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Connacht Tribune

St Thomas’ dig deep to advance to club final

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Darragh Burke of St Thomas' celebrates after scoring a point during the AIB GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between St Thomas' and Ruairí Óg at Parnell Park in Dublin. Photos: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile.

St. Thomas’ 0-18

Ruairí Óg Cushendall 2-11

Sailing through this contest at one stage, St Thomas’ had to pull the proverbial rabbit from the hat in injury-time to finally see off a courageous and resurgent Cushendall outfit in this absorbing All-Ireland senior club hurling semi-final at Parnell Park on Saturday.

This was as close as it gets. By half-time, a wind-assisted St Thomas’ had led 0-13 to 1-3 and it looked as if safe passage into next month’s All-Ireland decider at Croke Park – against Ballyhale Shamrocks of Kilkenny – had all been but assured. However, Ruairí Óg Cushendall had different ideas.

In the second period, the Antrim champions came thundering into the game and by the 50th minute had tied up the fixture at 0-15 to 2-9 after a Fergus McCambridge goal on 41 minutes imbued Cushendall with a newfound confidence that flowed like lava through the side.

Quite simply, St Thomas’ were in big trouble, having been outscored 1-6 to 0-2 in this 20-minute spell, and were it not for a bold move by the management, the Galway representatives may well have lost this tie – as unthinkable as that was at the interval.

Taking a gamble, they pushed corner-back David Sherry forward. Sherry had lined-out in the attack in previous seasons but his sterling displays in his new defensive role has made him an intricate part of the St Thomas’ rearguard.

At any rate, Sherry advanced and in the fourth minute of time added on, it was to pay dividends. With the two teams level, Sherry took a pass from Bernard Burke and showing unerring accuracy he split the posts for the winner. The score was reminiscent of Domhnaill O’Donovan’s effort for Clare in the 2013 All-Ireland final – and no less invaluable!

That said, this did not provide the last action – or drama – of the game as a minute later, Donal McNaughton had a chance to equalise for Cushendall but instead of taking his point he opted to try to kill the fixture dead. He went for goal with a low shot, but retreating Thomas’ full-back Cathal Burke got a hurl to it and deflected the sliotar to safety.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Peeping Tom in ladies’ toilet cubicle wins sentence appeal

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A pervert who was caught spying on a woman through a peephole in a toilet cubicle has been successful in his appeal to have his four-month prison sentence suspended.

59-year-old Vincent Moran, of 75 Riveroaks, Claregalway, admitted to Gardaí when arrested last year that he loved hiding in public toilets so he could get a thrill watching women go to the toilet.

Moran, a former ESB employee, pleaded guilty before Galway District Court last June to intentionally engaging in offensive conduct of a sexual nature in a public place at the Ardilaun Hotel, Taylor’s Hill, on February 16 last year.

A four-month prison sentence was imposed in the District Court at the time, which Moran appealed last week to the Circuit Court on the grounds of severity only.

The appeals court heard this was not Moran’s first time before a court for watching women going to the toilet, as he had been given the benefit of the Probation Act in 2006, for spying on another woman in another city hotel toilet in 2005.

The victim of last year’s offence broke down and cried in the witness box as she recounted the incident to Judge Marie Keane at the initial hearing before Galway District Court last June.

“I’ve been left feeling humiliated and degraded by what happened to me,” she sobbed.

She had been attending a wedding with her partner and went into the women’s toilet in the early hours of the morning.

She went into a cubicle and as she sat down, she noticed a peephole in the cubicle wall adjoining the next cubicle.

She took a wad of toilet paper and put it into the hole. However, the plug of paper popped back out again and when she looked through the hole, she could see an eye staring back at her.

The woman immediately left the cubicle and called her partner. She saw a pair of chunky men’s shoes when she looked under the door of the other cubicle before leaving the toilets.

She was making a complaint to staff at reception when she noticed a man wearing the same chunky shoes leave through the front door of the hotel and get into a taxi.

Her partner managed to take a photo of Moran before he got away.

Sergeant Kieran Duignan told the District Court he tracked Moran down through the Garda Pulse system and arrested and questioned him on April 7 last year.

“During interview, he [Moran] admitted going into women’s toilets for the thrill of watching women going to the toilet,” Sgt Duignan told the court.

According to a psychological assessment handed into court, there was a high risk of Moran reoffending if he did not engage in counselling or psychotherapy.

Judge Keane said this was Moran’s second offence and he had admitted to the psychologist this year that he committed this type of offence many times over many years.

She noted Moran had been given an opportunity to receive counselling in 2006 which he refused and he didn’t go for counselling either since this second offence occurred, which showed he was not taking it seriously.

Imposing the four-month sentence, Judge Keane said she had a duty to protect the public and the only way she could protect it was by imposing the custodial sentence.

Moran appealed the severity of her sentence at a District Court Appeal hearing before the Circuit Court last Friday.

Sgt Duignan outlined the facts of the case again and told the appeal hearing Moran admitted going to the hotel that night “with the sole intention of doing what he did”.

Prosecuting State solicitor, Willie Kennedy said that presumably Moran had drilled the hole in the cubicle wall or had “caused the hole to come into being”.

Sgt Duignan said Moran made no admission about drilling the hole, but when he himself examined the toilets there were no similar type peepholes in any of the other cubicles.

Defence barrister, Garry McDonald, said Moran had lost his job as a result of his conviction and was no longer a member of local societies or groups in Claregalway.

He attributed media coverage of the case last June to Moran’s current isolation in his community.

“He was a lonely character before this and is more so now due to the embarrassment and shame,” Mr McDonald said.

He conceded Moran had not gone for counselling before last June’s District Court appearance, but was engaging well with his counsellor now.

He asked for the sentence to be suspended so that Moran could continue with counselling and avail of the support his brothers, who were present in court, could give him.

Judge Eoin Garavan said this was a sinister offence. He agreed that if Moran had gone for counselling in 2006 for his voyeuristic tendencies, he might not have reoffended.

“He was treated very leniently in 2006 and he didn’t go for counselling then because he got away with it.

“He has issues and, worryingly, there are no explanations in the [psychological] report as to why he does this,” the judge noted.

He said Moran was probably a pariah in his own locality but he had only himself to blame for that.

However, he said, Moran deserved a chance due to his age and his willingness to undergo counselling now.

He suspended the sentence for three years on condition Moran continue to receive psycho-therapy and counselling and comply with all directions from his doctors.  He bound him to keep the peace and not reoffend for three years.

Judge Garavan also directed Moran make a €1,000 donation to an appropriate women’s charity, saying “he needs to pay a price for what he did by feeling a bit of pain in his wallet”.

Mr Kennedy suggested the donation be offered to the Galway Rape Crisis Centre and if declined, the money could be offered to St Vincent de Paul.

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Connacht Tribune

Remote working creates rural boom

Stephen Corrigan

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Report....Professor Alma McCarthy.

Urban dwellers are now looking to up sticks and move to the countryside, as working from home becomes the norm – and with a new survey showing almost all workers who have made the switch hoping to maintain some level of remote working, rural life is becoming increasingly attractive.

According to one of the lead researchers behind the second national employee survey carried out since the onset of Covid-19, remote working is surging in popularity, with 94% of over 5,600 participants hoping to continue working remotely for some or all of the time – an increase from 83% six months ago.

Professor Alma McCarthy of the Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUIG told the Connacht Tribune that the desire to continue working from home had grown since the first phase of the survey in April, with more flexible hours and no traffic adding to its appeal.

“What we are looking at here is a particular cohort of the workforce that have jobs which lend themselves to working from home, and where people have that opportunity, we see that support has gone up [for remote working].

“Most people want a blended type of working arrangement, where they work from home some of the time and go into the office maybe one or two days a week. I think that is probably how it will look from now on,” said Prof McCarthy.

The number of people who wish to work from home five days a week has more than doubled since April, now at 27% compared to 12% in the early days of Covid-19.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download a digital version from our website www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Retail outlets stay positive despite shut-down

Stephen Corrigan

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Challenge...Fiona Charity.

Galway retailers have reiterated calls to shop local online in the coming weeks, as Level 5 restrictions force them to close their doors in the run up to peak shopping season.

From today (Thursday), unessential retailers must shut up shop until December 1 – limiting outlets such as clothes, furniture and toy shops to online sales and collections only.

One such shop is Modella Fashion in Corrandulla, which only opened its doors for the first time in July, and while owner Fiona Charity said it was clearly a huge challenge to start a new business in a pandemic, she remained hopeful that she could weather the storm.

“It’s obviously hugely disappointing, but public health is the most important thing, and if this works, we might have more freedom for Christmas.

“We are lucky in that we went live with our website last week and that’s been really busy already. Even though we can’t open, people are able to order online and have their order delivered, or click and collect,” said Ms Charity ahead of closing this week.

Likewise, Standún in An Spidéal has seen a surge in their online sales since the onset of Covid-19, according to manager Deirdre Ní Ghríofa, who said the message for everyone was to “shop local as much as you possibly can”.

Ms Ní Ghríofa said they had a big increase in local sales online during the early days of the pandemic and that was something she hoped would continue in the run up to Christmas.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download a digital version from our website www.connachttribune.ie

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