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Sporting highs and lows on the pitch and in the saddle



Lance Armstrong...riveting television.

TV Watch with Dave O’Connell

Naturally, the World Cup overshadowed all else at the weekend, marking the end of some of the greatest sporting careers we’ve ever known. But that’s enough about Bill O’Herlihy.

Alan Hansen signed off too, although those eyebrows may still have employment potential if the BBC decides to construct a smoking lean-to outside its studios. Alan’s eyebrows would provide the perfect semi-permeable cover to accommodate at least 20 heavy smokers at any given time.

Billo’s departure marks the end of an era in Irish sports broadcasting because it’s hard to remember a time when he wasn’t the anchor man with the plaid sports coat, asking questions as though he’d just dropped in from Planet Zog.

Indeed those with good memories might remember that quintessential king of the airwaves, Liam Nolan, holding that slot back in the early days; now happily domiciled in Loughrea, Liam was the voice of radio and sport back when this fascination with football really began.

But for most of the modern history of the Green Army, Bill and the boys have been as much a part of the fabric as Jack Charlton or Roy Keane. They’ve been there to laud our big performances and to dive in with a high, two-footed, studs-up tackle when we lost.

The pretenders like Kenny Cunningham and, heaven help us, Richie Sadlier, couldn’t lace their boots and you’d wonder if Daragh Moloney – even with his new ‘burgeoning banker’ look – could ever play the gombeen like Billo.

Because that was O’Herlihy’s real strength – the ability to just ask questions, not to trade knowledge like most broadcasters try to, but to simply be a conduit for the viewer.

It’s different when Gary Lineker does it on the BBC because he did play at the highest level and it would be utterly disingenuous to try and pretend he didn’t have the inside track.

But of late Billo had started to believe his own publicity and that’s why it’s best now to put it all behind him. Let’s hope he brings Sadlier with him.

A different sport featured on a spellbinding Channel 4 documentary last week, as the rise and fall – and rise and fall – of Lance Armstrong was deconstructed in minute detail over as mesmeric a two hour televisual experience as you’ll experience.

This documentary started out with something entirely different in mind, because Alex Gibney – the man behind documentaries on everything from WikiLeaks to Al Qaeda – wanted to capture Armstrong’s return to glory and victory in the Tour de France.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.


Folk duo launch What Will Be Will Be



Niall Teague and Pádraic Joyce.

Folk duo Niall Teague and Pádraic Joyce are launching their new album What Will We Be, a  blend of folk, Americana and acoustic music, this Friday, May 19, at 8pm in An Taibhdhearc.

The success of their well-received 2020 release Taobh le Taobh, as well as recent successes at the Pan Celtic and Oireachtas Song Contests, spurred the duo on to record this new album which represents many years of collaboration and musical development.

It features Niall and Pádraic on vocals, harmonies, and acoustic guitars, Maidhc Ó hÉanaigh on double bass and Neil Fitzgibbon on fiddle. The catchy title track, What Will We Be, features contributions from percussionist Jim Higgins (The Stunning, Christy Moore, Paul Brady) and haunting, driving melodies on vocals, guitar, and fiddle.

Themes of love and hope are woven through Come Away with Me which features interplay between piano and fiddle as well as rich vocal harmonies.

People, places, and broken dreams are celebrated and lamented on Martin and Tom, Guitar Gold, Memories of You and Achill Island. The influence of David Henry Thoreau’s novel Walden features on the tracks Simple and Wise and Walden, with the beauty of nature, escape and simple pleasures at their core.

The album moves from minimalistic folk ballads such as Galway Ghost to swirling, string-laden arrangements on the song Neptune, both of which are influenced by maritime tales from Galway. Much of the work on this album was supported by the Arts Council, including work with musical arranger Eoin Corcoran and the string ensemble Treo.

The album will be launched this Friday, May 19, at 8pm in an Taibhdhearc. Tickets €22, plus booking fee at

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All roads lead to Dunmore as town tunes up County Fleadh



Most of the competitions for young musicians will take place this Saturday in Dunmore Community School. All the competitions are open to the public.

Dunmore is the place to be this weekend for lovers of traditional music, as the Galway County Fleadh will take place there from this Friday, May 19, to Sunday, May 23.

It is 10 years since Dunmore last hosted a fleadh and the local Comhaltas branch, which has re-formed since Covid, is looking forward to facilitating this gathering of music, song, dance and craic.

The official Opening Concert will take place in Dunmore Town Hall this Friday at 8pm with the acclaimed Mulcahy family from Limerick. Mick, Louise and Michelle are well known throughout the country, thanks to their live performances, television appearances and numerous CDs. They were the winners of the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Grúpa Ceoil Award for 2023.  Tickets for their concert can be purchased on the door and a great night of music is promised.

Two days of competitions will kick off this Saturday at the town’s Community School, with more than 1,500 competitors taking part. Participants will be hoping to qualify for the Connacht Fleadh 2023, which will be held in Ballina, County Mayo, from June 23 to July 2.

Competitions for those aged Under 10, Under 12 and Under 15 will be held in a large variety of instruments on Saturday, as well as in singing and Comhrá Gaeilge. Sunday’s competitions will be for the Under 18 and Over 18 ages groups, as well as in dancing.

On both days a large entry is expected for Grúpaí Cheoil and Céilí Band competitions across all age groups.

Seventeen Comhaltas branches from across Galway will have participants in this weekend’s competitions, which will result in a large number of visitors to the Dunmore area.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the competitions, which offer a great opportunity to hear and see the talent on display. There will be sessions in local pubs over the weekend as well and everybody is welcome to attend these.

For more information on the County Fleadh, go to


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Piano concert rescheduled for Tuesday



Pianist Cédric Pescia.

Music for Galway’s concert with renowned Swiss pianist Cédric Pescia which had been due to take place on April 27 but which had to be deferred, will now take place next Tuesday, May 23, at 8pm, in the Emily Anderson Concert Hall at the University of Galway.

This concert of German classics with Bach at its core, will brings the Bach element of Music for Galway’s 41st season to an end.

This world-class pianist who won the famous Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition, has a repertoire that spans many eras from baroque to contemporary and he is widely known for his elaborate programmes. Cédric Pescia describes music as  ‘language and movement at the same time’.

Audiences will have a chance to experience his soft, clear touch as he performs a programme for solo piano that will include classics such as Schumann’s popular Waldszenen (Forest Scenes), a suite of nine short pieces, and the penultimate of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, No. 31.  These pieces will be interspersed with French Suites by Bach.

■ Ticket for Cédric Pescia’s concert are available at, or by phone 091 705962 and on the door on the night. They cost €20/€18. The price for fulltime students of all ages is €6 while MfG Friends can avail of the friends’ rate of €16.

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