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Connacht Tribune

Schools in sport lockdown

Stephen Glennon

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St Raphael's College celebrate winning the Post Primary Senior A Hurling final at the Connacht GAA Centre in Bekan in February of 2019. The Loughrea school was denied the opportunity of further success at All-Ireland level due to Covid-19.

SPORT plays a huge role in the development of young people, no more so than in the lives of  post-primary school students. This week, Tribune reporter Stephen Glennon spoke with teachers from four different  second-level colleges – and from different sporting backgrounds – about the impact the pandemic and a succession of lockdowns is having on their students.

Raphael’s College coach Francis Forde believes that the pandemic is having a huge impact on young people – not just in terms of their education but also in their social and sporting development.

After many years in the doldrums of post-primary schools hurling, St. Raphael’s has risen in recent years to claim an All-Ireland ‘B’ hurling title in 2019 and a Connacht Colleges ‘A’ crown last year – the latter just before the pandemic hit.

Along with Connacht finalists, Pres. Athenry, they were strong contenders for All-Ireland honours. While Forde agrees it was disappointing to have that campaign cut short, he says a bigger issue is the impact the pandemic is having on students in “a crucial development phase”.

Although he alludes to other extra-curricular activities – such as school plays – he notes that in hurling terms, with the minor grade moving from U18 to U17, schools hurling (U19) has now a bigger role to play in a young GAA player’s progression.

“It is a really important stepping stone for them and it is a bridge between the strong club level and inter-county, particularly when you are talking about the ‘A’ competitions. So, from a player development point of view, it is a huge loss.

“Obviously, within the school, and within all schools, we are disappointed because sport is a big part of our year, lending itself to the kind of school spirit that you want to develop. That very often develops around the extra-curricular activities.”

One example he cites of portraying this school spirit was when they faced Pres. Athenry in the Connacht PPS ‘A’ hurling final in Bekan, Mayo, early last year. “Where I would put it (value of sport) is way above what the individual student gets out of being successful on a schools team. I would put it way above that.

“An example would be when we went down to play Pres. Athenry in the Connacht final last year on the most horrendous Friday afternoon in February. It was during mid-term break and there was no supporters bus or anything like that.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer

Denise McNamara

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Ninety-five year old Margaret Kenny was first person to be administered the Covid-19 vaccination Practice Nurse Deirdre Furey at the Surgery Athenry.

On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.

Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.

While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.

“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.

“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”

Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara

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Linda Hughes, presenting the RTÉ weather forecast live in studio.

Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.

But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.

The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.

She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.

The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.

“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.

“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”

Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Quinn...back home after an incredible few months.

Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.

But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.

The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.

To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.

“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.

But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.

Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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