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Inside Track

School year is the real measure of time passing

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Lucy McKeown and Millie Kenny on their first day of school at Kilcolgan Educate Together National School. Photos: Andrew Downes.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There are many ways to acknowledge the passing of summer into winter – but few are more effective than the return to school.

Some may call it autumn but for those with children of a school-going age, it’s the season of school uniforms, new books, big bills and bedding in for the shorter nights.

The streets have been full for the past few weeks of harassed parents dragging their offspring through the rainy streets, laden down with bags from Anthony Ryan’s and books that weigh as much as the children themselves.

And what they don’t have time to realise is that they will miss this so much when it’s over.

The seasons lose just a little of their meaning when the natural order comes undone – and when the children no longer need uniforms, when book lists don’t have to be processed, when winter coats don’t have to be purchased, for some reason there’s an emptiness instead of relief.

This year was the first year in twelve that we haven’t had to go through this process for two – now it’s down to one in secondary and one getting ready for college where the uniform appears to be something only marginally more sartorial than pyjamas.

And it’s been like a foretaste of what lies ahead in two years’ time when both will have graduated to third level, leaving behind the perennial template of their youth.

Of course there are huge advantages in this – for one thing, you will no longer automatically be fleeced for your summer holiday because you’re not restricted to the school breaks – and going to university in your home town isn’t exactly on a par with emigration to Australia.

And yet it’s the closing of a huge chapter in their lives and yours – they don’t mind because a long and glorious road lies out in front of them, but you, on the other hand, miss the memories.

We had all ends of the scale in the office this week – first time for one father to have no one heading to secondary school with the last of the flock now in University; another daddy saw the last of his youngsters start his first day at school.

And for those at or near the other end, it still seems like only yesterday that they held you hand crossing the road to Junior Infants, little tykes in big blue jumpers and grey pants, looking like miniature adults except for the wide eyes and innocence.

The uniforms lost their sheen before Christmas and by the end of the school year, they were held together by occasional threads at the knees and elbows – all elasticity confined to history, with ink stains and incidental tears to tell the story of another academic chapter.

The books too hung together by a thread – despite the shocking price of something that could really be almost free if the Department of Education got its act together on a full move to on-line learning.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

All the drama against Armagh can serve Galway well for tests ahead

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Galway footballers Damien Comer and Dylan McHugh show their delight after overcoming Armagh in Sunday's marathon All-Ireland senior quarter-final at Croke Park. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach /Sportsfile

Inside Track with John McIntyre

GIVEN the extraordinary events at Croke Park last Sunday, the Galway senior footballers must surely be the most united inter-county panel out there. It was an afternoon of highs and lows for Padraic Joyce’s team, but they did enough good things to prevail in an epic All-Ireland semi-final against Armagh.

Struggling early on with a four-week lay-off impacting on their sharpness before taking a grip on a high-tempo encounter in the second half, Galway has gone six points clear and were virtually out the gap by the 72nd minute. A few Armagh supporters had already departed the ground, accepting the seemingly inevitable end of a progressive summer journey.

Granted, there was still six minutes of stoppage time left but Galway were playing like winners, and, in fact, would add to their tally before the end with Damien Comer’s third point of the match. It still wasn’t enough to insulate them from a high-wire finale which saw two goals out of nothing and Rory O’Neill’s brilliant free salvaging a draw for Armagh.

The subsequent unsavoury scenes as the teams exited the field at the end of the game, an extra-time period which ebbed and flowed, and the penalty shoot-out drama ensured this was an afternoon when the rivals players must have experienced every emotion going. It was exciting and draining in almost equal measure.

Of course, Galway should have won the semi-final in normal time, but to be still standing after the brawl, extra-time and penalties must do wonders for their players’ state of mind. They committed a version of hari-kari with the concession of the three Armagh goals, but they never buckled; never gave up; never wilted.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Nothing routine about Armagh test but Galway can make a statement

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Galway’s Cullen Killeen aims for the posts against Tipperary’s Adam Daly during Sunday's All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship quarter-final at the Gaelic Grounds.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

THE moment of truth has arrived for Padraic Joyce and his team. All year, Galway have been building up to a game of this magnitude – an All-Ireland football quarter-final. The county standing in their way may not have been an opposition that they imagined, but it adds intrigue clash to Sunday’s big clash with Armagh.

Having won promotion back to the top-flight of the National League and regained the Connacht title, Galway are undoubtedly a rising force again, but this is the acid test so far against an Armagh team which is also on an upward curve after taking down All-Ireland champions Tyrone, and Donegal, in the qualifiers.

Galway have only lost twice in 2022 and one of those didn’t count when they fielded a weakened team against Roscommon in the final round of Division Two group ties, having already secured their place in the decider. And if their subsequent defeat to the Rossies in the league final at Croke Park was disappointing, the Tribesmen had already achieved their primary target of promotion.

Heading up to Castlebar for a Connacht quarter-final against Mayo had the potential to make or break Galway’s season, but a first-half Johnny Heaney goal and some magnificent long-distance free-taking from Shane Walsh give them just about enough insulation to withstand the home team’s late fightback.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Galway must front up or else it’s curtains against resurgent Cork

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Galway's Colm Costello celebrates after scoring a point against Dublin in the All-Ireland Minor Football quarter-final at O'Connor Park, Tullamore on Sunday. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

GALWAY hurlers will reach the point of no return at Semple Stadium on Saturday and though the Tipperary venue hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds for the Tribesmen over the years, it will be a major disappointment if Daithí Burke and company don’t serve up a strong reaction to their subdued Leinster Final show.

The last time Galway were in Thurles was July of last year. For 50 minutes of that All-Ireland qualifier, the men from the West were blown away by a rampant Waterford outfit which had to play the entire second-half with 14-players after the dismissal of defender Conor Gleeson.

It was hard to believe what we were seeing. True, Galway had been no great shakes in falling to Dublin in the Leinster championship, but to trail Waterford by 16 points at one juncture was a shock to supporters. Two late goals from substitute Jason Flynn did admittedly close the final gap to four, but it was still a deflating day for Galway.

On Saturday, they are heading back to the scene of the crime and, like 2021, have to try and lift themselves after coming up short in Leinster. They couldn’t do it 11 months ago, but you’d still expect a big response to their five-point loss to Kilkenny this time round.

Until that provincial decider, Galway’s graph had been rising slowly under new manager Henry Shefflin. Heading into that game unbeaten and with momentum behind them, the expectation was that they would drive on. Instead, they never really got going in a disjointed battle against the fired-up Cats.

Too many Galway players such as Cathal Mannion, Joseph Cooney, Tom Monaghan, and Brian Concannon didn’t produce their form of previous matches, while the over-reliance on Conor Whelan for scoring inspiration was another problem. And though Conor Cooney did well on the forty for long tracts of the final, his accuracy went to pieces in the final quarter.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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