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Connacht Tribune

Signs of slippage in Galway but reality check may be a blessing

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Galway defender Adrian Tuohey tries to halt the progress of Kilkenny's Ger Aylward during Sunday's Leinster hurling final at Croke Park.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

THE stampede to crown Galway as the 2018 All-Ireland hurling champions has stalled – at least for the time being. Last Sunday’s stalemate against admirably dogged Kilkenny in an uncompromising Leinster final has fuelled the suspicion that the Tribesmen may not be so far ahead of the chasing pack after all.

That anxiety was originally the legacy of Galway’s difficulties in just about getting the better of Dublin in the final round of the new provincial round-robin series at Pearse Stadium last month. Sure, Galway were already through to the Leinster decider, fielded a somewhat weakened team and were out for the third weekend in-a-row, but still warning signs could be picked up.

In their pomp, the great Kilkenny team of the 2006 to ’12 era was merciless. They just didn’t want to beat opponents, they wanted to wipe them out, especially their most-fiercest rivals. When the Cats had you on the ropes, there was no escape. We haven’t seen anything like that level of ruthlessness from Galway so far this year.

For an outfit which had been regarded as the clear championship standard bearers, Sunday’s draw with Kilkenny after a patchy performance in a tough battle, will have given big hope to their main challengers. The men in maroon rarely produced the fluency or vigour of last year’s all conquering campaign and, frankly, were sloppy and guilty of trying to gild the lily at times – you should always win the match first before trying to be too cute.

Two goal chances were spurned in the first half when Cathal Mannion and Conor Whelan took on the spectacular option of trying to first-time the ball to the net instead of applying routine finishing, while on the resumption, Joe Canning spurned a routine point-scoring opportunity in unsuccessfully trying to set up Niall Burke for what admittedly would have been a ground-breaking green flag.

There were periods when Galway looked like a team believing all the hype about them. They were careless, guilty of unforced errors and while never lacking commitment, the explosive all-action tempo of 2018 was missing. Take Canning, for instance. He had a difficult day on the frees and later that night saw his marker, Cillian Buckley get the RTE Man of the Match award. My choice would have been Padraic Walsh, but the bottom line was that the Kilkenny centre back was still a big influence.

Furthermore, losing a three-point lead in the dying embers of a relatively low-scoring match will have rattled Galway and their self-belief. Twice in the second half, they had worked themselves into positions to pull away, but simply weren’t able to, notwithstanding the savage industry of a relatively inexperienced Kilkenny team. A heap of their players have no All-Ireland medals, but under Brian Cody, if they work – and stay working – they are fit for purpose.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Galway rowers aim for Olympic gold!

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Best of luck to two Galway rowers – Aifric Keogh of Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, and Fiona Murtagh from Gortachalla in Moycullen – who are part of Team Ireland’s Women’s Coxless Fours team who compete in an Olympic final in Tokyo at 1.50am (Irish time) Wednesday.

Coverage on RTÉ 2 television begins from 1am.

Ireland – who were second in their heat after Australia, who set a new Olympic Record – are in lane two, with Great Britain on their outside, and Australia, favourites for a gold medal, in lane three.

The Netherlands, China and Poland are in lanes four, five and six at the Sea Forest Waterway.

Poor weather meant some rowing events were re-scheduled but the Women’s Fours final was not impacted.

Jim Keogh, Aifric’s father, told the Tribune he was hopeful ahead of the final.

“To make the Olympics is tough, to make the final is tough, to make the medal is tougher,” he said.
Photo: Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty.

*Full coverage of the race and reaction in this week’s Connacht Tribune and Galway City Tribune 

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Connacht Tribune

Paedophile sentenced to a further 17 months in prison

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A convicted paedophile, described by a Garda as ‘a prolific child abuser’, has had a 17-month prison sentence added to a 13-year sentence he is already serving for the rape and sexual abuse of children.

Disgraced primary school teacher and summer school bus driver, 69-year-old Seosamh Ó Ceallaigh, a native of Tuirín, Béal a’ Daingin, Conamara, had at all times denied two charges of indecently assaulting a ten-year-old boy at a Gaeltacht summer school in Béal a’ Daingin in 1979.

The offence carries a maximum two-year sentence.

A jury found him guilty by majority verdict following a four-day trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court last month.

At his sentence hearing last week, Detective Paul Duffy described Ó Ceallaigh as a prolific child abuser who had amassed 125 child abuse convictions, committed while he was a primary school teacher in Dublin and while he operated an Irish language summer school in Beal a’ Daingin.

They included convictions for rape and sexual assault for which he is currently serving sentences totalling 13 years.

Those sentences were due to expire in August 2024, but last week, Judge Rory McCabe imposed two, concurrent 17-month sentences on Ó Ceallaigh, before directing the sentences begin at the termination of the sentences he is currently serving.

The judge noted Ó Ceallaigh’s denial and lack of remorse and the lifelong detrimental effect the abuse had on the victim as aggravating factors.

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Connacht Tribune

Dismay as marine park proposal rejected by planners

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A lifeline project, with the potential to create around 200 long-term jobs in an area of South Connemara ravaged by unemployment and emigration, has been rejected by planners – primarily environmental grounds.
The proposed marine park or Páirc na Mara, east of Cill Chiaráin village, was viewed by many as a real chance to turn the tide for this unemployment blackspot.
Locals – and the vast majority of Galway West politicians – were supportive of the project which was viewed as one that would revitalise the area.
That said, Galway County Council’s decision to refuse permission for the marine park was welcomed by Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages which had expressed fears that the marine farm would extract huge amounts of fresh water to breed more than 1.5 million salmon smolts.
They said that millions of litres of fresh water would have been extracted on a regular basis by the salmon farm company operating the smolt rearing units – from the same lakes as the Carna and Cill Chiaráin water supply system.
“Local residents can now rest assured that their domestic water supply won’t be hijacked to line the pockets of people who have no regard for the local environment or residents,” said Billy Smyth, Chairman of Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages.
It was proposed to provide a marine innovation park Pairc na Mara on a 60-acre brownfield site at Cill Chiarain.
The development involves the provision of a number of marine-based facilities as well as education and research facilities in the townlands of Cill Chiarain, Ardmore and Calvary.
It involves the abstraction of water from Lough Scannan, its transfer to and temporary storage in Iron Lake along with impoundment and pumping to the Marine Park site with a rising main.
According to the application, Galway County Council has previously granted planning permission for aquaculture-based activities on the site of the proposed marine park back in 2002 while the first phase of the innovation park was built in 2005.
There were a considerable number of submissions supporting the application with many saying that this part of Connemara would benefit greatly from such a development.
But there were others who expressed concern over the potential impact it would have on the environment, and it would be located in a highly sensitive area.
Cllr Gerry King said that it was a valuable opportunity lost to the area given the amount of unemployment that exists. He added that there was local outrage at the decision.
The Fianna Fail councillor met with those behind the project and residents in support of the project. He said that they all agreed that this decision should be appealed to the higher planning authority.
It was refused on the basis that it would adversely affect the integrity and conservation objectives of the European sides in the vicinity of environmental value.
Planners stated that they could not be certain that the project would not adversely affect the integrity of Cill Ciaran Bay, the islands and Connemara bog complex
They also said that the Environmental Impact Assessment Report did not present a sufficient level of information on the impact it would have on human health, biodiversity, land, soil, water along with cultural heritage and the landscape.

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