Date Published: 14-Apr-2011
THE rock band, Queen may have thought Barcelona’s greatest attraction was its ‘beautiful horizon’, but for one Tuam man, he would argue that the Spanish city’s greatest asset is its football club.
For the last decade, 32-year-old Derek Hynes has been travelling four to eight times a year to Spain to watch his favourite side in action. For Hynes, the whole experience – from getting on the bus in Tuam at 2am to taking his seat in Camp Nou – is just addictive.
On an overcast Friday morning, Hynes takes time out from his nine to five job at the family business – Hynes Sweet Shop in Tuam – to relax with a smouldering cup of brew in a nearby coffee house, where the avid reader can be found on many a day with a book in hand.
Hynes is excited – visibly so – and for good reason. Next week, he heads over to watch his beloved Barcelona once again, but this is a trip like no other. As a dedicated Barcelona fan, he has been entering the club’s lottery for Barça v Real Madrid tickets for the past 10 years, and, just recently, his name finally came out of the hat.
So, next Wednesday, Hynes, who has already been over to support the Catalan club twice this year, will travel to Valencia for the meeting of Barcelona FC and Real Madrid – two of the giants of Spanish and world football – in the prestigious Copa Del Rey (King’s Cup) final. It’s a massive, massive occasion.
In fact, let’s just put that meeting of Barça and Real into context. Whenever these two sides play each other, the whole of Spain virtually comes to a standstill for what the locals describe as ‘El Classico’. Indeed, most people in Spain are divided up into Barça and Real fans, with those in the other Spanish cities, towns and villages not only loyal to their own local team, but also throwing their support behind one of the two bitter rivals.
For Hynes, his love of Barcelona football goes back to
a childhood tour of the stadium and evenings spent at his late grandfather’s James home, watching Spanish football games on an old satellite station. “He (James) had the channels, so we used to watch those games with him, although he was more of a GAA fan himself,” begins Hynes. “Actually, he used to train greyhounds, and he was supposed to be fairly good at it.
“Anyway, back then, (Johan) Cruyff was manager and they had (Ronald) Koeman, (Michael) Laudrup, (Hristo) Stoichkov and (Josep) Guardiola. That would have been around 1990. Then in ’91, Barça lost the European Cup Winners Cup final (2-1) to Man. United and that hurt. So, that is when I knew I liked them. I was in sixth class at the time.”
In any event, while the eyes of his peers were firmly fixed on English teams – such as Man. United, Liverpool and Arsenal – Hynes continued to nurture his love for all things Barcelona. “My first game, though, wasn’t until I was 22. That was in 2001, Barcelona versus Racing Santander, and Ronaldinho had just started playing with them.
“I was so nervous before the game, I nearly didn’t go. I was shaking and everything. I was so bad. But when I got there, and I was in my seat, I was good. Ever since then, I have been going between four and eight times a year. I was hooked after that first game,” beams the former St. Jarlath’s student, who played the game with local teams until he was 18.
Over the years, though, he has watched this Barça team develop into a formidable outfit. “Yeah, like my first game, Ronaldinho was just starting out. I have also seen (Lionel) Messi, Xavi (Hernandez Creus), (Carlos) Puyol, Deco (Anderson Luís de Souza), (Samuel) Eto (now Inter Milan), (Victor) Valdes and my favourite Dani Alves – the cheekiest player in football – all come into the team over the last decade. Alves I love. He just winds up everyone. All the Barça fans love him and everyone else can’t stand him,” laughs Hynes.
Not surprisingly, he also has his finger on the pulse on what is happening in the club and a player who he describes as the next big thing in football is a youngster named Thiago Alcántara do Nascimiento. “Thiago is the new, young lad to look out for. He also has a younger brother Rafinha. They are both in the ‘B’ team at the moment, but they are the next big thing in football, especially Thiago.
“Thiago plays midfield; he plays for Spain’s U-18s. He is actually the son of a Brazilian World Cup winner. His father is Mazinho, who won a medal at the ‘94 World Cup. Mazinho was one of the three guys, alongside Bebeto and Romário, who did the baby victory celebration (in the quarter-final win over Holland).”
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.