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Sister county Washington plays its part in anniversary

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Representatives from Galway’s sister county, Washington County in the US State of Wisconsin, said they were “honoured and privileged” to be part of Galway County Council’s 1916 Centenary commemorations – beginning with a flag raising ceremony outside County Hall.

Speaking at a special meeting of Galway County Council on Monday afternoon, Chairperson of the Washington County Board, Richard Gundrum, said that the delegation were overwhelmed by the reception they have received. “It’s safe to say that there isn’t a bad one out of you,” he joked, to murmurs of “give it time”.

At the meeting, members and invited guests were presented with a ‘Proclamation for Our Time’ developed by a diverse range community groups from around the county.

In a revamped version of the original document, read from the steps of the GPO in Dublin by Pádraig Pearse 100 years ago, the new document reaffirms the commitment to equality and fairness – as well as looking at the changing needs of modern Ireland.

The document, created by groups representing the elderly to the young, the travelling community, the LGBT community and the disabled federation of Ireland – the new proclamation reflects a diverse and multicultural society.

It pledges civil and religious liberties, equal opportunities, justice and fairness for all – and recognises the importance of protecting Ireland’s natural resources.

The Irish Diaspora is noted for its importance and it is said that no person should be forced to leave Ireland by economic necessity. The right to a home, education tailored to every individual’s own ability, care for the sick and vulnerable and an appreciation of the elderly are all key parts of the re-imagined document.

Following the presentation, councillors were given the opportunity to speak about their own connections to the rising and reflect on the issues that had been presented to them.

Cathaoirleach Peter Roche reflected on the struggle that faced the volunteers of 1916. “In April 1916, creating an equal society was a challenge – and it remains so today,” he said.

In a moment of comic relief, ‘New Dawn’, the haunting tune gifted to the people of Galway by Ger Fahy as part of the commemorations, spontaneously erupted across the chamber while Cllr Pat Hynes spoke about his own families connections with the rising. “It must be their spirits,” he said, to much laughter from the American guests.

Cllr Michael Fahy spoke of the debt owed to the generation who fought for Ireland 100 years ago.

“I look forward to, on December 6, 2021, that a referendum can be held in the 32 counties of Ireland,” said Cllr Fahy. “Within our lifetime, a united Ireland can take place.”

It was the intention of the visiting delegation to present the council with a replica Liberty Bell – the symbol of independence in the US – however councillors had to settle for a picture of one for now with the bell itself needing liberating from customs.

Connacht Tribune

US basketball champion boasts impeccable Galway roots

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Galway roots...Pat Connaughton.

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

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Connacht Tribune

Galway duo make sporting history as out first Olympic medallists

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Ireland rowers (from left) Aifric Keogh from Furbo, Eimear Lambe from Dublin, Fiona Murtagh from Moycullen and Emily Hegarty from Cork celebrate on the podium with their Olympic bronze medals after the Women's Four final at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

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   

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Connacht Tribune

Olympic dream comes true for Galway sprinting star

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Cillín Greene's parents Sinead and Cole and sisters Iarlaith (left) and Miriam above the Olympic flag on the Nine Arches in Claregalway. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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

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