Date Published: 08-Jun-2011
The curtain has come down on another schoolboy soccer season – or, as parents might describe it, a crash course in local geography and finding fields in place you never knew existed.
But for every missed turned and sat nav failure, there is great reward. There are small clubs up and down the county and beyond who have facilities that they can rightly be proud of – all-weather pitches, proper playing surfaces and dressing rooms that would befit any professional operation around.
Of course if they were a professional outfit, all of that money would go to paying journeymen ‘professionals’ who play for the highest bidder. And they wouldn’t own a blade of grass because all of the money would go on wages.
In a week that FIFA dragged what little remains of the good name of football through the gutter, schoolboy football restores your faith in the Corinthian spirit, because there are coaches and officials who give their time and energy to a cause that will never see them in the spotlight.
And yes, that’s the same for those involved in the GAA or rugby or athletics or any sport you care to mention – it’s just that our boys play football.
They’re with Corrib Rangers who someday hope to have their own pitch; in the meantime they tog out in dressing rooms that will never feature on Grand Designs and at this time of year, they negotiate the daisies as frequently as the full-backs.
But there are people who have given their lives to that club, who turn up night after night in wind and rain just to watch the under-11s or under-12s do their level best.
There are coaches – in our case guys like Gerry Stiffe and Phil Trill, but they have compatriots in every small club in every corner of the country – who give so much of their spare time and energy into helping these young fellas improve their skills and knit as a team.
And they do it only out of the generosity of their hearts.
We’ve been the clubs like Ballinrobe where the parents of the opposition clubbed together to produce a groaning table of Supermacs goodies that were devoured by adults and hungry boys alike.
We were in Athenry many times where the hospitality just gets better every time you go there – and the coffee and snacks that kept out the cold earned our undying gratitude.
We were in Abbeyknockmoy and Carraroe, Kilkelly and Cregmore and every venue we went to shared the common thread of coaches and helpers that gave more to their club than anyone could reasonably ask.
At a time when the professional game is rotten to the core with money and dodgy dealing, it is positively uplifting to see first-hand how the game should be run and should be played.
The Corrib Rangers teams we were involved with didn’t win any trophies this year – in fairness they didn’t win any matches for a long time but we turned that corner towards the end – but the players got more than points from their season.
They know what it’s like to be part of a team, to work for each other and to know the joy of victory or how to deal with defeat.
Most of all they met people who showed them what community spirit is really all about.
So to the unsung heroes – the coaches and officials, the drivers and the kit men, who all play their part to nurture the stars (and the hackers) of tomorrow – take a bow. And enjoy the few weeks of down time until it all kicks off again in the autumn.
Appeal for information following Portumna crash
Date Published: 08-May-2013
Gardai are appealing for witnesses following a single vehicle crash at the Portumna bridge this morning.
The road from Nenagh to Loughrea reopened shortly after 11 this morning following the completion of a technical exam.
Four men were travelling in a van when they hit the Portumna bridge around 6:30 this morning.
Gardaí, ambulance and two units of Portumna fire services rushed to the scene, and one of the men was taken to Portiuncula hospital in Ballinasloe.
He is being treated for head injuries, which have been described by Gardaí as serious.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Portumna Garda station on 09-097-42060
President Higgins among GMIT’s first ever honorary fellowships
Date Published: 10-May-2013
GMIT is to honour seven outstanding individuals including President Michael D Higgins with Honorary Fellowships at a special ceremony later this month.
It’s the first time in the 40 year history of the Institute the Governing Body of GMIT has decided to award honorary fellowships.
The GMIT Honorary Fellowships will be conferred at the g Hotel in the city this day two weeks Friday 24 May at 2.30pm in front of 200 invited guests.
Galway commuters hold their breath as LRC intervenes in bus strike
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway commuters are holding their breath as there has been a potential breakthrough in the Bus Eireann dispute, as both sides have agreed to talks at the Labour Relations Commission.
The LRC intervened this afternoon, on day two of strike action that has seen 95 per cent of bus services disrupted across the country.
The LRC’s Director of Conciliation Services, Kevin Foley, says the National Bus and Rail Union and the company have agreed to meet for mediated talks at 8 this evening.