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Talented city rower Keogh hits new high at World finals




Galway's Aifric Keogh and Cork’s Emily Hegarty competing in the Women's A Pairs final at the World Championships in Plovduv, Bulgaria.

A rower from Furbo is on her way to booking a place at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo after creating history for Irish rowing last week.

Aifric Keogh (26) and her rowing partner, Emily Hegarty from Cork, became the first Women’s Pair from Ireland to qualify for an A final when they stormed to victory in their semi-final at the World Championships in Plovduv in Bulgaria last week.

The pair were rowing fourth at the midway point of their semi-final, behind Britain, Spain, and Italy, but a call by Keogh in the bow seat to increase their stroke-rate and length saw them power past the other three crews to win the semi-final, and in the process consign the British crew to the B final.

The duo went on to finish 6th in the final at a championship in which the O’Donovan brothers and Sanita Puspure both claimed World gold, but qualification for the A final was a major victory in its own right as the newly-paired duo set their sights on Tokyo.

“Aifric rowed by Aileen Crowley at the World Championships in Sarasota in Florida last year, and they finished 2nd in the B final, which meant they finished 8th overall. Aileen moved on this year, so Aifric needed a new partner, and Rowing Ireland selected Emily,” explained Keogh’s father, Jim.

“The two of them went to a three-week camp in Italy to prepare for Plodvod, and it obviously paid dividends last week. Last year’s finish of 8th, and this year’s finish of 6th, would have been enough to qualify Aifric on both occassions if it was an Olympic qualification year, so the hope is they will continue their form from Plovdov in the coming year,” he said.

Next year will be a qualification year, with two opportunities to make it to Tokyo: the top 11 boats at the World Championships Regatta in Linz in Austria next year will qualify for Tokyo; with a further two boats to qualify from what is basically a repechage regatta in 2020.

Qualification for the Olympics will be the ultimate reward for the sacrifices Keogh has made since taking up rowing at Coláiste Iognáid.

“She went along to a taster day before starting in Coláiste Iognáid and enjoyed rowing. It meant 6am starts for training while she was at school, but she enjoyed it.

“She went to NUI Galway, and then moved to Cork to train full-time at the National Rowing Centre facility at Iniscarra. She is rowing full-time now, as there really isn’t time for anything else.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades

Denise McNamara



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.

Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.

The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.

“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.

“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”

Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.

“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools

Stephen Corrigan



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.

The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools

Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.

“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.

“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.

A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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GMIT warns partying students they are delaying return to campus

Enda Cunningham



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Partying students have been told their actions have impacted GMIT’s plans to re-start practical classes on campus – and Gardaí are monitoring the city’s bus and train stations to catch those breaking the 5km travel restriction by returning home for the weekend.

College authorities said the current “extremely serious outbreak” of Covid-19 among students in Galway City was caused by a small minority who are “moving and mixing between different households”.

Following a meeting with Gardaí last week, GMIT contacted all students to clarify that because there are no ‘onsite’ classes, there should be no need to travel for educational purposes.

“The Gardaí have notified us that there will be checks at the bus and train stations to implement the 5km travel rule, as well as checkpoints on the roads, and that fines will be given for any non-compliance with this rule,” students were told.

In a separate communication issued this week, the college’s Covid Officer appealed to students to abide by the rules.

“This outbreak has had an impact on our plans with regard to return to onsite practical work, with consequences for all students.

“We are appealing to all students to comply with all Covid restrictions and in doing so, to help ensure that those students who have to return to onsite practical work can do so,” the email read.

Many students from outside the city have opted to stay in their accommodation for access to better broadband.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more coverage of Covid figures and vaccinations, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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