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Silver stars of the silver screen!

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A host of Galwegians with longevity on their sides are set to light up the screen next week in the highly anticipated award-winning film – and what they all have in common is that they predated the formation of the State!

‘Older Than Ireland’ is directed by acclaimed filmmaker Alex Fegan, from ‘The Irish Pub’, and features thirty Irish men and women aged 100 years and over who share their life’s memories in this charming film.

The film will explore each centenarian’s journey from their birth at the dawn of Irish Independence to their life as a centenarian in modern day Ireland, offering a rare insight into the personal lives of these remarkable individuals.

Mary Kilroy from Caltra with the youngest of her 23 great grand children Pippa Kilroy.

Mary Kilroy from Caltra with the youngest of her 23 great grand children Pippa Kilroy.

Snackbox Films produced the documentary which received Best Documentary award and a standing ovation at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.

Each centenarian boasts a unique perspective on life and its true meaning, reflecting on key events such as the day they got their first pair of shoes, the thrill of their first kiss, the magic of their wedding day and the tragic loss of their loved ones, all brought together in this thoughtful and endearing film.

From 113 year old Kathleen Snavely, the oldest person in Ireland ever on record, to 108 year old Luke Dolan, Ireland’s oldest man, audiences will met with a colourful cast of characters from all walks of life, whose extraordinary lives will unfold before viewers on the big screen.

Galway locals featured in the film include sisters Margaret Kelly and Mary Kilroy, along with Kathleen Fosdike, Madge Fanning – who features in the Guinness Book of Records as a member of the Irish family with most centenarians – and Winnifred Anderson.

North Galway will watch with particular pride the screen debuts of Mary Kilroy from Caltra – now in her 102nd year – and Margaret Kelly, who was in her 100th year before her passing.

Mary from Caltra and Margaret from Cloongowna, Ballymacward, were originally Mannions hailing from Fairhill, Menlough.

The Fairhill sisters have a brother, John Mannion who now lives in Limerick, and a sister Christina Ownes, living in Ballagh, Menlough.

The premiere will be a proud day for both sisters’ families, but as for Margaret Kelly’s family in particular, the film will be a pleasant memory in the years ahead.

According to Mary Kilroy’s son, Mattie, who also resides in Caltra, both Mary and Margaret were married to and worked diligently on their farms for most of their lives alongside their husbands Michael Kilroy and JP Kelly, both now deceased.

“It was nice to see our mother in the film but unfortunately due to sight difficulties she will be unable to see the film but she hopes to get a recording of the sound which she can listen to in the months ahead,” said Mattie.

The thirty cast members were handpicked from a possible three hundred candidates over the age of 100 across the country.

The film will premiere in Dublin this Saturday and Thursday, and Galwegians will be able to see the film in the Eye Cinema from September 25.

Connacht Tribune

US basketball champion boasts impeccable Galway roots

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Galway roots...Pat Connaughton.

An Irish American basketball player with impeccable Galway roots helped end a 50-year NBA famine for the Milwaukee Bucks last week.

Boston-born Pat Connaughton, whose grandparents hail from Clostoken, Loughrea, played a pivotal part in his side clinching the NBA championship final series over the Phoenix Suns.

The 6ft 5in shoot guard was involved in all six games of the final series, including the last, which the Bucks won 105-98.

Afterwards, the 28-year-old said: “It’s incredible. The fans supported us through thick and thin. They’ve had our backs. To be able to do it and to win it and to be able to call ourselves World champions in front of our own fans . . . it’s incredible. The city of Milwaukee deserves it and I’m just proud that I could be a part of a team, with my teammates, that gave it to them.”

One of his cousins in Loughrea, Madeleine Connaughton, told the Connacht Tribune that his relations in Galway were incredibly proud of his achievement.

“It’s absolutely brilliant; he’s a celebrity in our eyes because he has done so well,” said Madeleine.

“It’s brilliant that Pat is flying the flag for us over there. He was the only person to play both professionally, baseball and basketball with Notre Dame. He was as good a baseball player as basketball and had to choose.”

Madeleine joked that there ‘is a clatter of us’ in Loughrea related to Pat Connaughton, including the Connaughtons, Tierneys, Keanes and Burkes.

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

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Connacht Tribune

Galway duo make sporting history as out first Olympic medallists

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Ireland rowers (from left) Aifric Keogh from Furbo, Eimear Lambe from Dublin, Fiona Murtagh from Moycullen and Emily Hegarty from Cork celebrate on the podium with their Olympic bronze medals after the Women's Four final at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

The motto of the Ireland Women’s Coxless Four team, which includes Galway’s first ever Olympic medallists, Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh, has been drilled into them by coach Giuseppe De Vita: ‘Winter miles makes Summer smiles.’

At twenty-three minutes past two on Wednesday morning Irish time, during the Tokyo Olympic medal presentation ceremony at a windswept Sea Forest Waterway, the rowing quartet’s smiles beamed from ear-to-ear.

It was a testament to the hard graft they’ve put into the sport over many years, especially the past 18 months, and the last eight weeks in particular in the build-up to the biggest six minutes of their careers to date.

Keogh (29) from Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, Fiona Murtagh (26) from Gortachalla in Moycullen, and Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty were well entitled to smile after a remarkable rowing performance that earned them bronze medals in the Women’s Fours Final.

As they presented each other with their medals, in keeping with Covid-19 restrictions, and waved their bouquets into the air, back home, their smiles lit up the television and computer screens in living rooms of their family, friends and new legion of fans throughout the land.

It was a history-making feat – Galway’s first Olympic medallists, Ireland’s first women rowers to win Olympic medals, and the nation’s first at Tokyo 2020.

Both women were ecstatic afterwards as they spoke with the Connacht Tribune via Zoom from the media centre in the Olympic Village.

Read the full interview with Galway’s Olympic heroes in today’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie   

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Connacht Tribune

Olympic dream comes true for Galway sprinting star

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Cillín Greene's parents Sinead and Cole and sisters Iarlaith (left) and Miriam above the Olympic flag on the Nine Arches in Claregalway. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

It was March, 2019 when the Olympic dream of Cillín Greene went up in smoke – or so everyone thought.

On day one of the European Indoor championships in Glasgow, the Claregalway sprinter was progressing nicely in a 400m heat.

He was in lane two, minding his own business, when, all of a sudden, he was ‘bounced’ by a Polish competitor on his inside.

Cillín steadied himself after the collision but was unable to react quick enough to hop over a Czech runner who tumbled in front of him. Both hit the deck. Bad enough that his race was run; worse again, afterwards it emerged he’d sustained a serious injury.

“He was knocked on the track and broke his elbow,” recalled his father, Colman.

“I think it put his whole make-up out of line for a long time. He started pulling hamstrings after that, and things like that. It took a long time to get it right. It’s like a fine-tuned sports car, everything has to be right. Last year, he had a lot of injuries and he wasn’t really going anywhere,” he said.

Glasgow was just over a year out from the Tokyo Olympic Games, and almost certainly wiped his chances of qualification.

But then Covid-19 delayed the Games, giving time to rehab; and the Galway City Harriers clubman worked relentlessly in Lockdown to get back on track.

The result? This Friday, along with another Galway man, Robert McDonnell (19) from Knocknacarra, 23-year-old Cillín Greene will become an Olympian when he competes in the mixed 4x400m relay heat at the Olympic Stadium at 12 noon Irish time.

See the full story – and comprehensive Olympic coverage – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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