IT’S been a few years since the Kiltormer area made sporting headlines, but all that changed on the opening evening of the Galway summer festival at Ballybrit thanks to the exploits of local trainer Shane Ryder.
“This is like my Cheltenham,” said the 39-year-old Lawrencetown-based handler after Pateen sprung a 20/1 surprise under three-pound claimer Paddy Kennedy in the Easyfix Handicap Hurdle.
Nibbled at 40/1 in the morning, Pateen was finally backing up his impressive debut victory in a Killarney bumper in May of last year in running out a decisive five and a half lengths winner from the well supported market leader, Artful Artist.
The five-year-old, bred by John Joe Brady in Athenry, was always lying handy in the 20-runner field and went to the front two out before quickly pulling clear. Artful Artist came out of the chasing pack after meeting trouble in running, but never looked like getting on terms.
Mindful of the handicapper’s reaction to Pateen’s emphatic success, Ryder is considering turning out the horse quickly again in a 116-rated handicap hurdle on the closing day of the festival on Sunday if getting the all-clear from owners, Patsy Corcoran and Michael Gilmore from Oranmore.
It was poignant victory, especially coming in Galway, as Patsy’s husband, Dr. Michael Corcoran, who was well known in sporting circles and a keen racing aficiando, sadly passed away in 2016 after a short illness.
“Every local trainer wants to win at the Galway festival and this is my first success here. It’s a nice box to tick and it’s a big boost for the yard,” said Ryder, who is hoping to improve the quality of his 12-strong string in the years ahead and could be represented by the luckless if consistent Garrai Phaidin in the Blazers Chase on Friday.
On a difficult evening for punters with only one favourite obliging and a host of gambles going astray, there were more local celebrations when front-runner Pearl Of The West made short work of her rivals in the Eventus Handicap.
Carrying the colours of Athenry’s Martin Cullinane, a respected local trainer and breeder, Pearl Of The West had little difficulty in supplementing her winnings last time out at Gowran Park.
This progressive sort is trained by Carlow-based Pat Fahy, a native of Athenry, and he may be tempted to step Pearl Of The West up in class by having a crack at the Cork Oaks next. Fahy was ending a long dose of seconditis at the festival since his previous winner, Publican, over a decade ago.
Successful owner Cullinane was delighted his charge, returned at 6/1, came up trumps at his local track. “It’s easier owning them than training them. She stays all day and always runs well.”
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Exploring the merits of moving into the west
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
Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing
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
Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat
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.