By Rob Murphy
THE rugby continues for Connacht on Saturday with a trip to Wales to take on the Dragons at Rodney Parade (5.15pm). It’s been a happy stomping ground in recent seasons for the men in green and after their big win away to Edinburgh on their last outing, hopes will be high that they can start to build some early season momentum in the PRO14.
Following an unexpected break from action last weekend with the postponement of their home clash with Benetton (due to two Covid-19 cases in the Italian’s squad), Connacht will head into this game eager for an opportunity to build on the promising rugby they were able to produce in their high scoring victory at Murrayfield.
The break probably didn’t come at a great time, especially for some of the emerging squad members keen to make an impression during the international window. It didn’t come at a good time for Andy Friend either, because the five-try demolition of Edinburgh saw his side play some of the best rugby we’ve seen since the victory over Ulster in the Aviva Stadium back in August, and he would have hoped for more of the same against the Italians.
There is good news for Friend however. He is welcoming back the bulk of his international contingent for the coming weekend with Quinn Roux, Jack Carty and Kieran Marmion who didn’t see action, and Ultan Dillane, FinlayBeallham and Dave Heffernan who were involved in both Six Nations encounters, all training with the squad and available for selection this weekend.
One name is missing there. Bundee Aki started both games for Ireland in the conclusion of the 2020 Six Nations and is understandably down for some much needed rest ahead of a busy run of November internationals starting on Friday week with a home tie against Wales at the Aviva Stadium.
The Dragons are also welcoming back some international squad members. Five in total – Keon Brown, Ross Moriarty, Aaron Wainwright, Nick Tompkins and Jonah Holmes. The Newport side lost at home to Munster on Monday evening 28-16. It’s a third straight defeat against Irish provinces and there only win in so far this season was a home triumph over Zebre.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
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New fire station for Athenry gets stamp of approval
Councillors have given their stamp of approval to a new fire station for Athenry – voting unanimously to grant planning for the development at Ballygarraun South.
The site of just under two acres, located between the new Presentation College and the railway line, will house a station as well as a training tower and parking.
Chief Fire Officer Paul Duffy told a meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District this week that they hoped to have a contractor appointed by the end of October, with works to get underway soon afterwards.
“We have worked very hard to get this project to a tangible position and it’s great that the ‘Part 8’ planning application [one which requires a vote by councillors] has been adopted today,” said Mr Duffy.
“This will hopefully get underway this year and we can move on to other stations [in the county], with another one planned for next year and another the year after,” he added.
The plans include the construction of a 361 square metre fire station with finishing materials common to the area which ‘will link the development on the site to the context overall’.
Permission has been granted from the IDA, which owns the site, for Galway County Council to proceed with the development on their lands.
The meeting heard that consideration had been given to the sightlines for exiting fire trucks and that amendments had been made to the original plans to ensure they were adequate.
Local area councillor Gabe Cronnelly (Ind) said the progression of a new fire station for the town was hugely welcome, adding that it had been years in the making.
“We have to give huge credit to Paul Duffy who pursued this. Athenry is one of the busiest stations in the county. We secured an extension for the existing station six years ago and when the Department was granting that, they could see that, from the amount of calls it was getting, that a new station was justified,” said Cllr Cronnelly.
Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn (FF) said she was ‘delighted’ that the area’s representatives had given the proposal their unanimous backing.
Plan for ‘world-class’ campus with potential for 10,000 jobs at Galway Airport
From this week’s Galway CIty Tribune – A proposal to transform the former Galway Airport into a ‘world-class’ business and technology campus has been drawn up by Galway County Council – with the potential to create up to 10,000 jobs.
The plan, which was compiled as part of the Draft County Development Plan, proposes a multi-million-euro investment in the 115-acre site owned jointly by the County and City Councils.
According to the vision document, the airport site at Carnmore could become a key economic driver that would “attract and secure long-term investment in Galway and the western region, and underpin the development of the Galway Metropolitan Area”.
Among the sectors identified as potential occupants are renewable energy, biodiversity, food science and logistics.
Some of the structures included for are a ‘landmark building’; commercial units; park amenity and recreation space; a renewable energy park; and a multi-purpose leisure facility.
A contemporary development with the potential to accommodate emerging industries is promised, with projected employment numbers ranging between 3,500 to 10,000 over time.
However, county councillors raised concerns at a meeting this week that the proposal they had seen in the Development Plan had been ‘sitting on a shelf’ since last March – and they still hadn’t seen what was dubbed ‘the masterplan’ for the airport site.
Cllr Liam Carroll (FG) told the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District meeting that the recent news that Oranmore was among the locations being looked at by multinational tech giant, Intel, put fresh focus on the future of the airport.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Work expected to start on Galway City cycleways next summer
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The first six projects in the city’s major new cycle network are expected to begin construction by next June.
In an update on developments that are in train to improve the lot of cyclists, councillors at this week’s local authority meeting were told that the Martin Roundabout (near the Galway Clinic) would next be changed to a junction and the BusConnects, involving priority bus lanes from Moneenageisha to University Hospital Galway, were advancing.
The National Transport Authority (NTA) has approved a raised cycle lane north of Railway Bridge on Doughiska Road South and for a shared street south of the bridge.
Eglinton Canal will turn into a shared cycle and pedestrian path. Four weeks of public consultation on both of these is set to begin in October, with the projects set to go to detailed design and tender following final NTA approval.
Ballybane, Castlepark and Bóthar Stiofáin Roads will also go to public consultation for “raised adjacent cycle schemes” a month after that.
The six projects are expected to begin construction by the end of June or early July next year.
Millars Lane is currently in preliminary design stage after clearing works were carried out last November.
Options are being examined and parking survey prepared for Threadneedle, Bishop O’Donnell, Dr Mannix, Devon Park, Salthill Road Upper and Lower Roads with input and designs from the Parkmore Strategic Framework awaited for the Monivea and Doughiska North Roads.
Active Travel Schemes had been approved in principle by the NTA for Ballyloughane and Clybaun South Roads, involving pedestrian crossings, traffic calming, signalisation of junctions and the integration of safe school routes.
Cllr John Connolly (FF) noted that the first quarter of 2021 was when some of these projects were to go to construction, according to a previous timetable.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Pamela’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.