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West Karate Club packs a punch

Stephen Glennon

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The West Karate members who were part of the 50-strong Irish delegation which took part in the World IJKA Championships in Poznan last weekend. Back row, left to right: Orlaith Burke, Jonathan Lardner, Sensai Vtsumi Takato, Jillian Marelich, Jacqui O'Shea. Front row: Chief Instructor, Brendan O'Flaherty, Jessica Palmer, Rebecca Palmer, Donagh Hanrahan, Darren O'Brien, Craig Dempsey, Jack Quinn, Brian Toomey (Sensei).

WEST Karate Club in Galway City is celebrating an impressive haul of 21 medals – including eight gold – from the World IJKA (International Japanese Karate-do Association) Championships which were held in Poznan last weekend.

In all, 10 West Karate fighters featured on the 50-strong Irish delegation that travelled to Poland, with Rebecca Palmer (Senior Women’s Kata) and Craig Dempsey (U-21 World Kata) leading the way with individual gold medals.

Palmer was also part of the U-21 ladies Kata team, alongside her sister Jessica and Jean O’Connor, which secured gold in their event while Dempsey was to the fore with Darren O’Brien and Johnathan Lardner on the victorious U-21 men’s team Kata.

Lardner also took silver in the U-21 World Kata while Rebecca Palmer was silver medallist in the U-21 ladies individual Kata and was part of the Irish team, alongside Jessica Palmer and Jacqui O’Shea, which was second in the senior team Kata.

Jessica Palmer won silver in the U-18 individual Kata and Orlaith Burke claimed a bronze in the U-16 Kata individual event.

In the Kumite discipline, Donagh Hanrahan won gold in the senior international team fighting event while Jillian Marelich was a bronze medal winner in the team fighting event.

Jack Quinn took bronze in both the individual and team senior men’s events while Lardner and Dempsey were also part of the Irish set-up that finished third in the U-21 team Kumite category.

Michelle Monaghan was the remaining West Karate member part of the Irish team which competed at the World Championships.

West Karate Chief Instructor Brendan O’Flaherty, one of several Irish coaches attending to the fighters at the Championships, paid tribute to his Galway charges, noting they had trained hard and prepared diligently ever since returning from their first Worlds in Bulgaria last year.

“It was our first time to go to the Worlds last year and we won nine medals, although no gold. So, they started training really hard in January with a view to peaking at the World Championships in July,” said O’Flaherty.

“We did four competitions in the run-in and we were winning medals without really peaking. So, I knew we were ready. I asked them were they ready to peak going to Poznan and they said they were.”

Connacht Tribune

The minnows from the North-East who shook up Galway club hurling

Stephen Glennon

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The Fohenagh team who overcame Castlegar in a replay to win the 1959 county senior hurling title. Front row (left to right): Tom Moylette, Gerry Sweeney, Frank Glynn, Anthony O'Gorman, Marty Glynn (captain), PJ Lally, Tim Sweeney and Liam Manning. Back row: Hugh Pender (mentor), Tommie Glynn, Mick Coen, Jimmy Moclair, Tim Killilea, Christy Kelly, Frank Madden, Frank Bleahene, Paddy Killilea, Paddy Carroll and Norman Farragher (mentor).

IN early Autumn of 1956, Anthony ‘Tony’ O’Gorman was cycling into Ballinasloe when he happened upon his Fohenagh team-mate Tim Sweeney coming in the opposite direction. The two hurlers paused for a chat.

‘You know, I think we will go senior next year,’ said Sweeney, an artist of the game who had enough of Junior hurling and the barbarous nature of it. Muscles and limbs were, perhaps, still sore after Fohenagh’s Junior semi-final against Tynagh, which was abandoned after a free-for-all.

Fohenagh led by seven points at the time, but, with the contest descending into chaos, the Gardaí were forced to intervene and break up the violence which left five men hospitalised at Portiuncula.

In the case of one man, who failed to regain consciousness for some time, the doctors feared the worst; in another case, in which a man received nine stitches, the medics believed he was lucky to be alive; while yet another man arrived with his ear hanging off.

As a result of violent conduct, Fohenagh and Tynagh were expelled from the competition and the matter was investigated by Galway East Board GAA, the County Board and the guards in Kiltormer, where the match was held.

‘Ah Tim, we’d never be good enough,’ retorted O’Gorman, although he understood the older player’s desire to leave the Junior ranks behind. As Fohenagh’s best player, Sweeney was always a target.

The two men chatted a little while longer before going on their way. Over the ensuing months, the fall-out from the Junior tie rumbled on. Hard decisions were taken and lengthy suspensions were handed out by Galway East Board GAA to four of the players involved.

In the midst of all this, Fohenagh also made a decision. They would go senior – not just to compete, but to challenge.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

National recognition for the Tribesmen’s all-conquering U20 footballers

John McIntyre

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Galway captain Jack Glynn who has been chosen as the EirGrid U20 Player of the Year.

A terrific season for the Galway U20 footballers has been rounded off in fitting style with national awards for their team manager, captain and five other players.

Skipper Jack Glynn has been honoured with the EirGrid U20 Player of the Year accolade, with Galway colleagues Conor Flaherty, Conor Raftery, Paul Kelly, Matthew Tierney and Tomo Culhane also included in the grade’s Top 20 Performers of 2020.

Claregalway’s Glynn was a defensive lynchpin throughout the campaign, while goalkeeper Flaherty, midfielder Raftery, the versatile Kelly, and forwards Culhane and Tierney were also critical to Galway’s magnificent campaign.

And in a popular choice, An Spidéal’s Donal Ó Fátharta has been selected as the U20 Manager of the Year after the young Tribesmen claimed their first All-Ireland title at this level since 2013 (then U21).

Galway did it the hard way too, starting off with a Connacht championship defeat of Mayo in wretched conditions at MacHale Park, Castlebar last February.

With a gale heavily influencing the action, the match went to a penalty shoot-out and it was Galway who held their nerve the best – Tierney, Tony Gill and Ryan Monaghan converting spot kicks for victory.

Next up for Galway was a provincial semi-final against Leitrim in Elphin. It turned into the anticipated easy victory (1-12 to 0-2) for Ó Fatharta’s charges, with Matthew Cooley nailing the only goal of the game.

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.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway shake up squad as uncertainty still stalks GAA

Stephen Glennon

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Galway hurling selector David Forde and team manager Shane O'Neill follow the action during last year's All-Ireland quarter-final win over Tipperary.

WITH the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic generating so much uncertainty over the 2021 GAA fixtures, Galway senior hurling selector David Forde says it’s a crystal ball they need rather than hurling balls!

After the GAA successfully ran off their inter-county competitions in a difficult 2020, there was much optimism that this year’s competitions – National League and Championships –  could also be facilitated, with, perhaps, the bonus of having crowds in attendance at some point over the year.

That may still happen, but with Covid-19 case figures ballooning over the Christmas and New Year, and the vaccination process not moving as fast as expectations, it looks as if it could be a while yet before inter-county players can return to training – never mind see competitive action.

Indeed, as one week bleeds into the next, there is the possibility that the National Leagues may not go ahead. “I wouldn’t write it off yet,” says Forde, “but I would love to have a crystal ball and be able to see what is going to happen.

“Look, there is probably lots of time yet. Last year, they squeezed the championship into such a short space of time so you can see there is still time to play the competitions. They might just have to shorten them or tighten the number of fixtures in the National League, but I wouldn’t write it off yet.”

For Forde and the rest of the Galway management – manager Shane O’Neill and fellow coaches John Fitzgerald and Fergal Healy – this foray into inter-county senior management has been a surreal experience. Little did they think when they were appointed in late 2019 that the majority of their time in charge to date would be under the dark cloud of a pandemic.

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.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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.

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