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Connacht Tribune

Saudis in but Keegan out in hectic day for Galway United

Keith Kelly

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AGENTS of the two Saudi Arabian businessmen who are to take a controlling stake in Galway United will travel to the city in the next week to begin the process of assuming the running of the club after their investment proposal was ratified by club supporters on Monday night.

Abdulrahman Al Nemer and Mohammed Al Ruwaite will become the new majority shareholders of Galway United once due diligence – background checks carried out prior to the signing of any contract – has been completed.

An EGM of the Galway United Friends Co-operative, which took over United before the start of the 2018 season, was held on Monday night where details of the proposed investment were unveiled.

Out of a membership of 107 people, 79 attended Monday’s meeting, and following a near two-hour presentation and Q&A session, a vote by private ballot was held, with 68 members voting in favour of the proposal, 10 against, with one abstention/spoiled vote. As a result, a 75% shareholding in United will be given to the Saudi pair, with the fans’ co-op retaining the other 25%

The proposal by Al Nemer and Al Ruwaite includes the lodgement of €500,000 as part of their initial investment; as well as an additional €80,000 which will be specifically aimed at the club’s academy, youth development programmes, and scholarship programmes.

That latter part will be via a proposed link with NUI Galway, which Monday’s meeting was told was one of the attractions of United for the duo, as was the fact Galway City will be the joint European Capital of Culture in 2020. The untapped potential of a club in the State’s third largest city to regularly qualify for European competition was also an attraction.

Al Nemer, the older of the two, is a businessman who was the former vice-president of Al-Hilal FC, the 15-time winners of the Saudi Arabian domestic league, and twice winners of the Asian Champions League.

Ak Ruwaite, who is believed to be in his late 20s or early 30s, is a sports agent who is the founder and CEO of both Europe Sports Group and Malgroup. He has a football agency in Holland, and is also believed to be the agent for around 60% of the foreign players in the Saudi league.

Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Curran, Melody and Molloy all leave Utd as Caulfield confirms two new signings

Keith Kelly

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Enda Curran, pictured after scoring a goal for Galway United against Wexford in the season just finished, has left the club. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

The comings and goings have continued at Galway United in the past week, with the club busy re-signing players fork last season, adding some new faces, as well as confirming the departure of players who were part of the 2020 squad.

Having already said goodbye to the sextet of Conor Barry, Joe Collins, Vinny Faherty, Jack Lynch, Timo Partheons, and Josh Smith, the club this week confirmed the departure of three more players: Enda Curran (89 appearances, 20 goals), Conor Melody (108 appearances, five goals), and Timmy Molloy (16 appearances, no goals).

Curran was signed for United as an 18-years-old by Sean Connor ahead of the 2011 season and made his debut in the opening game of that campaign, coming on as a substitute for the injured Neal Keane in the 43rd of a 3-0 defeat at home to St Patrick’s Athletic.

He made a total of 13 appearances for United that season, and he was back with the Tribesmen for United’s return to the national league in the 2014 season, when he made eight appearances, scoring his first goal for United in the first of those games, coming off the bench to score in the 5-0 win at home to Shamrock Rovers B in July.

His most productive season for United was the following year’s campaign, when he scored 12 goals in 25 appearances in the Premier Division for United (he made 29 league and cup appearance in total that season), including his one and only hat-trick for the club, coming in the 5-0 win away to Bray Wanderers in April.

The following month, he had the distinction of scoring two penalties in a single game, in the 5-3 win over Bohemians.

That haul of a dozen goals saw him finish as the club’s joint top-scorer in the league that season alongside Jake Keegan, though the US striker finished as overall top scorer on 16 goals thanks to 2 goals in the FAI Cup, and two in the League Cup.

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

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Connacht Tribune

Biden is a Maree man!

Keith Kelly

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US President-election Joe Biden.

The connections of incoming US President, Joe Biden, to Mayo and Louth on his mother’s side of his family have been widely reported – but it has emerged that he has just as strong links to a small townland outside Oranmore through his father’s side…as recently as four generations ago.

And the news has led to hopes that the President-elect will include a trip to Galway in any itinerary for a visit to Ireland during his presidency – and it is being reported this week that the incoming president will make Ireland his first state visit when he assumes office.

Contact had been made with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s office with the news of the President-elect’s Galway links ahead of his visit to Ireland in 2016, but Liam Hanniffy – who has uncovered the link between his family and that of Mr Biden, was told that the itinerary had already been planned, and a visit to Galway was not possible.

Liam Hanniffy, who is from Ballinacourty in Maree, has been researching his family tree since been contacted by a man from America in 2014 saying they were third cousins, and both were also related to the then US Vice-President, Joe Biden.

Research by Liam has discovered that a man called John Hanniffy, who was born just over 200 years ago in Ballinacourty Hill in Maree, is actually the great-great grandfather of the President-elect – and to make the Galway link even stronger, John Hanniffy married a woman whose parents was also born in the same townland, meaning two of his great-great-great grandparents also came from the same townlands nestled on Galway Bay.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition at www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Galway all set to re-open for business

Dara Bradley

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Shop Street...business will be back.

Galway has earned the right to re-open – local lockdown sacrifices have suppressed the virus in the community, the latest figures confirm.

The collective effort of city and county residents over six weeks drove down the infection rate to one of the lowest in the country.

Gyms, all retail, hairdressers, personal services and possibly religious services and some entertainment are on course to re-open next week.

Government will announce plans for hospitality, with publicans, and in particular those who don’t serve food, hopeful they won’t be left behind. Plans to ease Christmas visiting restrictions will also be unveiled Friday.

Galway had one of Ireland’s highest Covid-19 figures when the country entered Level 5 lockdown in October but the latest stats reveal a massive turnaround.

Galway recorded 168 new confirmed cases in the fortnight to Monday, which equates to a 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 of 65.1, compared with the national average of 107.8. The incidence rate peaked at 313.9 per 100,000 in October when the number of weekly cases in Galway hit a staggering 500 – ten times this week’s total of 50 cases in the seven days up to Monday.

In the week to Saturday, 28 Covid outbreaks were recorded in the West, down from 36 the previous week. Eighteen of the new clusters were in private homes and nine were in extended family and community.

See full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition at www.connachttribune.ie

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