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Connacht Tribune

The minnows from the North-East who shook up Galway club hurling

Stephen Glennon

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The Fohenagh team who overcame Castlegar in a replay to win the 1959 county senior hurling title. Front row (left to right): Tom Moylette, Gerry Sweeney, Frank Glynn, Anthony O'Gorman, Marty Glynn (captain), PJ Lally, Tim Sweeney and Liam Manning. Back row: Hugh Pender (mentor), Tommie Glynn, Mick Coen, Jimmy Moclair, Tim Killilea, Christy Kelly, Frank Madden, Frank Bleahene, Paddy Killilea, Paddy Carroll and Norman Farragher (mentor).

IN early Autumn of 1956, Anthony ‘Tony’ O’Gorman was cycling into Ballinasloe when he happened upon his Fohenagh team-mate Tim Sweeney coming in the opposite direction. The two hurlers paused for a chat.

‘You know, I think we will go senior next year,’ said Sweeney, an artist of the game who had enough of Junior hurling and the barbarous nature of it. Muscles and limbs were, perhaps, still sore after Fohenagh’s Junior semi-final against Tynagh, which was abandoned after a free-for-all.

Fohenagh led by seven points at the time, but, with the contest descending into chaos, the Gardaí were forced to intervene and break up the violence which left five men hospitalised at Portiuncula.

In the case of one man, who failed to regain consciousness for some time, the doctors feared the worst; in another case, in which a man received nine stitches, the medics believed he was lucky to be alive; while yet another man arrived with his ear hanging off.

As a result of violent conduct, Fohenagh and Tynagh were expelled from the competition and the matter was investigated by Galway East Board GAA, the County Board and the guards in Kiltormer, where the match was held.

‘Ah Tim, we’d never be good enough,’ retorted O’Gorman, although he understood the older player’s desire to leave the Junior ranks behind. As Fohenagh’s best player, Sweeney was always a target.

The two men chatted a little while longer before going on their way. Over the ensuing months, the fall-out from the Junior tie rumbled on. Hard decisions were taken and lengthy suspensions were handed out by Galway East Board GAA to four of the players involved.

In the midst of all this, Fohenagh also made a decision. They would go senior – not just to compete, but to challenge.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Exploring the merits of moving into the west

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Kennedy with Carol Ho, one of the Galway interviewees for her new TG4 series, Moving West. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has an abiding image of those early mornings when she’d set out from Dublin at the crack of dawn to begin work on another day’s filming down the country with Nationwide.

“I always liked to go in the morning rather than stay there the night before – so I’d be on the road early. And from the moment I’d hit Newland’s Cross, all I’d see was a line of traffic of people trying to make it from home to their workplace in Dublin,” she says.

These were people whose day began before dawn to get their bleary-eyed kids ready to drop at a childminder along the way, so they could be on time for work – and then race home to hopefully see those same kids before they went to sleep.

But if the pandemic had a positive, it was the realisation that work was something you did, not a place you went to. As a result, many people finally grasped the nettle, moving out of the city and sometimes even taking their work with them.

Which is why Mary – busier than ever since her supposed retirement from RTÉ – is presenting a new television series called Moving West, focusing on those individuals and families who have, as the title, suggests, relocated to the West.

One of the programmes comes from Galway, where Mary met with Stewart Forrest, who relocated with his family from South Africa to Oughterard, and Carol Ho, a Hong Kong native who has also settled in Galway.

The TG4 series also stops off in Sligo, Mayo, Kerry, Clare, Roscommon and Leitrim.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing

Dave O'Connell

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Well saved...members of St Brendan's GAA Club honour their departed stalwart, John Geraghty, after a record-breaking evening saving his turf.

A local community responded in force to the death of one of their own – a man who had given so much of his life for the good of the parish – by paying one last practical tribute to him last week.

They lifted and footed his turf.

John Geraghty – or Gero as he was known – lived for Gaelic football and he’d filled every role imaginable with the St Brendan’s GAA Club since he came to live in Newbridge in 1983.

He’d cut the turf before he died last Tuesday week, but there it lay, until his old GAA friends organised a bunch of guys – made up of the football team, friends and neighbours – to meet in the bog last Wednesday evening to lift and foot/clamp John’s turf.

“Upwards of 50 fellas from the community showed up,” said St Brendan’s chairman Gerry Kilcommins.

Which was just as well, because, as Gerry acknowledged, John – himself a two-time chairman of the club in the past – had a lot of turf cut!

“It took up an area around three-quarters of the size of a standard football pitch,” he said.

Not that this proved a problem, given the enthusiasm with which they rolled up their sleeves for their old friend.

They started at 7.30pm and had it done at 7.55pm – that’s just 25 minutes from start to finish.

Read the full, heartwarming story – and the St Brendan’s GAA Club appreciation for John Geraghty – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat

Denise McNamara

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Daddy’s girl…Sadhbh Browne with her very special message on organ donations. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

It is nearly two years since Paddy Browne gave his daughter Sadhbh part of his liver to save her life. And just ahead of Father’s Day, he reflects on how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat, without a single moment’s hesitation.

After an initial testing time in the first six weeks when they beat a path to the intensive care unit after the operation in St King’s Hospital in London, Sadhbh has never looked back.

“She’s thrived and thrived and thrived. She skips out to school every day. She loves the normal fun and devilment in the yard. She’s now six and started football with Mountbellew Moylough GAA, she loves baking, she’s a voracious reader – she’ll read the whole time out loud while we drive up to Crumlin [Children’s Hospital].”

But it could have all been so different.

Sadhbh from Mountbellew was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia shortly after she was born. She quickly underwent major surgery to drain bile from her liver. It worked well until she reached three years old when an infection caused severe liver damage and she was placed on the liver transplant list.

She was on a long list of medication to manage the consequences of advanced liver disease. While she lived a full life, she would tire very easily.

Paddy was undergoing the rigorous process to be accepted as a living donor when one of the tests ruled him unsuitable. His brother Michael stepped forward and was deemed a good match.

Then, further tests revealed that Paddy was in fact eligible for the operation and the previous result disregarded as a false positive.

Read the full, uplifting story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.

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