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Connacht Tribune

Next year’s radical GAA fixtures shake up is fraught with danger

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Castlegar’s Michael Connor, Eamon Flynn, Cathal Wall, Alan Duggan and Matthew Kilgannon celebrate with the Fr. Griffin Cup after defeating Athenry in the County Minor A hurling final at Kenny Park last Sunday. Photo: Enda Noone.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

THE GAA fixtures landscape – at both club and county level – will undergo such a radical overhaul in 2018 that it’s virtually certain there will be some fallout and controversy along the way. Strong dual counties could be caught in the eye of the storm and Galway are one of those.

It’s not just the revamped fixtures timetables that administrators, mentors, players and supporters will have to grapple with, for there is no longer an U21 football championship – it’s being replaced by an U20 competition – while the inter-county ‘minor’ championships will be restricted to U17 players.

At the heart of these changes is a genuine attempt to give the club player a better deal, but such is the crowded programme for the first seven months of the year, it’s possible teams in next year’s Galway hurling championship will have played only two matches by the start of September. Sure, they will then have the prospect of four months of largely unhindered activity, but who wants to be slogging their guts out in late November or December?

Another potential difficulty for Galway is that their county U21 hurlers will be participating in the Leinster championship for the first time ever next year and that could result in three extra fixtures at the height of the summer as up to now the Tribesmen have only joined the All-Ireland title race at the semi-final stage. In football, Galway could also have their local fixtures hit if the county qualifies for the new Super Eight structure which involves two groups of four, comprising of home, away and neutral games to establish qualification for the All-Ireland semi-finals.

Furthermore, the Leinster and Munster hurling championships will also break new ground in 2018 as these provincial competitions will be decided on a round-robin basis. In Galway’s case, they will face four games, two of which will be at home, in order to qualify for the Leinster final and should the All-Ireland champions draw Kilkenny at Pearse Stadium, it would undoubtedly be a fantastic occasion.

But the new championship structures and fixtures timetables are fraught with danger. As a GAA traditionalist, I can’t get my head around the new reality that the All-Ireland champions in both hurling and Gaelic football will be crowned before the end of August. That leaves four months without a single inter-county match and the resulting vacuum is far too long.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

West has lower cancer survival rates than rest

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Significant state investment is required to address ‘shocking’ inequalities that leave cancer patients in the West at greater risk of succumbing to the disease.

A meeting of Regional Health Forum West heard that survival rates for breast, lung and colorectal cancers than the national average, and with the most deprived quintile of the population, the West’s residents faced poorer outcomes from a cancer diagnosis.

For breast cancer patients, the five-year survival rate was 80% in the West versus 85% nationally; for lung cancer patients it was 16.7% in the west against a 19.5% national survival rate; and in the West’s colorectal cancer patients, there was a 62.6% survival rate where the national average was 63.1%.

These startling statistics were provided in answer to a question from Ballinasloe-based Cllr Evelyn Parsons (Ind) who said it was yet another reminder that cancer treatment infrastructure in the West was in dire need of improvement.

“The situation is pretty stark. In the Western Regional Health Forum area, we have the highest incidence of deprivation and the highest health inequalities because of that – we have the highest incidences of cancer nationally because of that,” said Cllr Parsons, who is also a general practitioner.

In details provided by CEO of Saolta Health Care Group, which operates Galway’s hospitals, it was stated that a number of factors were impacting on patient outcomes.

Get 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. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway minors continue to lay waste to all opponents

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Galway's Aaron Niland is chased by Cillian O'Callaghan of Cork during Saturday's All-Ireland Minor Hurling semi-final at Semple Stadium. Photo: Stephen Marken/Sportsfile.

Galway 3-18

Cork 1-10

NEW setting; new opposition; new challenge. It made no difference to the Galway minor hurlers as they chalked up a remarkable sixth consecutive double digits championship victory at Semple Stadium on Saturday.

The final scoreline in Thurles may have been a little harsh on Cork, but there was no doubting Galway’s overall superiority in setting up only a second-ever All-Ireland showdown against Clare at the same venue on Sunday week.

Having claimed an historic Leinster title the previous weekend, Galway took a while to get going against the Rebels and also endured their first period in a match in which they were heavily outscored, but still the boys in maroon roll on.

Beating a decent Cork outfit by 14 points sums up how formidable Galway are. No team has managed to lay a glove on them so far, and though Clare might ask them questions other challengers haven’t, they are going to have to find significant improvement on their semi-final win over 14-man Kilkenny to pull off a final upset.

Galway just aren’t winning their matches; they are overpowering the teams which have stood in their way. Their level of consistency is admirable for young players starting off on the inter-county journey, while the team’s temperament appears to be bombproof, no matter what is thrown at them.

Having romped through Leinster, Galway should have been a bit rattled by being only level (0-4 each) after 20 minutes and being a little fortunate not to have been behind; or when Cork stormed out of the blocks at the start of the second half by hitting 1-4 to just a solitary point in reply, but there was never any trace of panic in their ranks.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Gardaí and IFA issue a joint appeal on summer road safety

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Galway IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs Chair Teresa Roche

GARDAÍ and the IFA have issued a joint appeal to all road users to take extra care as the silage season gets under way across the country.

Silage harvesting started in many parts of Galway last week – and over the coming month, the sight of tractors and trailers on rural roads will be getting far more frequent.

Inspector Conor Madden, who is in charge of Galway Roads Policing, told the Farming Tribune that a bit of extra care and common-sense from all road users would go a long way towards preventing serious collisions on roads this summer.

“One thing I would ask farmers and contractors to consider is to try and get more experienced drivers working for them.

“Tractors have got faster and bigger – and they are also towing heavy loads of silage – so care and experience are a great help in terms of accident prevention,” Inspector Madden told the Farming Tribune.

He said that tractor drivers should always be aware of traffic building up behind them and to pull in and let these vehicles pass, where it was safe to do so.

“By the same token, other road users should always exercise extra care; drive that bit slower; and ‘pull in’ that bit more, when meeting tractors and heavy machinery.

“We all want to see everyone enjoying a safe summer on our roads – that extra bit of care, and consideration for other roads users can make a huge difference,” said Conor Madden.

He also advised motorists and tractor drivers to be acutely aware of pedestrians and cyclists on the roads during the summer season when more people would be out walking and cycling on the roads.

The IFA has also joined in on the road safety appeal with Galway IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs Chair Teresa Roche asking all road users to exercise that extra bit of care and caution.

“We are renewing our annual appeal for motorists to be on the look out for tractors, trailers and other agricultural machinery exiting from fields and farmyards,” she said.

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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