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Years of heartbreak give way to tears of joy as Galway’s camogie heroes end hoodoo at last



THEY travelled in their thousands to Croke Park on Sunday and they turned out in their droves to honour Galway’s camogie heroes around the county on their homecoming tour the following day. It was a fitting tribute to a remarkable feat.

No doubt, September 15, 2013 will be a date that will live forever in the minds and hearts of Galway camogie.

For it was not only the day that saw the county’s senior side claim the O’Duffy Cup for only the second time ever but it was also a day when the Galway intermediate outfit completed a remarkable double at GAA headquarters by winning the McGrath Cup.

The latter, having lost last year’s decider after a replay, had set the tone when defeating Limerick by 0-12 to 0-10 in the intermediate decider before the senior outfit showed true grit and character to banish their own demons when accounting for Kilkenny by 1-9 to 0-7 in the main event.

Interestingly, the man who spearheaded the extraordinary accomplishment of two All-Ireland wins on the same afternoon was the same person who managed Galway to their first senior victory back in 1996. That man was Sarsfields’ Tony Ward.

Already, his place in the pantheon of Galway camogie was secure following the ’96 victory but, surely now, he will enter local and, indeed, national folklore. “I don’t know about folklore but it is a great feeling,” laughed Ward afterwards.

 When asked how it equated to that historic win in ’96, he said it was difficult to draw comparisons. “It is different because ’96 was just pure disbelief that it could have happened.

A lot of the girls were so young in ’96 as well and if somebody told us that time that it would be 2013 before we would win the next one, it would have been very hard to believe.”

That said, for the long serving Therese Maher, who had already lost five All-Ireland finals in her 16-year senior career, her overriding sentiment would have mirrored her predecessors in ’96 – pure disbelief.

“I think, initially, it is very hard [to come back year after year] once you lose. But you put the gear bag away and then everyone else is getting it out again and going out training. This year, the management were very good I have to say. I did my own bit of training in the winter season and in March/April I started to get that feeling of ‘would the body be able for one more year?’

“When you enjoy it though and it is something you have played for almost all of your life and love, I am so glad I went back now. Today makes up for all of those [other defeats].”

See full coverage in news and sport in this week’s Connacht Tribune


Swimmer James clocks up one million metres in year



From the Galway City Tribune – A keen swimmer in Galway has clocked up an astonishing one million metres in a year as part of his gruelling exercise schedule.

James Brennan reached the impressive milestone over 400 swims last years,  which were split between the sea in Salthill and across the road early-morning sessions at Leisureland pool.

He would count the lengths in his head or on his watch, regularly swimming up to 240 lengths over 90 minutes in the pool and up to 2km off the beach for a half-hour. On a regular week he would swim the equivalent of 20km.

When James realised he was at 800,000 metres last November, he decided to go all-out to pass the one-million mark by the end of 2022.

So he concentrated on swimming for at least ten hours a week leading up to Christmas and celebrated passing his goal before breaking up for the festivities.

“I’ve always done a lot of swimming. I’ve competed for my local swimming club in Claremorris, County Mayo, and was involved in the Corrib Polo Water Club races. I won the Heskin League, which is a combination of the 14 different open water races in Salthill. I also won the league in Claremorris,” he reveals.

The software engineer has been living in Galway for  13 years and has been a member of Leisureland for four years.

“It’s a really great pool, it has nice facilities, the staff are all very nice,” he reflects.

Facilities Manager of the Council-owned premises, Ian Brennan, said the phenomenal distance was the equivalent of swimming from Galway to Amsterdam.

He heard about James’s achievement from Green Party Councillor and Leisureland board member Niall Murphy, who happened to be swimming in the lane beside James when the Mayo man reached the goal.

“I felt that this is a hugely worthy event and fills me with amazement that we have a superhero in our midst. The future is bright.”

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Ó Tuathail not interested in Galway City Council co-option



From the Galway City Tribune – A two-time general election candidate for the Social Democrats in Galway West has ruled out filling the party’s vacant seat on Galway City Council.

Niall Ó Tuathail, a health reform advisor, has confirmed to the Galway City Tribune that he will not be co-opted to the City Council seat vacated by the shock resignation of Councillor Owen Hanley in January.

“I’m not going to be put forward for co-option,” said Mr Ó Tuathail.

The father-of-two has lived abroad for a time since taking a step back from electoral politics in the wake of his 2020 General Election defeat.

He confirmed this week he has not reconsidered his decision to take a long break from frontline politics.

“I’m still a Soc Dem member and we’re in a process looking for someone strong to represent the values of the people who voted for us in 2019,” Mr Ó Tuathail said.

He polled 3,653 first preference votes in 2020 in Galway West and was only eliminated after the 12th count in the five-seat constituency.

That was an increase on the 3,455 number ones he received in his first Dáil election in 2016, when he also bowed out on the 12th count.

Mr Ó Tuathail was synonymous with the Social Democrats’ brand in Galway, and was heavily involved with the local referenda campaigns for marriage equality and to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

It surprised many political observers when he opted not to fight a local election for the party in 2019.

That was a breakthrough election for the Soc Dems, when Owen Hanley became the party’s first ever Galway City councillor by winning a seat in Galway City East. Sharon Nolan narrowly missed out on a seat in City Central during the same election.

Mr Hanley cited allegations made against him when he announced in January that he was resigning his position.

He said that the matters were “very serious” and would take a considerable amount of time for the authorities to investigate.

The resignation of Mr Hanley left a vacancy on the City Council.

It is the prerogative of the Social Democrats to nominate a person who will be co-opted to replace him as a councillor at City Hall.

A spokesperson for the party told the Tribune last week that it has not yet chosen a successor.

“We don’t have any update in relation to the co-option. I will let you know when we have a candidate,” the spokesperson said.

One problem faced by the party is that a number of possible replacements for Mr Hanley have left the Soc Dems over policy and other issues.

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Cigarettes, drugs and cash seized in Galway



Officers from the Divisional Drugs Unit seized more than €73,000 worth of cigarettes, cash and drugs after a car and residence were searched in Galway today.
As part of Operation Tara – which is targeting the sale and supply of drugs and related criminal activity in the Galway area – Gardaí  searched a car in the Knocknacarra area. Cash and cannabis were seized.

A follow up search was carried out at a residence in Salthill, where cigarettes worth €70,000, along with €3,100 in cash and a small quantity of suspected amphetamine were recovered.

No arrests were made, but Gardaí say they are following a definite line of inquiry.

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