A dedicated group of Galway volunteers are taking a more local approach to the traditional Christmas Charity Appeal and providing a real depth to the saying “Charity begins at home”.
A group of twelve committee members have set up an appeal which serves to benefit the homeless in the city through a simple, festively-wrapped shoebox filled with necessities in mind of a person on the streets.
The initiative originated after Geraldine Monaghan was flooded with emails and messages of support for a suggestion she posted on her Facebook page.
‘What would you think about doing shoeboxes for the homeless, would it work?’” said Geraldine, of Holistic Rainbow Clinic.
“Just putting in essential things like a toothbrush and a hair brush, that kind of thing. I came back and I had about forty emails and so many messages with everybody saying yes, yes, we’ll definitely do that!”
Since the post, Geraldine has been flooded with unbelievable support from right around the county, vowing to make the Galway Homeless Christmas Appeal an annual occurrence.
“There’s been a lot in the media about homelessness around the country and the biggest thing for me was that everyone was saying it’s a national crisis, but I don’t think that that was actually hitting home, that it was outside of the Pale and that it’s also a Galway crisis,” she explained.
Geraldine couldn’t believe the influx of support she received for her idea and rounded up a committee group to help her, including independent councillor Mike Cubbard.
Since then, almost one thousand people have pledged to donate a festively-wrapped shoebox filled with necessities for homeless folk of the city.
Their mission is to get as many Christmas shoeboxes as possible for the Galway homeless and the instructions are simple: wrap a shoebox and its lid with Christmas wrapping separately, then fill the box with goods and necessities with a homeless person in mind.
Almost anything is allowed – toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, moisturiser, new socks and underwear, warm hats, chocolate bars, deck of cards, notebook- but strictly no money.
Seeing as adult men make up the majority of the homeless population in Galway, according to Geraldine, actual shoes are also being sought – the most commonly requested being a size eight.
The aim is for all shoeboxes to be collected by Sunday, November 29, with drop off locations to be decided.
The group is looking for anyone who might be able to provide drop off locations, print t-shirts or leaflets to get in touch through the ‘Galway Homeless Christmas Appeal’ Facebook page.
US basketball champion boasts impeccable Galway roots
An Irish American basketball player with impeccable Galway roots helped end a 50-year NBA famine for the Milwaukee Bucks last week.
Boston-born Pat Connaughton, whose grandparents hail from Clostoken, Loughrea, played a pivotal part in his side clinching the NBA championship final series over the Phoenix Suns.
The 6ft 5in shoot guard was involved in all six games of the final series, including the last, which the Bucks won 105-98.
Afterwards, the 28-year-old said: “It’s incredible. The fans supported us through thick and thin. They’ve had our backs. To be able to do it and to win it and to be able to call ourselves World champions in front of our own fans . . . it’s incredible. The city of Milwaukee deserves it and I’m just proud that I could be a part of a team, with my teammates, that gave it to them.”
One of his cousins in Loughrea, Madeleine Connaughton, told the Connacht Tribune that his relations in Galway were incredibly proud of his achievement.
“It’s absolutely brilliant; he’s a celebrity in our eyes because he has done so well,” said Madeleine.
“It’s brilliant that Pat is flying the flag for us over there. He was the only person to play both professionally, baseball and basketball with Notre Dame. He was as good a baseball player as basketball and had to choose.”
Madeleine joked that there ‘is a clatter of us’ in Loughrea related to Pat Connaughton, including the Connaughtons, Tierneys, Keanes and Burkes.
Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Galway duo make sporting history as out first Olympic medallists
The motto of the Ireland Women’s Coxless Four team, which includes Galway’s first ever Olympic medallists, Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh, has been drilled into them by coach Giuseppe De Vita: ‘Winter miles makes Summer smiles.’
At twenty-three minutes past two on Wednesday morning Irish time, during the Tokyo Olympic medal presentation ceremony at a windswept Sea Forest Waterway, the rowing quartet’s smiles beamed from ear-to-ear.
It was a testament to the hard graft they’ve put into the sport over many years, especially the past 18 months, and the last eight weeks in particular in the build-up to the biggest six minutes of their careers to date.
Keogh (29) from Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, Fiona Murtagh (26) from Gortachalla in Moycullen, and Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty were well entitled to smile after a remarkable rowing performance that earned them bronze medals in the Women’s Fours Final.
As they presented each other with their medals, in keeping with Covid-19 restrictions, and waved their bouquets into the air, back home, their smiles lit up the television and computer screens in living rooms of their family, friends and new legion of fans throughout the land.
It was a history-making feat – Galway’s first Olympic medallists, Ireland’s first women rowers to win Olympic medals, and the nation’s first at Tokyo 2020.
Both women were ecstatic afterwards as they spoke with the Connacht Tribune via Zoom from the media centre in the Olympic Village.
Read the full interview with Galway’s Olympic heroes in today’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Olympic dream comes true for Galway sprinting star
It was March, 2019 when the Olympic dream of Cillín Greene went up in smoke – or so everyone thought.
On day one of the European Indoor championships in Glasgow, the Claregalway sprinter was progressing nicely in a 400m heat.
He was in lane two, minding his own business, when, all of a sudden, he was ‘bounced’ by a Polish competitor on his inside.
Cillín steadied himself after the collision but was unable to react quick enough to hop over a Czech runner who tumbled in front of him. Both hit the deck. Bad enough that his race was run; worse again, afterwards it emerged he’d sustained a serious injury.
“He was knocked on the track and broke his elbow,” recalled his father, Colman.
“I think it put his whole make-up out of line for a long time. He started pulling hamstrings after that, and things like that. It took a long time to get it right. It’s like a fine-tuned sports car, everything has to be right. Last year, he had a lot of injuries and he wasn’t really going anywhere,” he said.
Glasgow was just over a year out from the Tokyo Olympic Games, and almost certainly wiped his chances of qualification.
But then Covid-19 delayed the Games, giving time to rehab; and the Galway City Harriers clubman worked relentlessly in Lockdown to get back on track.
The result? This Friday, along with another Galway man, Robert McDonnell (19) from Knocknacarra, 23-year-old Cillín Greene will become an Olympian when he competes in the mixed 4x400m relay heat at the Olympic Stadium at 12 noon Irish time.
See the full story – and comprehensive Olympic coverage – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie