Date Published: 30-Jun-2011
SWIMMING in Galway received a significant boost recently when up and coming star David O’Sullivan was selected to represent Ireland at the European Youth Olympics Festival in Trabzon, Turkey at the end of July.
In all, over 4,000 athletes from 49 European countries will compete at the games, which are viewed by many aspiring athletes as a stepping stone to greater things. Indeed, for 15-year-old O’Sullivan, who will be part of a seven member Irish swim team, his selection represents an important point in his burgeoning sporting career.
“I have been swimming since I was three,” remarks the soft-spoken Junior Cert. student. “When I was 10, I started doing lanes and going to galas and stuff like that. I specialise in the butterfly and my favourite would be the 200m butterfly which, basically, would be eight lengths.”
Victories in a variety of swim disciplines in a multitude of competitions, including the All-Irelands, the Irish Schools and the Community Games have, no doubt, established O’Sullivan as a strong competitor, but it has been his inclusion in the Irish swim team for the forthcoming games that has marked him out as a prospect for the future.
To qualify, the Galway City teenager – who is currently the Connacht senior and junior record holder, Irish age-group champion and ranked No. 5 in Ireland and Britain in the 200 butterfly – had to achieve the top 12 average standard for the past four European Youth Games, which he did in his principal event.
While the Youth Olympics will certainly be the biggest stage he has performed on so far, it will not be his first time to represent his country. “I have already represented the Irish Schools, for the past two years,” explains the Bish student.
“Two years ago, I did the U-15 100m butterfly and I came sixth and then I came third in the 200m IM (individual medley). This year, though, I came third in the U-18 (butterfly) in Dublin. The competition consisted of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, so it was great to finish third in that.”
Still only 15 and already placed in U-18 international events, O’Sullivan would definitely appear to have the talent to make a name for himself in the sport: “The 200m butterfly is more about endurance, though,” says the modest swimmer. “A lot of people actually struggle to finish it.”
In any event, O’Sullivan is the first from Galway Swimming Club since 2003 to qualify for the games and for full-time coach Pearse McGuigan it signifies the progress being currently made at the club. “It is good for the club and it is good for the area,” states McGuigan. “It has been eight years since we had an international swimmer from the area and considering how difficult the times and the qualification criteria are to attain, it is even more of a feat.
“We have a club that has 120 members approximately and we have a teaching programme that can facilitate up to 300 swimmers. Basically, it is a breeding ground for potential stars coming through the system. We have 10 squads working within our club programme and we have six coaches. So, it highly structured and highly organised but it has taken plenty of time to develop and progress the club the way we want it to.”
The club, itself, is based out of three facilities, namely Leisureland, Salthill Hotel (Ocean Fitness) and NUI Galway Kingfisher. “All the facilities have been exceptionally kind to us in supporting the programme over the course of the years and more so now,” adds the Tyrone native.
McGuigan believes the sport is only recovering after the controversies of yesteryear, no more so than the child abuse scandals of the ‘80s and ‘90s. “It certainly didn’t help the sport,” continues the former Ulster 100m and 200m butterfly and 200m individual medley record holder. “It has recovered, but it has taken years to get it back on track again. I suppose, they (the controversies) did not stop people from swimming, but they did affect the profile of the sport.”
As it is, swimming – like other minority sports in the country – already plays “second or third fiddle to the big three (GAA, rugby and soccer), which is disappointing”, says McGuigan, who is currently undertaking a part-time Sports Coaching Degree at University of Ulster, Jordanstown. “If you read the papers, though, swimming, when it comes to world class level, it sells out. It is sold out in the Olympics already.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent
Date Published: 07-May-2013
A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.
That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.
The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.
Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.
Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.
Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.
A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.
Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.
Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.
Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.
Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action
Date Published: 12-May-2013
The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.
There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.
Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.
However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.
Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.