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.
Retail industry trade body welcomes B&Q announcement
Date Published: 07-May-2013
Retail Excellence Ireland, the country’s largest retail industry trade body, has welcomed the news that 60 jobs have been saved at the city branch of B&Q.
It’s after the home improvements store successfully exited examinership.
Under the scheme, 2.4 million euro is to be invested by parent company Kingfisher plc, and B and Q will continue to trade at eight stores
This means 640 jobs have been saved nationwide, including 60 at the outlet in Knocknacarra.
However, David Fitzsimons of Retail Excellence Ireland says landlords need to be willing to help out smaller retailers too.
Foundation reports nine Galway heart deaths each week
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Nine people die in Galway every week from heart disease and stroke.
That’s according to the Irish Heart Foundation, which is launching its Happy Hearts Appeal today. (9/5)
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, launched the appeal today to help raise funds for the charity, which has seen increasing demand on its patient services.
The Foundation says it needs to raise at least half a million euro to maintain existing information services.
Call to tackle delays at Oranmore rail crossing
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Concerns have been raised over traffic delays at the railway crossing in Oranmore.
Councillor Jim Cuddy says he has received many representations from local motorists who have been experiencing extended delays.
He says the closed barrier can sometimes cause a traffic tailback as far as the roundabout near the Maldron hotel.
Cllr Cuddy has brought the matter to the attention of Iarnrod Eireann and has asked for an explanation as to why the crossing is closed for so long.