Two sets of Galway brothers are among the 50 solders about to deployed to Syria for a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission from Dún Uí Mhaoilíosa barracks in Renmore.
Lieutenant Colonel Frank Flannery from Athenry is the Officer Commanding the 63 Infantry Group which leaves next Wednesday for Camp Faouar, located between Israeli Occupied Golan and the Syrian Arab Republic.
There will be 129 in the group on the mission for six months – 46 of them on their first overseas tour – and 50 are based in Renmore.
Of these, 30 are Galway natives, including brothers Shane and Steven O’Halloran from Oughterard and Kenneth and David McCormack from Claregalway. Joining Privates O’Halloran and Corporals McCormack will be one of only two women in the group, Corporal Cathy Jennings from Galway City.
“It’s unusual to have two sets of brothers alright,” remarks Lt Col Flannery.
“The atmosphere in the group is excellent. There’s a great attitude, they’re very, very positive and very much looking forward to commencing the mission. They’re very aware we serve the State and are aware of the very long and proud tradition the Defence Forces have on overseas service across the world.
“That reputation is well earned and everybody here is going to make a contribution to that.”
While the so-called ‘Area of Separation’ patrolled by the UN has been calm for some time, the group have been training since early January for every eventuality at locations around the country. They faced simulated explosive strikes, air strikes, helicopter drills, anti-ambush tactics using a variety of advanced weapons systems, detailed planning and traditional peacekeeping methods.
They also spent a week of live fire training in the Glen of Imaal, explains Lt Col Flannery.
(Photo: Claregalway brothers Kenneth and David McCormack prepare for their mission)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see the current edition of the Connacht Tribune or Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Gardaí investigate fatal Carraroe crash
A man in his 30s has died following a road crash in Carraroe in the early hours of this morning.
At 3.50am, Gardaí and emergency services attended at a single car collision on a minor road.
The driver of the car, a man in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later. A passenger in the car, a male in his 30s, was taken by ambulance to Galway University Hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.
The road is currently closed and local diversions are in place. Garda forensic collision investigators will examine the crash site this morning.
Wake-up call as United are pummelled by lively Athlone
Athlone Town 3
Galway United 1
IT turned out to be a Bad Friday for Galway United in Athlone as they were outthought, outfought and outplayed by a home side that deserved a far greater reward than a two-goal victory.
All the damage was done in the first-half, with the home side scoring three goals without reply in a 14-minute spell that left the visitors visibly shell-shocked and in danger of shipping an absolute hammering.
United manager, John Caufield, described the first-half as the worst United display since he took charge at the club midway through last season, but it was worse than that: this was 2011 Sean Connor bad (one win in 40 matches), it was 2001 Dave Connell bad (one win in 13).
Both of those seasons ended in United dropping to the First Division, and the First Division is where they will find themselves against next season unless there is an immediate improvement in performance and attitude, starting with this Friday’s trip to Stradbrook to take on Cabinteely.
The post-mortem examination on last Friday should not solely focus on United’s wretchedness: Athlone Town were hugely impressive in recording a first win over United since May 2006, though it should be noted the sides have met just 13 times since the Town dumped United out of the FAI Cup thanks to a 2-1 win in May 2006, a game that saw the end of Stephen Lally’s reign as United manager.
“Galway playing with three at the back, you know, they’re almost three centre-backs really rather than full-backs and we just knew that would be an opportunity for our players to get at them and take them on and I thought James Doona and Adam Wixted did that very well tonight,” Athlone manager Adrian Carberry told the website www.extratime.ie after the game.
In truth, that was something of an understatement – Wixted and Doona ravished the United back-three in the opening 45 minutes, with all three of the home side’s goals coming from out wide.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App
Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.
Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite HERE.
Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.
Galway couple take life in the fast lane after losing jobs to pandemic
A Galway couple who both lost their jobs because of the pandemic are back on the crest of a wave – after opening a swimming pool that allows them to teach and coach swimmers, right beside their family home.
Fitness-loving husband and wife John and Shelly Newell have always had a passion for swimming – but it took the devastation of losing their jobs during Covid to spark the idea of turning it into a highly-specialised business they called Luv2Swim.
They had an idea to build an endless swimming pool and start swimming lessons and swim video analysis in their own private facility, three miles outside Galway city in Carrowbrowne.
And while Level 5 Lockdown has forced them to close for now, their single lane pool will be back, providing a unique facility for adults and children in a safe, fun, and friendly environment.
“Both of us had lost our jobs due to the pandemic and while out walking with our girls, I threw the idea out to John and it took legs from there. It was the beginning of a family business venture,” Shelly said.
But this was more than just a light bulb moment during lockdown; John and Shelly were aware of a recurring problem they had heard many times over the years – people’s anxiety about coming into an overcrowded, noisy, large pool environment.
“Luv2Swim would be Galway’s only private swimming studio providing one-to-one swim lessons and video analysis for adults and children. Swimming is such a vital lifesaving skill and it’s a skill you will have for your whole life,” said John.
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie