Review of the sporting year

The colourful look back on the year of sport in Galway by Ralph O'Gorman has become an iconic part of the New Year's reflection on the event on and off the field and tracks over the past twelve months. Enjoy.

Congratulations to Liam Nolan, the young Galway Golf Club member, on winning the Brabazon Cup, — that’s the trophy offered to the winner of the English Amateur Open Championship. The Open was played on the renowned Sunningdale Course. Not surprisingly Nolan is now eyeing up the composition of the British and Irish Walker Cup team. Fingers crossed.

Well, the Galway golfer gained selection. And became the first Galway man ever to be so honoured. Britain and Ireland just fell short having to make do with a 14.5 to 11.5 defeat in the Walker Cup. GB and Ire team were bidding to win the cherished cup for the first time since 2015. Still selection is an outstanding achievement for Liam and the Galway club.

Sounds a bit disappointing that we have only two All Stars to boast about. There were fifteen handed out to the hurlers, we got one. There were fifteen handed out to the footballers and we got none. There were fifteen handed out to the Camogie players, we got one! We often did better. Heartiest congrats to Conor Whelan, the Kinvara corner forward and Róisín Black.

A record amount of €130,000 euro was raised for Cancer Care West from the Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim which finally got underway in early September, weather permitted. It had to be postponed twice. Some 94 swimmers, accompanied by nearly one hundred boats, paddle boards and kayaks, arrived safely in Blackrock after swimming 13km from Aughinish, Co. Clare. Organiser Brian Thornton said they were thrilled with the amount raised for the charity. And of course he thanked all the swimmers, volunteers and the safety people.

Galway United were crowned First Division champions in Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday 20th October . John Caulfield’s side sealed a magnificent victory with a 2-0 win over Wexford to complete a 100 per cent home league record. The new champions scored a record 98 goals in their wonderful season.

Kilkerrin-Clonberne gave their best display of the year when it mattered most as they captured the All Ireland senior club football crown for the third year in a row at Croke Park. The pride of so many Galway football outings, we congratulate the East Galway girls for winning not just one, not just two but three All Ireland victories on the trot with their team of sisters. Just wonderful. The game finished 0-18 to 1-9.

St Thomas’ had a dramatic All Ireland semi-final win over Waterford’s Ballygunner ultimately decided by a penalty shootout. Evan Duggan scored the winner after Ballygunner missed twice. The final score was 1-18 to 2-15 yet the end result when all was said and done was 1-23 to 2-20. So the Galway side won an epic contest full of skill and physicality. And we have much to look forward to in the new year.

Sarsfields completed a five in a row of county senior camogie titles in Ballinasloe when they comprehensively overcame OranmoreMaree with a 12 point win 2-13 to 0-7. Clodagh Mc Grath deservedly won the Player of the Match Award. And well done to Mellows on winning the county Junior title.........

Delighted that Leo Galvin was granted Honorary Life Membership of Buccaneers Rugby Football Club. Delighted too that the club formally recognised his winning of an Ireland cap won against Argentina in 1973. What a wonderful servant to Connacht and Irish rugby.

One of the remarkable sporting achievements of the year must surely be that of Siobhán McCrohan winning the women’s lightweight single sculls at the World Championships in Belgrade. And that, after a seven year break from the sport. Yes we know it is not an Olympic sport but participation in Paris is not fully decided just yet. Siobhán also won a silver medal in the Lightweight Single Sculls at the World Cup in Lucerne in July. Did we mention that she is 36 years of age. We’ll not close the file just yet. Say nothing, Katie Taylor is 37.

Imagine 3,000 competitors lined up for the 37th running of the Streets of Galway 8K. David McGlynn from Waterford AC won in the runaway time of 24.04. Fair play to the Waterford contingent they filled the bus for another big representation at the popular Galway race. The Craughwell lads William Fitzgerald and Jamie Fallon took the runners-up spots. National champion íde Nic Dhomnhaill (West Limerick AC ) won the Ladies race in a time of 26.48 ahead of Laura Mooney (Tullamore Harriers ) and Norah Newcombe (Mayo AC ).

We lost the great GAA man Alfie Howley at the end of August. How the Pearse Stadium survives without him is a mystery. And that’s where Liam Murphy (capt.of St. James’ ) comes in when the club won the under--age county cup and he shouted ‘’This one is for Alfie Howley’’ to the approval of the packed dressing room..

Mick Molloy from Ougherard was 85 when he died in early September. He represented Ireland in the Marathon at the Mexico Olympics 1968. He set a World Record of 2:44.47 for the 30 miles. Mick, (the modest Olympian ) was one of Ireland’s greatest long-distance athletes.

Nono McHugh received her first Irish cap 50 years after captaining the first Irish women’s soccer team. Nono subsequently went on to have a most productive camogie career.

We started the year with World champions in Jade Goldbey (Karate ), Katie O’Brien (Rowing ), Niamh Heffernan (Handball ), Irish Champion Naoise O’Donnell, six boxers from the Olympic Boxing Club were Irish champions and Ronan Grimes World Para Cycling champion.

In the first weekend of the new-year the sporting highlights was packed tight with Galway’s senior footballers beating Leitrim in the FBD League with a 3-21 to 1-13 win in the Bekan Dome. And the Galway hurlers saw off Westmeath in the Walsh Cup at Duggan Park by 3-28 to 0-20. A great start to the New Year.

Galway’s three provincial football champions Moycullen, Dunmore MacHales, and Clifden’s Saint Feicíns got their comeuppance when they ventured outside the province for their respective All Ireland semi-finals where all three lost out to Northern opposition. Moycullen lost to The Glen of Derry 1-11 to 0-12. Dunmore lost to Tyrone’s Galbally Pearses in Mullingar 4-04 to 1-09 and Clifden lost out to Tyrone’s Stewartstown Harps 1-14 to 1-09 AET in Hyde Park.

And on top of all that the Connacht rugby team beat the South African Sharks 24-12 .

Kilkerrin Clonberne are All Ireland Senior Ladies champions and winning their 10th consecutive county senior Ladies title in the process. Sarsfields are the All Ireland Camogie champions and both not for the first time. Salthill Knocknacarra are the Junior Ladies football champions.

In mid January The Hurling Club of the University of Galway honoured two of their best servants ever Joe Mc Donagh and Doc Finan with two new plaques in the Dangan Sports Complex of the college.

And at the same time, Monday January 23, the Galway City Council honoured the record breaking oarsman Damian Browne with a civic reception for his single-handed trip from New York to Galway. The Mayor of Galway City Councillor Clodagh Higgins presided over matters in City Hall.

There was an interesting session with Damian Browne and Karen Weekes on Ray D’Arcy on RTE Radio1 where they had much common ground to discuss, like how did ya get on in America?

University of Galway Maree Basketball team won the first silverware of the year when taking the National Junior Cup over DBS Éanna in the National Basketball Arena. The final score of 74 to 69 suggests it could be a good year yet.

Saturday 28th January and when it rains it pours — Two big matches on TV at the same time. Galway v Mayo under lights in Castlebar and Connacht v Lions in the Sportsground. We drew the NFL game and won the rugby handsomely.

TG4 gave us Alex Lee the Blade Runner on Wed 18 January and again on the Late Late Show on Friday January 20.

We waited for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. But that didn’t go too well and we got rid of Vera Pauw.

On Saturday January 28 we had a most decisive win over Emirates Lions at the Sportsground 43/24. The Monivea star Caolan Blade entertained us to a hat trick of tries in a total of six tries. And yet the game will be remembered for a new record set by the Roscommon out half Jack Carty. Jack beat the all time kicking record for Connacht of 1152 points achieved by Eric Elwood. The new figure is set at 1159.

The Six Nations Tournament got under way on Friday February 3 in Colwyn Bay over in Wales when the Ireland Under20s saw off the challenge of Wales in grand style 44-27. The Ireland selection included two Connacht backs Hugh Gavin (Galwegians ) and John Devine (Corinthians ). Munster had two reps, Ulster had just the one. One from La Rochelle and the remainder from Leinster all eight of them. We felt comfortable, we belonged. The substitutes used included two more Connacht lads Fiachra Barrett (Corinthians ) and Harry West (Buccaneers ). Even the Spiddal lad George Morris (Lansdowne ) got a run.

What a weekend, Scotland beat England and Italy damn near beat France and of course we beat Wales in the first day of the 6 Nations.

Still we have the Walsh Cup, we won it on the new pitch in Wexford.

And then we met the Cork hurlers in Pearse Stadium on Sunday February 12, Paul Bellew’s (Galway GAA Chairman ) birthday. The 8,000 plus crowd drifted early. The Cork crowd said that’ll do and the Galway folk said blast it anaways. Henry has a bit to do.

We enjoyed the second week of the Six Nations and we had an outstanding win over the holders France 32-19 and the Under 20s were just as good. The powers that be said the Connacht man Caelan Doris from Lackan in Mayo was absolutely phenomenal. And we agree. Naturally he was Man of the Match.

Mother a-gawd! What’s the world comin’ to? On Friday February 17, a team called Kerry FC took their place for the first time ever in the League of Ireland. Kerry playing soccer! Anaways they were beaten 2-0 by Cobh Ramblers in Mount Hawk Park, Tralee.

Castlegar Hurling Club raffled a house in Salthill on Sunday 19 February and took in €1.4 million euro. Nice tipping.

And we enjoyed the third round of the 6 Nations as well. Great value. Most enjoyable.

Kate Slevin plays Gaelic football like she plays soccer. And Salerno girl Niamh Kennedy swam for Ireland in Luxembourg and in Edinburgh. ‘Course she’ was a tidy Basketball player with Titans and a footballer with the county minors. Ciana Ní Churrain (Micheál Breathnachs ) won the National 40x20 senior handball title and Niamh Heffernan won the American Colliegiate single and doubles handball titles in Arizona and that after winning the Irish open collegiate singles and doubles. Fiona Everard from the University of Galway won the Inter Varsity Cross Country Championships at the UL track in Limerick. And all that in the first three months of the year and before Paddy’s day came and went.

At the GAA Congress 2023 on the week-end of the 18th. February we noted that the Galway minor hurlers are now allowed to play in the Leinster championship like the seniors and the under 20s, well thanks a million. The motion proposed by the County chair Paul Bellew received the support of 73 per cent of the delegates. And the other 27 per cent continued as tight fisted as ever.

We played Kerry FC who made the trip to Eamon Deacy Park but lost 9-1! Incredible. Manchester United lost to Liverpool 7-0, honestly. Manchester City beat RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League, the score 7-0 and Erling Haaland had five of them. All matches were played before Paddy’s Day.

Under 20’s Six Nations Ireland beat Scotland 82/7 that’s 12 tries to one! And we converted 11 of them. A record winning margin. John Devine (Corinthians ), Hugh Gavin (Galwegians ) and Fiachra Barrett (Corinthians ) lined out for Ireland. The cousins George Morris (Lansdowne ) and Matt Lynch (Dublin University ) came in for the second half to help things out. Connacht felt well represented.

We beat Scotland well in the 6 Nations proper 22/7. Can’t wait for Paddy’s week-end. England in Lansdowne Road on Paddy’s Day. Nothing can go wrong now, can it?

And nothing went wrong, not only did we win the Grand Slam but we won two Grand Slams in two days. We beat England 29-16 in the Grand Slam proper and beat England 36-24 in the Under 20s Grand Slam.

Ireland fielded an interesting team for the final game against England in the Aviva. We fielded 12 players from Leinster in the starting XV. There was one from Munster. None from Ulster. And Mark Hansen and Bundee Aki were listed with Connacht. During the game we brought in four more off the bench from Leinster, one from Munster and three from Ulster.

What we didn’t have was any card of any colour. We finished with 27 points on the table, France had 20 and Scotland had 15. England had 10, Wales had 6 and Italy had 1.

With the winning of back to back slams on probably the most successful week-end for Irish rugby we applaud the Under 20s with their success of two in a row grand slams, truly wonderful. We again finished with 27 points, France had 21, Italy and England had 15 points, Scotland had 5 and Wales 3.

Connacht were well represented with Hugh Gavin (Galwegians ) who gave us three tries, including two in the English match and John Devine (Corinthians ). George Morris (Lansdowne ), Fiachra Barrett (Corinthians ) and Harry West (Buccaneers ) all featured in the second half. We felt involved.

What a week-end - we win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, well Willie Mullins won it with Galopin Des Champs and of course we won the Prestbury Cup and won it well with Ireland topping England yet again. Unfortunately things were not so good for the Shark Hanlon and Hewick.

And then before the first quarter of the year was done we had extraordinary wins by the Galway footballers, Connacht Rugby team, Galway Camogie players and Galway United with seven starts and seven wins, then eight starts and eight wins. The gap widens at the top of the League of Ireland table.

Galway made it to the final of the National Football League with Mayo the opposition. Two Connacht sides in the final. Should be no trouble. It was. Mayo won handsomely, 0—14 to 0-11. And a week later (9 April ) Mayo meet Roscommon in the Connacht championship. Mayo were poised for victory as you could imagine. But Roscommon blew them away, Just as well there are round robins to come.

Another dream burst when Connacht Rugby made their exit from The European Challenge Cup, 41 to 19 to Benetton in Treviso.

The Galway footballers missed out on the Lidl Division 1. National football Final against Kerry by a big margin in Croke Park. But the Galway girls made no mistake of the Very Camogie Final Div.1 with a 2-13 to 1-12 win when retaining their title over Cork. That’s seven titles in total and a third in five seasons with two All Ireland titles to boot.

Things must be good in Sligo these days. Sligo won division 4 of the National Football League . They won a Connacht minor football title with Galway in the final. Sligo jockey Derek Fox won the Aintree Grand National on a day of protests, the 175th running of great history.

But there was no luck for Leitrim in the Connacht Football Championship with Andy Moran as the coach up from Mayo. They prepared well. Fought the good fight. And finished up all square with New York in Gaelic Park New York City. Nothing dividing them. Extra time and then Pen’os was the order of the day. A native New Yorker, Mickey 'What sha may call him' clinched the matter. Now they travel to meet Sligo! Well Sligo put paid to that story in a match that ended Sligo 2-16 to NY 0-06.

Galwegians in their 100th birthday were delighted to win the Connacht Rugby Womens Cup final with University of Galway 32/5. And the Wegian Women had another big win when taking the Energia AIL Plate final with Blackrock College by 25 pts. to 19 pts.

Brian Shortt from the Bluefin Club in Kilcornan won gold at the Irish Open Championships when winning the 200m. back stroke in just under the two minutes, 1:59.23. He’s only 16 years old. A student in UL.

And another Ballinderreen man Brian Molloy from down Longford Roscommon way has been voted the next President of the Camogie Association. Good choice, good luck Brian.

They say that James Molloy from the Salthill/Knocknacarra GAA club is the first Gaelic football referee from the city to make the intercounty panel for as long as they can remember. Musha not sure about that. James Molloy knows Croke Park like the back of his hand and all the good grounds round the country. He reffed a Division 3 final Armagh v Fermanagh and a club final Kilcummin (Kerry ) v Naomh Eanna (Belfast ). He has taken charge of a couple County finals Corofin v St.Michaels in 2014 and Corofin and Mountbellew in 2018. He reffed Westmeath and Louth in the Leinster Championship. Clare v Donegal and Kerry v Louth, Ah too many to mention.

We are also very pleased to remember two of the best Des Joyce the Renmore man and Mick Curley the Garda Superintendent.

Kevin McHugh won the ILDSA Jimmy Cranny Connacht Swimmer of the Year 2023. He was presented with his award by Helen Colfer who was last year’s recipient. Paddy McNamara said.

John Carr the soccer legend from Henry Street had a big birthday party in Blackrock. Didn’t swim though.

The Galway Camogie girls won the National Camogie League with a 2-13 to 1-12 victory over Cork., their second successive victory. The win brings Galway’s tally to seven, three in the last five years under Cathal Murray’s stewardship. Nice tipping Cathal.

Kieran Molloy enjoyed a big night in Leisureland and so did his 1,000 supportors

Connacht bt Ulster 15/10 (5 pens to 1try, 1con, 1pen ) in Belfast in a stunning URC quarter-final so earning a URC semi-final away to Stormers or the Bulls.

Only 11,867 watched Galway wallop Sligo in the Connacht Senior Football final in Castlebar on Sunday 7th May. Galway had no trouble winning 2-20 to 0-12. It was a first successful back to back defence of a Connacht title in 20 years. Matthew Tierney was the star of the day with 2-7 in the bag.

Sligo beat Kerry in Pearse Stadium in the Under 20 football All Ireland semi-final.

On Saturday May 20 we had the Leinster v La Rochelle in the Heineken Cup final. Played in the Aviva Stadium, one felt it was Leinster’s turn. Like they led 17/0 or thereabouts at halftime. Leinster lost 26/27. Their third final loss in three years.

We coped, after all we had Katie Taylor to come centre stage for her first bout on home soil. The 3 Arena was the venue. She waited seven years to show her wares to the home crowd. But blast it the majority decision went to the English girl Chantelle Cameron. I’d say Cameron will be back.

She came back all right but Katie came good.

The hurlers of Ireland took centre stage. Clare and Cork and then Tipperary and Limerick. By golly we were assured of winners in these Munster SHC games. No messing about here. Clare won in extra time 28 pts. to 27 pts. after seven times level. Tipperary and Limerick played a draw 25 to 25 also in extra time. After nine times level. Incredible!

Westmeath beat Wexford, 4-18 to 2-22. Now for ya! And Galway walloped Antrim 5-29 to 1-22.

Well at least, Galway saw off Tyrone in Pearse Stadium in the All-Ireland SFC Group stage 0-16 to 0-13, phew! it will do.

Manchester City won a third Premier League title in a row.

Salthill Devon announced the date for the return of the famed 5 a side soccer.

By the time the month of May was done and dusted we had lost Joe Young, Mickey Broderick and the Berso Himself. Pat Diskin died in the first half of June and Criostoir Mac Gearailt died on the 15th June.

Sunday the 11th June was a scorching day. Still 24,483 went to Croke Park for the Leinster hurling final between Kilkenny and Galway. It finished Galway 2-26 to Kilkenny 4-21. Ya 32 points to 33 points. Incredible drama. Kilkenny’s 75th title.

Limerick escaped with the Munster hurling title against Clare at the TUC Gaelic Grounds, Clare 1-22 to Limerick 1-23. As tight as that. Limerick’s fifth in a row.

Mayo won the Connacht Minor football title over Galway 2-13 to 1-10 at Tuam Stadium on Friday 26th May.

Galway lost to Armagh in the Gaelic Football championship for the first time ever in the history of the GAA on Sunday 18th June. They played in Carrick on Shannon and between the thunder and lightning they were level 7 times. Pipped at the post by a single point . Not quite as bad as the hurlers v Kilkenny.

Siobhán McCrohan was just short of a medal at the European Rowing Championship in Lake Bled in Slovenia on Sunday 11th June. She finished fourth in the Lightweight single sculls. But by how much? By a whisker. We came home without any medals.

Sam Murphy (Portumna Golf Club ) had an outstanding win when claiming the Connacht Strokeplay by an unbelievable ten strokes. David Kitt (Athenry Golf Club ) was second. Murphy put the disappointment of narrowly losing out in the East of Ireland in the previous week.

We will have three representatives on Team Ireland at the Special Olympics World Games taking place in Berlin. Patrica Larkin swims while Michelle O’Keane and Liam Hynes will participate in the kayaking.

Criostoir Mac Gearailt died on the 15th June after a long life. He was in his 95th year. An extraordinary man who lived an extraordinary life. He will be forever remembered for his successful running of the Inter Firms football and hurling competitions. His lifetime interest in Handball and the development of the Handball club at the Pearse Stadium. ‘Can’t forget his Inter-Firm’s quiz, that captured the imagination. He enjoyed cycling the bike. You could see the brain ticking away as he journeyed into his office in CIE.

And we buried Mick Berry, well Berso if you know your way ‘round town’. Position on the rugby field didn’t matter much to Berso, he knew them all, he adapted constantly. He served Corinthians RFC well and was President of the club in 2011. He being of Old Galway is buried in Forthill Cemetery.

Joe Young died on Saturday the 6th May. He was in his 90th year. One of that precious category of dual players who served Galway in both hurling and football. He played in the All Ireland Hurling final in 1955 and the All Ireland football final in 1956. We lost the hurling game v Wexford but won the football against Cork. ‘The film star’ that’s what he was called. Remember him in the army uniform? As me mother might say a fine cut of a man.

Mickey Broderick played rugby for Connacht. It was on the 16 November 1960 against Ulster in Ravenhill and Connacht won 6/3. It was the first time that Connacht ever won in Ravenhill , and it was a long time before we won again at the same venue. It was Mickey ‘Braw’s’ first and only cap for Connacht. The Bish schoolboy and College engineering graduate died in early May and we lost one of the great characters of Connacht rugby. One of the great characters of life.

Pat Diskin died. A man who knew all about everything. A man of detail, the match report was checked over and over. And checked over again before handing it into the Sports editor. But it was different in quizzes and particularly sports quizzes. He had the answers, all of them. He was the authority. The press box will be quieter than heretofore. Pat Diskin will be missed.

But the week-end of the 24/25 June would decide all for the Galway effort in both football and hurling. Goodness me, we were well prepared. We would play Tipp in Limerick and that would be tricky. There were 34,180 present. We would play Mayo in Galway but we should manage that okay. Tipp in Limerick would be first. What a boost we won 1-20 to 1-18, more of the same the next day. The Mayo team team bus hit the Salthill Promenade as early as 11.00am. 23,897 attended the match in Pearse Stadiuim. David McBrien stuck a powerful goal for Mayo on 43 minutes and that was that. That was as far as Mayo got but it was further than Galway.

Seventeen years old Danny Gilligan from Craughwell became the youngest ever winning jockey of the Galway Plate when he won on Ash Tree Meadow on Wednesday 2nd August. Wonderful history for the son of trainer Paul Gilligan.

Martin Mulkerrins won a World Handball Championship. He won it in Minneapolis in the height of Summer. It wasn’t his first final. No, he lost a few of them. But good on you Martin, you came good. He won the World Open Doubles too with his partner Killian Carroll. The brother Darragh Mulkerrins was on the winners podium as well. He won USHA National Division C.

Connacht player John Muldoon with 327 caps has signed a contract which sees him return to the Sportsground from the start of the season. He takes responsibility for the lineout and maul and will work directly with Colm Tucker who remains in charge of the scrum and breakdown. He gets a big welcome and fully deserves it.

Athletes Aaron Keane and Andrew Egan (University of Galway ) and Robert McDonnell Galway City Harriers ) were selected to represent Ireland at the European Championships (under 23 ) in Finland.

Listen to this, The sisters Niamh McGrath and Siobhán McGrath who play with Sarsfields were selected as the 2021/22 and the 2022/23 AIB Camogie Club Championship Players of the Year! Isn’t that something else.

Calasanctius College in Oranmore added more silverware to their trophy cabinet with the Irish School Boys Senior Championship. They beat the holders Terenure College 3 &2 in the final and beat De La Salle of Waterford in the semi-final. With Caelan Coleman, Hugh Costello, Jack Leahy, Ryan Leydon and Dylan Smyth of Galway Bay Golf Resort with Mikey Grealy and Cathal Penny of Athenry Golf Club the student hereos.

Three Galway swimmers were selected to represent Ireland at the Special Olympics in Berling in June. All members of the Tribes Swimming club, Patricia Larkin is selected for swimming and Liam Hynes and Michelle O’Keane for kayaking, the first in 15 years to represent the club at the games.

The Bish won the Anderson Cup at the Galway Regatta against a Jes crew and a second Bish crew. It was the 139th regatta, held in June 2023.

Coláiste na Coiribe were crowned FAI Schools Junior National Cup Champions after an emphatic win over Presentation Secondary School from Wexford in Rossleighan Park Portlaoise with two goals from Kassie Rather. The Galway school won 3/1. Sophie Ní Chatháin opened the scoring for the Knocknacarra side and Caithlin Seoige was the player of the match.

Niamh Connery got a right good send off from her colleagues in Shark Swimming Club as she headed off to the European Youth Olympics in Slovenia last Summer.

Congrats to Finlay Daly (University of Galway ) who won the 3,000 steelechase at the national championships in Santry. Laura Nally (GCH ) won silver in 200m and Sinead Maher (South Galway AC ) won Silver in the 5K Walk.

We saw two big performances from Adrian McCullion and Sean Heaney from the Galway Rowing Club at the European Masters Regatta in Munich. Well done men.

Paul Bellew, Chairman of the County Board told us that Padraic Joyce and Henry Shefflin will remain in charge of the county footballers and hurlers for the new season. Fingers crossed.

Congrats to Kieran Earls who won his second Scratch Cup at Mellows Pitch and Putt on Sunday 6th August. A crowd of some 200 spectators came to watch proceedings. Sean O’Connor was runner-up in a dramatic finish.

Congrats to Martina McIntyre from Corrandulla who ran second in her age category of the World Triathon Multisport. She was runner—up in the Sprint Distance Duathlon race at the World Championships in Santa Eularia, Ibiza. Good on ya Martina.

John Shortt (16 ) from Roscam is a member of the Bluefin Swimming Club. He set a new time of 1.58.65 for the 200m backstroke in Belgrade at the European Junior Championships. Not surprisingly John has his eye on the Paris Olympic Games in 2024. Fingers crossed.

Aisling Jordan was presented with the Female u-16 Schools Player of the Year and Jess Ross and Kate Burke collected the School’s Award for Calasanctius at the Basketball Ireland Annual Awards

What a pleasure to see Daithí Frawley win the Lifetime Contribution to Rugby Award. And appropriate too that John Muldoon was on hand to do the honours. The Portumna lads know how to stick together. Delighted we are. Oh let us acknowledge the Women’s Player of the Year Orla Dixon and the Men’s Player of the Year Caolin Blade. Delighted with that as well.

We congratulate the first four people to be inducted in the Galway Basketball Hall of Fame, Pat Bourke (St. Colman’s Gort ), Ita Greene (Corrib ), Maura Harte (Claregalway/University of Galway Mystics ) and Joe King (Claddagh Shamrocks ). Well done.

The Salthill Fives made a welcome return to Salthill Park. The Marvoy Classic Sevens won the Ground and Co. title.

Galway Rowing club girls had quite a successful trip to Nottingham in the month of May. Well done to Aobh Ní Domhnaill, Maeve Forde, Rebecca Dunleavy, Leah Moylan and Leigh Smalle (cox ).

Rugby hero from Ballinasloe Béibhinn Parsons booked her place at the Paris Olympic Games in 2024 when Ireland beat Fiji to take the fourth and final place.

The Francis Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim after being postponed twice due to unfavourable weather was held on Saturday 9th September. As usual the swim commenced at Aughinish in Co.Clare and finished at the Blackrock Diving Tower in Salthill. A record of 130,000 euro was raised by the swimmers for the established charity Cancer Care West. Chief organiser Brian Thornton said they were very pleased with the amount raised. And of course he thanked all those who were part of the organisation particularly with regard to safety. The record number of swimmers, all 94 of them and nearly a hundred boats, paddle boards and kayaks arrived home safe and well after the swim of 13km at the diving tower. The onwater safety was marshalled by Oranmore Maree Coastal Recovery crews and Ciaran Oliver of Galway Bay Boat Tours.

A novel item ‘Galway FA Team Of the Millennium’ was selected and celebrated. And the selected elite eleven are Seamie Crowe (Athenry ), Cathal Fahy (Athenry ), Brian Geraghty (Salthill Devon ), Benny Lawless (Athenry ), Barry Moran (Corrib Rangers ), Noel McDonnell (Mervue United ), Mark McPhilbin (Hibernians ), Geoffrey Power (Corrib Rangers ), Paddy Quinn (Athenry ), Keith Ward (Hibernians ) and Tommy Walsh (Mervue ).

It’s agreed that Ireland will host a major international soccer tournament in 2028 when the European Championships will pitch its tent in this country. Well it was a joint bid between GB and ourselves. We’ll have six matches in Dublin but we’ll be calling the Aviva the Dublin Arena for the duration. Casement Park although not ready yet, will host five games. Eng.28, Sco.6, Wales 6.

Galway United women celebrated a famous victory over Cliftonville as the winners of the inaugural Avenir Sports All Ireland Cup. A first for Irish soccer and a first for Galway United, they beat Cliftonville 1-0 and the historic win was played in the Showgrounds in Sligo. Freedom of Galway for the girls?

The October Public Holiday brought a great flurry of activity.

The final of the Rugby World Cup brought New Zealand and South Africa together and not for the first time. Only a point separated them.

Those supervising the WRC selected their team of the tournament that included five Irish men Bundee Aki, Gary Ringrose, Dan Sheahan, Tadgh Furlong and Caelan Doris. Andy Farrell was named Coach of the tournament.

Bearna Golf Club won the All Ireland Women’s Junior Foursomes at the Knightbrook Golf Club in Trim. The successful women included Caoimhe Slemon, Clare Cunningham, Nuala Timoney, Michelle Keenan, Siobhán Smyth, Ailis McDermott, Caroline Kenny Codyre, Eliabeth Neville and Bridie McNamara

Galway the home of rowing? Well the news is just non stop, like the arrival of Cumann Rámhaíochta na Coiribe. Comhghairdeas leis na cailíni faoi 16 who saw off the challenge of Castleconell Co. Sligo, Muckross and Enniskillen to take the Junior 16 coxed squad. Neville Maxwell President Rowing Ireland was on hand to watch the handiwork of coaches Pete Comber and Hannah Comber.

Bish were unfortunate to miss out in the final of the McKinstry Cup played in Athlone. They lost to St. Ninian’s High School from Glasgow. A most interesting tournament. There has only been one Galway winner Calasanctius College in 2015 and just two more Irish schools, St. Eunan’s Letterkenny (with Ollie Horgan in charge ) in 2012 and St.Kieran’s Kilkenny the hurling nursery in 2016. Schools from Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales are eligible to compete.

Always pleased to note the revival of Galway Bohemians after being out of action for a number of years. So it is a pleasure to congratulate them on winning the Jack Lillis Cup.

Anna Trench and Avril O’Toole of the Jes Rowing Club won gold at the Ghent Regatta in the Under 19 pairs last May.

Both Craughwell AC and Athenry AC have completed the surfacing of their new tartan 400m tracks. What an initiative? Well done, congrats. And Tuam Stadium and the Sportsground are getting renovations. The Sportsground is to receive another 10 million extra from Government.

Jimmy Duggan, one of Galway’s finest ever hurlers passed away at the end of October, 10 years after the brother Seán Duggan died. Jimmy was an outstanding player, official and administrator of the game. His inter-county career saw him play for Galway for 18 years during which he played in three All Ireland finals. We remember when the University of Galway conferred Honorary Degrees of Master of Arts on Jimmy and the big brother Seán Duggan for their lifetime contribution to Galway hurling.

Salthill Devon won the Connacht FA Women’s Cup Final when beating Manulla 4-3 in the final in Headford.

And Salthill Devon completed the League and Cup double when beating Colga 3-0. Three goals by Timmy Molloy, Vinny Faherty and Mikey Fox was much more valuable than three rattles of the Devon woodwork by Colga.

A six-in-a-row Galway senior hurling championship win for St. Thomas’ was successfully accomplished after yet another tight margin of 2-12 to 1-13 against Turloughmore. Remember Turlough are the only other club to win six in a row. There was only one point between the sides at half-time. And at full time the St. Thomas’ captain Conor Cooney collected the Tom Callanan cup for the sixth time. Like the sixth time to be the recipient, I mean how often would you have to receive a major trophy to win a Hall of Fame? Now St. Thomas’ focus turns to the All Ireland semi-final against the Munster champions.

Galway United Friends Co-Op awarded David Hurley the Galway United F.C. men’s player of the year 2023.O’Briens of Galway were the sponsors. Nice one!

Galwegians Rugby Club celebrated their centenary on Thursday December 7 at their Glenina clubhouse with the publication of their history compiled by Linley MacKenzie. The very well received publication is essential reading. And when it comes to rugby where would ya be goin’ without the finer touches of the Kiwis. The top brass (gawd they get younger ) of Erc Dunne and Carl Blake handled the evening very well. Michael Deacy’s speech was the star turn of the night after which he formally launched the book. The Mayor of the City, sportsman Cllr. Eddie Hoare was in attendance.

And we saw the Mayor on the previous Saturday in the University of Galway Grounds at Corrib Village in the lashing rain of Newcastle. He came not just to look but to participate in the first running of the latest parkrun at this new venue. There were 222 finishers. In fact it is the eleventh venue in County Galway of parkrun and the 144th parkrun venue in all of Ireland. Padraig Fahey who we remember from the Pearse Athletic Club days does most or all of the organising. VHI is the sponsor and the HSE come up with the readies where necessary. Enjoy the parkrun, can’t go wrong, no charge, walk, jog or run. Nobody ever comes last because we have a volunteer called the tail walker!. Not even the Mayor comes last. The run/walk takes place every Saturday at 9.30 am. Check out www.parkrun.ie

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