Inside Track with John McIntyre
THE GAA have been dicing with danger with its over-loaded spring fixtures schedule over the past few years and it comes as no surprise that an increasing number of games are falling by the wayside in January and February. Pitches just can’t cope with the traffic, especially when the weather turns foul.
Irish winters over the past decade have become wetter, but the GAA are ‘ploughing on’ by trying to cram more and more games into their calendar. Last weekend, high profile National League hurling ties at Pearse Stadium and the Limerick Gaelic Grounds were lost, while three football league matches were called off the previous weekend.
When you see well-manicured inter-county pitches struggling to be playable at this time of year, what hope have club venues up and down the country? Even training is being compromised never mind the prospect of holding challenge games. The trend of increasing wet weather at this time of year is now well established, but the GAA seems to remain aloof to the problem.
Since the introduction of the new provincial round-round system in hurling and the Super 8’s in Gaelic football, the pressure on the GAA calendar is at breaking point. Player welfare is being compromised in the rush to get the matches at colleges, intervarsity, under-age, club and inter-county level run off. There are now simply too many competitions to be staged in the length of time allotted.
What’s happening to the All-Ireland U20 football championship is disgraceful altogether. A heap of matches was postponed at provincial level over the weekend due to heavy rain and strong winds. The GAA are trying to complete the entire competition in little more than six weeks with the final due to go ahead on March 17, St Patrick’s Day.
These games were only called off as a last resort as the GAA mantra appears to be: ‘to get the matches played at all costs.’ The introduction of penalty shootouts to settle outcomes is another regrettable development, but it’s a product of the GAA not having enough dates to run off their programmes. The experience, for instance, of the Mayo and Galway U20 footballers in Castlebar last Saturday week was alarming?
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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Galway’s newest garden centre has arrived at McD’s in Galway Crystal
For over 10 years people have been flocking to McD’s Garden Centre in Loughrea to get the very best range for garden, home and much much more.
This weekend McD’s are proud to announce the opening of a brand new Garden Centre in Galway City located in the iconic Galway Crystal Building.
Nicely located with good parking and serviced by the 404 Newcastle to Oranmore bus, McD’s Garden Centre at Galway Crystal is a must visit location if you need anything from plants, shrubs, pots, garden furniture and more. They have a dedicated solar garden lights section, gorgeous array of water features and garden ornaments and practically everything you need for your garden.
Visit their Facebook today where they are running competitions and keep track of other promotions too. You can visit their website online at www.McDs.ie
UHG nurse battles for her life in ICU
UHG remains braced to rapidly respond to any rise in Covid-19 patients as a result of a second surge – but the plight of one of their own colleagues this week showed just how precarious this pandemic can be.
Because while senior management at the Saolta Group vowed to stay ‘vigilant and alert’, a staff nurse at UHG was battling for her life in the hospital’s own ICU.
Leona Paula Leoncio, a 36-year-old mother of two boys, tested positive for Covid-19 last week, and was moved to ICU on Monday where she was intubated and ventilated.
The staff nurse, who had no underlying health conditions, is now battling for life in ICU at UHG, according to the Philippine Consulate in Dublin, which has urged people to pray for her.
Ms Leoncio moved to Ireland in 2017, with her husband and two children, to work in the country’s health system.
“We might have different faiths and beliefs but can I ask of you . . . to take a pause and say a prayer of healing and strength for her and her family,” said Chuck Giner, her nursing colleague at UHG, in a posting relayed on the Philippine Consulate’s social media.
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune – along with all of the latest news on the Covid-19 pandemic. We’re on sale in all newsagents and supermarkets, and you can also order the Tribune with your home delivery; buy a digital edition here, or avail of the new An Post service to deliver to your door at no extra cost to the cover price.
Gort boy reunites Tipp star with broken hurl from famous point
Tipperary All-Star hurler Brendan Maher has revealed that a young lad in Gort has found his long-lost hurl – the one he used to score one of the points of the last sporting year.
The broken hurl, the one that broke the hearts of St Thomas’ fans back in January, was used to fire over a point in Borris-Illeigh’s All-Ireland semi-final victory over the Galway club at the Gaelic Grounds.
Maher revealed last week that he tried to retrieve the hurl after the match to keep as a memento, but couldn’t find it. He subsequently got a letter from twelve year old Liam Linnane from Gort, who had found it.
“After I scored the point I got kind of carried away and I threw it over my shoulder into the open stand in the Gaelic Grounds. After the match, I thought I would really like to have that hurley but we could not find it and the club even contacted the Gaelic Grounds afterwards to see if it was found.
“Several weeks had passed and I’d given up on it when I got a letter from a young fella in Gort and I read down through it. He said he was twelve years old and that he was at the game where I scored the point with the broken hurley and that he had the hurley.”
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune – on sale in all newsagents and supermarkets, and you can also order the Tribune with your home delivery; buy a digital edition here, or avail of the new An Post service to deliver to your door at no extra cost to the cover price.