group, which owns and manages Shannon Airport said: “The global pandemic has had a huge impact on all our lives and being able to once again welcome our passengers as they take to the skies bound for sun drenched holiday destinations is really wonderful.
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Pixies slot proves time is now for the Clockworks
Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell
When Pixies were announced as Galway International Arts Festival headliners way back in 2019, a promising Loughrea four-piece were fresh from relocating to London and bullishly embracing their role as the new faces of former Oasis manager Alan McGee’s Creation 23 record label.
Two years on, the US alt-rock pioneers are yet to grace the Big Top – but the Clockworks, made up of James McGregor, Tom Freeman, Seán Connolly and Damian Greaney, are set to make a US debut in their company with a series of support slots that cement their place as one of Galway’s biggest artistic exports.
In less than six weeks’ time, Pixies will embark on a September tour of the states with the Clockworks by their side for six gigs. The Galway group play their own maiden headline US show in New York’s Mercury Loung on September 8.
On their horizon too, is an end-of-year Irish tour with Dublin indie-rock outfit Inhaler as well as a host of festival appearances, barring cancellations.
With news of the Pixies tour coming in the same week NewDad were announced as support for Fontaines D.C.’s highly anticipated Belfast show on August 13, it is powerful evidence of the ground Galway acts continue to break.
“It’s very exciting to have loads of gigs lined up after absolutely nothing for so long,” James admits.
“It’s really nice to feel like we’re going to hit the ground running and when Pixies came through, that was just amazing and what a way to start. It’s our first time gigging in America – my first time going there personally.
“All four of us are massive fans of Pixies too. Any time they’d come to Ireland, we’d always try and throw our hat in the ring for a support slot and just to think that now we’ll be going around the States with them is insane.”
Read the full interview in this week’s Groove Tube, in the Connacht Tribune – on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital version from www.connachttribune.ie
All out in force to cheer home one of their own
Sitting on an airplane, mid-air from Japan en route to Dublin, Olympic bronze medallist from Moycullen, Fiona Murtagh was unsure whether anyone would be at the airport to meet her and teammates Aifric Keogh of Na Forbacha, Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty when they touched down.
Because of Covid-19 restrictions, there was no big welcoming party planned for Dublin Airport. But Fiona need not have worried; as she strode out of airport security and into Arrivals, all her family were there to hug her.
Fiona hadn’t seen her parents Marguerite and Noel since April because of a pre-Olympic training camp in Italy; and her siblings Pádraig, Lorraine and twin Alan all turned up, too.
“Oh my God, I couldn’t believe it. It was actually really emotional, it was so lovely. I didn’t expect the full family to be there. Tears came to my eyes. I hadn’t seen mom and my dad in seven weeks,” said Fiona.
That was just the first leg of what was to be a heart-warming homecoming for a hero.
The family drove back to Galway with Fiona, who had heard “through the grapevine that there was going to be something in Bushypark”.
“But the scale of it, I didn’t expect it at all, it was incredible, it was so lovely to see everyone come out and support and see me”, she said.
Read the full story over eleven pages of coverage on the homecoming of our Olympic heroes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie