GALWAY United play their final home game of a hugely disappointing season this Friday when they welcome Wexford FC to Eamonn Deacy Park (7.45pm).
A side that many people suggested was too good to be relegated suffered that exact fate at the end of last season, with that prediction been equally as wide of the mark as the one that United would bounce straight back at the first time of asking.
Instead, they are set to record their worst league finish in 15 seasons, guaranteed to finish 6th in the league no matter how they fare tonight, or on Saturday week when they conclude the season with a game against Shelbourne in Tolka Park.
Those two games are set to see Alan Murphy continue his policy of blooding young players as the club looks to the future, a future that does not look like including an investment or input from any Saudi business group.
Back in June, the club was in talks with two Saudi businessmen with a view to them taking a controlling interest in the club. The talks had gone as far as seeing two representatives of United travelling to the Middle East to meet the proposed investors, but it seems to have fallen by the wayside.
“As far as the Saudi takeover, the line I have been given is that it has gone cold. I don’t know what that really means, but gone cold to me suggests it is dead,” said Murphy when asked for an update on the proposed takeover.
It appears that the deal fell through as the club undertook a due diligence process – apparently, members of the Galway United Friends Co-operative were told at the supporters’ group AGM last month that phone calls to the Saudi group had simply gone unanswered all of a sudden.
If that is the case, it sits neatly in the narrative of a shambolic season for the club, which had started so promising with a 4-1 win at home to Athlone Town. However, United dropped valuable points in those early stages, surrendering leads away to both UCD and Drogheda United, and that failure to get positive results against the other sides in the chase for promotion eventually proved United’s undoing.
In the 14 games against the five sides above them, United have won just once – a season-best performance seeing them record a 2-0 win at home to UCD. A haul of seven points from a possible 42 is nowhere near good enough for a side to challenge for promotion.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
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Gardaí raid cocaine lab in Galway City
Two men have been arrested following a Garda raid in which a cocaine laboratory was discovered in Galway City.
In total, Gardaí seized €178,500 in cash, €50,000 worth of cocaine (subject to analysis) and a number of drug manufacturing components as part of an intelligence-led operation into the sale and supply of drugs in the Galway Garda Division.
At 7.40pm yesterday (Sunday) the Divisional Drugs Unit in Galway stopped and searched a car on the M6 motorway in the vicinity of Loughrea where €17,580 worth of cash was seized.
As part of a follow-up search, Gardaí uncovered what is believed to be a cocaine processing laboratory and seized cocaine (pending analysis) with an estimated value of €50,000 at an address in Galway City.
At this address, Gardaí seized a quantity of mixing agent, a cocaine press, vacuum packer, industrial gas masks, and a cash counting machine, which are believed to have been used in the manufacture of cocaine for sale or supply.
In a further follow-up search, Gardaí seized €161,000 in cash at a separate premises in the city.
One man in his 20s was arrested following the detection on the M6, while a second man in his 30s was arrested at a property in Galway City.
Both men are currently detained at Galway Garda Station under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drugs Trafficking) Act 1996.
These seizures were part of an intelligence led operation and were detected by the Galway Divisional Drugs Unit with the assistance of the Western Regional Armed Support Unit.
“It will be akin to the notorious Rahoon flats”
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – More than 700 local residents have signed a petition against plans for the construction of 330 apartments in Knocknacarra – which have been likened to “the notorious Rahoon flats”.
Child safeguarding concerns have also been raised by the principal of Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh – who pointed out that the apartments will look directly into 19 classrooms.
A total of 27 objections were lodged against Glenveagh Living’s plans to build 332 apartments in six blocks – ranging from four storeys to seven storeys in height.
Locals have demanded An Bord Pleanála hold an oral hearing into the plans – that planning authority is due to make a decision by March 20, although it can decide to hold such a hearing first.
One of the objections – which accuses the developer of designing “tenement style” homes in a “blatant attempt to profiteer from the housing crisis” – was signed by more than 700 local residents.
Another objector said the development was “akin to the notorious Rahoon flats, with people being packed on top of each other”.
Locals have raised concerns about the huge number of apartments planned; overshadowing of homes; inadequate open space, playing pitches and community infrastructure; parking and traffic problems; low quality of design and road safety.
Glenveagh Living did not respond to a request from the Galway City Tribune for comment.
This is a preview only. To read extensive coverage of the Glenveagh plans and objections, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here.
Arts fraternity rallies as Theo faces deportation
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Less than a year after being invited by the Arts Council to perform at a conference about diversity in the arts, a musician, DJ and rapper – who is about to embark on a project for Galway 2020 – is facing deportation.
Theophilus Ndlovu left Zimbabwe after what he claims was a lifetime of abuse at the hands of the people who were supposed to mind him.
His mother left when he was just six years old and he never met his father. He was placed in the care of an unofficial foster family but it was never a happy arrangement.
“These people I stayed with were abusing me. They were never my family. I was running away from persecution and abuse and the way I was treated by these people. I had to fend for myself since I was ten years old,” he recalls.
When Theo was 20, he saved up enough money from mowing lawns and selling chickens to escape, arriving in Ireland where he sought asylum. Authorities placed him in a Direct Provision Centre in Finglas for a fortnight before he was transferred to the Great Western Direct Provision Centre off Eyre Square, where he has remained for nearly four years.
Almost immediately, Theo felt at home.
“This is my family. Galway is where I found my voice. It has become my home. It is just where I’m meant to be.”
Theo has immersed himself in the arts community and has become a leading hip-hop artist, known as Touché, performing regularly at venues such as the Róisín Dubh and the Black Gate. He was instrumental in getting fellow asylum seekers and refugees involved in music collaborations.
He is a founding member of the multicultural music project ‘Atmos Collective’ and has facilitated numerous music workshops in Galway, “teaching, motivating and inspiring hundreds of young people along the way”, according to co-founder Alice McDowell, an Australian filmmaker and fiddler.
The collective was recently granted funding by the Galway European Capital of Culture 2020 committee to host community music workshops in the city and county over the next year as part of their ‘Small Towns Big Ideas’ scheme.
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here.
The petition is available online HERE