FEW will dispute that the two best teams in this year’s senior championship have reached Galway hurling’s biggest day, but the paths of title holders St. Thomas’ and Clarinbridge to Sunday’s decider (Pearse Stadium, 1pm) couldn’t be any different.
St. Thomas’ stand on the cusp of history, 60 minutes away from winning four Tom Callanan Cups in succession. This feat hasn’t been achieved since the great Turloughmore six-in-row side of the 1960s, but Kenneth Burke’s charges have been building up nicely to their date with destiny.
One might have wondered after their opening game, conceding 3-13 to Killimordaly back in September. They still hit 2-24 to win by eight points, but have averaged a winning margin of 15.5 points since.
They sent title contenders Liam Mellows out of the championship in Round 2 (2-21 to 0-15) before their one tight battle against Cappataggle (0-17 to 1-13) when their qualification was already secured.
After being given an early scare by a fearless Kilconieron outfit playing with abandon in the quarter-final at Duggan Park, St. Thomas’ regrouped to blitz last year’s intermediate winners 3-29 to 1-9.
Then there was Gort! Two semi-final postponements due to Covid-19 issues led to uncertainty, but the county champions showed their class off the field, assisting a second delay to ensure the competition would be settled on the field.
One will wonder how Gort’s preparations were affected as they had displayed greater quality in their preceding games, but the hold-up only appeared to galvanise their opponents. St. Thomas tore into them at Pearse Stadium in trouncing their south Galway rivals on a 4-20 to 0-9 scoreline – three third quarter goals devastating their neighbours.
Goalkeeper Gerald Kelly and his defensive sextet (David Sherry, Fintan Burke, Cian Mahony, Evan Duggan, Shane Cooney and Cathal Burke) have only conceded two goals since the Killimordaly match. Overall, their concession rate is less than 10 points per game.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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Cycle lane will be a ‘disaster’
A business representative group has labelled the planned temporary cycle lane along the Promenade as a ‘disaster’ for Salthill that will cause ‘mayhem”.
Groups representing the cycling community have, meanwhile, called for residents, school and sport communities, businesses and visitors to lend their support for the project.
The Village Salthill, which represents businesses in the area, said it welcomed the public consultation process that was initiated by management of Galway City Council last week. But it is opposed to the temporary cycle lane.
“We have maintained right from the outset that this temporary arrangement would be a disaster for Salthill – removing a large amount of parking and driving traffic into and through residential areas in the height of the tourist season.
“The notion of having a properly constructed cycleway in Salthill has never been opposed by the Village group – however we are concerned that any ill thought-out and hastily planned solution will lead to chaos, bad feeling and seriously effect a number of businesses who rely on nearby parking to facilitate their customers,” a spokesperson said.
The Village Salthill said it would engage all city councillors to reinforce its members’ view about the “mayhem that would ensue should this proposal go ahead”.
“We will be consulting with, not only, the residents groups who are directly affected but also the areas that will feel the ‘concertina effect’ of scrambling for parking spaces. We would encourage everybody to have their say on this issue,” a spokesperson said.
The public consultation for the plan to implement a temporary cycle lane along the Prom from March-September of this year is ongoing. Submissions can be made up until 4pm on Friday, January 28.
In a joint statement, Galway Cycling Campaign and Galway Urban Greenway Alliance said they favour option two as outlined by the Council, which retains two-way vehicular access along the Prom.
“We need more blue badge parking, and the parking for people with disabilities at Ladies Beach needs to be on the Prom side of the road for safe and direct access to the beach. There also needs to be more pedestrian crossings along the route,” said Kevin Jennings of Galway Cycling Campaign.
Michelle Smyth of Galway Urban Greenway Alliance said that parking for older people needs to be provided.
“We are again calling for age friendly parking along the seafront in the Seapoint car park. We’ve heard that older people want to be able to sit in their cars and enjoy the stunning views of Galway Bay, and these courtesy parking spots would enable them to do so. It’s very simple to allocate a few spots for older people.”
The groups argue that the 3km cycleway will be an important part of safe routes to primary and secondary schools in Salthill and the city centre, as well as to shops, cafés and restaurants, beaches, leisure facilities and other local attractions.
Mr Jennings added: “It’s important to remember that this cycleway isn’t for people like me – male, middle-aged, able-bodied, confident cycling in traffic. It’s for people you don’t see cycling right now – children, teenagers, women, people with disabilities. It’s for people who would like to cycle to school or shops or work but don’t, because they don’t feel safe sharing the busy road with cars, buses and trucks.”
Submissions can be made in writing to Patrick Greene, Director of Services, Galway City Council, City Hall, College Road Galway or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Galway City Gardaí in double drugs swoop
TWO youths arrested in relation to the latest drugs and cash haul in the east side of the city last week have been released from custody with a file being prepared for forwarding to the DPP – the Galway City Tribune has learned that they are students residing in the Glasan complex on the Ballybane Road
Members of the Galway Garda Divisional Drugs Unit seized a total of €85,000 worth of drugs and cash after searching the accommodation under warrant – a third student is also understood to have been questioned by Gardaí on the evening of the arrest.
Cocaine made up the biggest part of the haul – €53,475 – while €25,000 in cash was also seized in the operation which took place shortly after 8pm on Tuesday last.
A further €4,200 worth of MMDA (ecstasy or molly) was also seized as well as €2,900 worth of cannabis herb – all of the drugs have been sent to Dublin for forensic and laboratory analysis.
Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins told the Galway City Tribune that the latest find was a ‘timely reminder’ of the availability and supply of illegal drugs among members of the student population in Galway city.
“These are people who would not have been previously involved in criminality but who now find themselves caught up in a very serious situation in relation to the procurement, sale and supply of illegal drugs.
“We are strongly advising students – and indeed all young people – not to get caught up in this network of illegal drugs usage, sale and supply. Young people can be sucked into a very dangerous world involving serious criminals.
“They can also end up themselves with a criminal record which can have major implications for their future careers. Stay clear of any such activity is our strong advice,” said Det. Supt. Cummins.
Last November, several Garda and Customs units, targeted houses in the Castle Park and Radharc na Gréine estates, seizing cash and drugs as well as freezing a bank account.
At the time, Garda sources said that the total value of seizures and the bank freezes – as well as previous drugs seizures in the east side of the city – was in the region of €200,000. A 191 Audi car worth close to €50,000 was also seized in the Limerick in relation to the Galway finds.
Last week’s seizures at the Glasan Student Village on the Ballybane Road are part of Operation Tara which was launched as part of the Garda anti-drugs strategy by Commissioner Drew Harris last July.
The aim of the strategy is to ‘dismantle and prosecute drugs trafficking networks at all levels –– international,national and local – involved in the importation, distribution, cultivation, production, local sale and supply of illegal drugs.
Roundabout work will trigger traffic chaos
WORK on the upgrading of the Martin Roundabout – adjacent to Galway Clinic – is to begin this week, the City Council have confirmed.
The project – due to start this morning, Monday, January 24 – will convert the existing roundabout into a four-armed signal-controlled junction and is scheduled for completion before the end of July.
Cycle lanes, bus priority measures, footpaths, a series of pedestrian crossings and landscaping will also be part of the estimated €5.5 million project.
A major traffic management plan for the area will be in place while the job is in progress with, according to the City Council, delays to traffic flows anticipated.
The City Council have said that traffic disruption will be ‘minimised as much as possible’ during the course of the works to be carried out by the Fox Building and Engineering company, which is headquartered in Omagh, Tyrone.
The Martin Roundabout is at the intersection of the R446 road between Oranmore and the Coolagh Roundabout; the Old Dublin Road; and the Link Road to the Galway Clinic.
Local councillor Terry O’Flaherty, told the Galway City Tribune, that the upgrade of the junction was most welcome news for local residents, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
“This really was a nightmare junction for all users and its upgrade is long overdue – it should make it a far safer place for pedestrians and for the staff and patients of Galway Clinic,” she said.
Another local councillor, Alan Cheevers, said that the footpath facilities alone for the people of the Roscam/Doughiska area would be a great advance.
“This is a badly needed project for this area. What I would caution though is that we learn from the mistakes that were made with the Kirwan Junction upgrade – we need to get this one right from the start,” said Cllr. Cheevers.