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Reality check for Connacht in bad loss to Welsh hosts




Full back Tiernan O'Halloran, one of a number of Connacht players struggling for his best form.

Ospreys 22

Connacht 17

REALITY can be a hard hitting concept if it sneaks up on you. Friday was a day of reckoning for Connacht in the Welsh town of Bridgend. The Ospreys were out of their usual home at the Liberty Stadium and missing eight Welsh internationals. The visitors arrived at full strength and the perception around the men in green was that they would show their superiority over the 80 minutes.

Cory Allen’s last minute break and the subsequent try from Dan Evans – after a television match official review – created some heart stopping drama at the very end and secured not only the win for the hosts but a four try bonus point for good measure. In terms of getting one over their rivals, the Ospreys had done that and more. This was a body blow that will be hard to recover from in the race for the top three spots in the pool.

It was more than than that though, it was a reality check for those who follow the Westerners. Leaving aside all the errors and mis-steps in the game, Connacht were just not good enough here. The hosts had better players in key positions, a better grasp of what they were each trying to achieve, a more refined gameplan and lots more composure and leadership.

This game was a real marker in the sand and it looked like Connacht were fluffing their lines early on as they conceded two tries (both scored by emerging young Welsh star Keelan Giles) in the first 15 minutes, yet it was more than just mistakes that were at play here, the hosts were in superb form in those early stages, powering through Connacht and scoring two tries with minimal fuss.

By half time it was 10-3. Connacht had managed to come away with nothing from three visits to the home 22, so despite a change in momentum, the lead remained in Ospreys hands. After half time, things got worse for the visitors ironically after Rob McCusker was sin binned for a high tackle. Far from taking the initiative, Connacht recoiled and the hosts attacked with Cory Allen getting their third try while down a man to stretch the lead to 14 points.

All that made the final 15 minutes all the more perplexing as suddenly nerves took over the hosts and the bench impact belonged to Connacht. Caolin Blade, Kyle Godwin and Shane Delahunt each made a difference and Connacht soon had tries. Two in the space of five minutes, both off the back of lineout and mauls with Bundee Aki on the back of one and Jared Butler crashing over for the other with Carty’s conversion locking the sides at 17 all.

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

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Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades

Denise McNamara



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.

Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.

The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.

“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.

“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”

Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.

“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools

Stephen Corrigan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.

The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools

Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.

“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.

“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.

A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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GMIT warns partying students they are delaying return to campus

Enda Cunningham



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Partying students have been told their actions have impacted GMIT’s plans to re-start practical classes on campus – and Gardaí are monitoring the city’s bus and train stations to catch those breaking the 5km travel restriction by returning home for the weekend.

College authorities said the current “extremely serious outbreak” of Covid-19 among students in Galway City was caused by a small minority who are “moving and mixing between different households”.

Following a meeting with Gardaí last week, GMIT contacted all students to clarify that because there are no ‘onsite’ classes, there should be no need to travel for educational purposes.

“The Gardaí have notified us that there will be checks at the bus and train stations to implement the 5km travel rule, as well as checkpoints on the roads, and that fines will be given for any non-compliance with this rule,” students were told.

In a separate communication issued this week, the college’s Covid Officer appealed to students to abide by the rules.

“This outbreak has had an impact on our plans with regard to return to onsite practical work, with consequences for all students.

“We are appealing to all students to comply with all Covid restrictions and in doing so, to help ensure that those students who have to return to onsite practical work can do so,” the email read.

Many students from outside the city have opted to stay in their accommodation for access to better broadband.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more coverage of Covid figures and vaccinations, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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