Date Published: 05-May-2011
By Dara Bradley
On the face of it, this should be a dead-rubber. A cursory glance at the standings in the Magners League shows Munster on top, 14 points clear of the next best, and already qualified for a home semi-final berth.
Connacht, in ninth place, would seem to have little to play for given that they cannot – on their own merits – qualify for the Heineken Cup based on their positioning in the league.
But interprovincial derbies are rarely insignificant and there is much still up for grabs when Connacht takes on the might of Munster at Thomond Park tonight (7.05pm).
Obviously pride and the wish to end a season on a high are important. However, the stakes are higher than that: Connacht, four points behind Edinburgh, have their best Magners League finish within their grasp and can still leapfrog the Scots with a bonus point win but equally can be overtaken by tenth place Benetton Treviso if results don’t go their way.
Munster, too, will be anxious to bring back the ‘fortress factor’ to Thomond Park after their disappointing Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final exit, in front of their home support, against Harlequins last weekend.
That 20-12 defeat – described as “extremely embarrassing” by coach Tony McGahan – will hurt and Munster will be hoping to get back to winning ways in Limerick, where they have won all ten home matches in the Magners League this season.
McGahan took a lot of ‘stick’ this week for the manner of Munster’s Amlin exit but out-half Ronan O’Gara redirected the criticism back at the players – you can be sure there was a lot of soul-searching and introspection down South this week and Connacht should expect an almighty backlash.
Another motivation for Munster is many of the team, like Tomás O’Leary, will be looking to impress, as places in the starting XV for the league semi-final – and final should they make it – are still up for grabs. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a Magners League final against possibly their fiercest rivals Leinster?
Others, like Paul Warwick, who is leaving Munster for pastures new, and Ian Dowling and Alan Quinlan who are retiring, will want to give the Red Army stellar last performances to remember them by.
The same is true for Connacht’s Ian Keatley – who will no doubt be anxious to impress his new employers ahead of his transfer to Munster next season – Fionn Carr, Seán Cronin, Jamie Hagan (all Leinster bound), Troy Nathan (who this week signed for Glasgow), and Mike McComish (who is heading to Ulster next season), who this week bid farewell to the province. Four of the departing men start tonight, with McComish and Nathan named on the bench.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
Retail industry trade body welcomes B&Q announcement
Date Published: 07-May-2013
Retail Excellence Ireland, the country’s largest retail industry trade body, has welcomed the news that 60 jobs have been saved at the city branch of B&Q.
It’s after the home improvements store successfully exited examinership.
Under the scheme, 2.4 million euro is to be invested by parent company Kingfisher plc, and B and Q will continue to trade at eight stores
This means 640 jobs have been saved nationwide, including 60 at the outlet in Knocknacarra.
However, David Fitzsimons of Retail Excellence Ireland says landlords need to be willing to help out smaller retailers too.
Foundation reports nine Galway heart deaths each week
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Nine people die in Galway every week from heart disease and stroke.
That’s according to the Irish Heart Foundation, which is launching its Happy Hearts Appeal today. (9/5)
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, launched the appeal today to help raise funds for the charity, which has seen increasing demand on its patient services.
The Foundation says it needs to raise at least half a million euro to maintain existing information services.
Call to tackle delays at Oranmore rail crossing
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Concerns have been raised over traffic delays at the railway crossing in Oranmore.
Councillor Jim Cuddy says he has received many representations from local motorists who have been experiencing extended delays.
He says the closed barrier can sometimes cause a traffic tailback as far as the roundabout near the Maldron hotel.
Cllr Cuddy has brought the matter to the attention of Iarnrod Eireann and has asked for an explanation as to why the crossing is closed for so long.