2nd Dec

The Journey

"Last Friday we were delighted to have graduation happen in person, during the ceremony SU president and Ladies football goalkeeper Emily McGrory gave a great speech which basically said       “We Made it”. Her point was that the goal, (graduation with a college degree), had been achieved but she detailed all the little highlights and bumps in the road that made the journey so special. Her message was, as with everything she does, right on point – its not just about the destination it’s the journey that’s important.   The journey that our ladies Gaelic football team have been on has been a fascinating one and there was another twist on that long and winding road yesterday as the girls dispatched St Mary’s Belfast 5-12 to 2-04 in Breffni park Cavan to make it to their second successive All Ireland league Final. That this team is dominated by a tight knit group of 4th year nurses will let you know that the journey has been at least 4 years in the making but in fact it has been quite a deal longer as we have to acknowledge the two men, (Daniel Caldwell and Mickey Feeney,) who charted the course and refused to be diverted from their goal of establishing Ladies Gaelic football as an essential thread of the campus and a force beyond the sport it represents. They have made many decisions along the way but arguably two of their wisest have been influential in getting us to where we are. The first was the appointment of Danielle Caldwell to the management team = the Mayo senior player is a recently qualified physio and has looked after all the girls knocks and bruises but she has also brought her knowledge of the ladies game at the highest level and introduced a physical conditioning to the girls that has them in peak shape.     The second was in appointing Maeve Flanagan as captain of this gallant crew.  Not for Maeve the Davy Fitzgerald school of roaring and shouting and “look at me amn’t I great” motivation.  A woman of few words she leads because she commands respect, she leads by example, she leads by clearly and calmly letting the girls know what she wants from them – and where she leads, they will willingly follow!! And while we look at the journey and examine the road that has brought us to another All-Ireland final no better place to start than with Maeve: when she arrived 4 years ago, we knew we had unearthed a gem and the path ahead, that she was destined to lead on, looked dizzyingly bright. In her first college game on a sun-drenched September day in Mchale Park she showed her qualities and having shorn up the defence brilliantly she charged forward to fire off a fine point -all was good and the future, as they say, was so bright we were preparing to wear shades. But in that self-same glorious moment as she watched the ball sail over the bar – disaster struck. In a vain effort to knock her off course a defender committed to the tackle launched herself at Maeve, followed through and the resultant collision and fall led Maeve to tear her Anterior Cruciate Ligament. All the promise that lay ahead of her now hung in the balance, (she was on the cusp of the Galway senior team and establishing herself with her club, Kilkerrin-Clonbeirne, one of the top teams in the country). Instead, her reality was the operating theatre and months and months of painful recovery and gruelling rehabilitation work. The road to recovery was not without its twists turns and setbacks but she is back where she belongs to the relief and delight of all who know her. None of us can walk the path alone and on every step along that road her partner in crime, Siobhan Brew, was by her side. On the pitch, in the classroom, on the corridor in the canteen you will rarely find one without the other and Siobhan has more than anyone shared her football journey, which is turn has been the story of their college path. Not without her own injury setbacks, (she missed our final group game), last night she put in possibly her finest performance in a college jersey to steady the ship and play a leader’s role in the forward line. Olwyn Kenny has shown glimpses of her potential over her four years, but it is only this year that she has consistently demonstrated her undoubted ability to nail down a starting spot in the forwards while Megan Carty has shown her experience when called upon and has played a major role on every step of the journey on and off the field. Bronagh Quinn’s road to this point has been slightly more complicated, taking her to LYIT before coming to us in second year, but that decision was a fateful one for the future of this team as she has been a revelation and the driving force of the team since her arrival .Her decision to step away from the Galway senior panel to focus on her college career has shown to be a wise one  as they have now discovered what we have long known for some time, that you will travel a long way to find a better defender  anywhere in the country and she has been brought back into the fold by the Tribeswomen. That she excels for us in midfield is simply a testament to her versatility but her performance in the centre of the park last night was as close to perfection as you could ask for. Her goal, (where she took a pass from Maeve while fully airborne, landed in her unique, almost gazelle like, fashion where she somehow managed to propel herself forward at speed on landing leaving three defenders mesmerised in her wake, steadied herself and rifled an unstoppable shot to the net from more than 20 yards) was a thing of absolute beauty and worth the 5 hour round trip in and of itself!  Her equally influential midfield partner Emma Halton had a journey of a different kind as this was a trip back home for the Gowna woman who is no stranger to Breffni park lining out, as she does, for the Cavan seniors. And while all of the aforementioned are reaching the culmination of their college journey Emma is starting out on hers, she has just been awarded a sports scholarship and is ready and willing to carry the baton when it is passed from her more senior colleagues – we will be hearing plenty more form here in the years to come.  In a story of journeys and interesting twists and turns it would be hard to eclipse that of Anna Tuohy. She made her way into the Mayo Senior Panel at 16 years of age and quickly showed that her ability and confidence meant that she had no problem rubbing shoulders with the great players of that Mayo team including Cora Staunton -who commented on the ease with which she made the transition and the confidence she displayed in quickly establishing herself in the side.  It was not only in the intercounty panel that she moved among the elite as in her first foray into third level she was an integral part of the UL side who dominated the top tier of third level football. Injury again entered the story line and Anna ended up taking time away from football and indeed from these shores as she travelled the world before deciding to come home. Anna arrived to us via a link we have with Castlebar College of Further Education and she played with us while a student there before progressing to the psych nursing course, a path that has shown the way for current Mayo CFE players such as; Lisa Scahill who  put in an outstanding performance at full forward and will have a major say in the destination of the final such is her ability in the inside line as evidenced by personal tally of 1-4, Lucy Wallace who has anchored a place in the full back line and has brought great pace and vision to the defences since her late inclusion and Shauna Tolan who has provided great impact off the bench in our last few games. How we would love to see these girls continue their path with us. Sophie Devaney wouldn’t be one for the straightforward path either and this is her second stint in GMIT where she is now completely at home in her Applied Social Care Course.  Sophies infectious enthusiasm and great character are almost as influential as her on field contribution which is high praise considering how formidable a full back she is.  A constant in the half back line since her arrival three years ago Shona hickey is another who knows the dual importance of performance on the field and the development of squad ties and friendships of it. Her constant smile has made many newcomers at ease, but that smile is not much in evidence when she brings her tenacity to the fore in her wing back role in a position she has made her own. We can sometimes overlook Emily in goal such is her constant excellence but with an early lead established the northerners knew the only way back into the game was though goals and in fairness they came looking but time and gain Emily thwarted them and it wasn’t until the final quarter when the game was beyond doubt that they finally breached her guard. As this story of these girls is one of development over years rather than hours there is no need to focus on the minute details and ebbs and flow of this game other than to note that with the massively Influential Anna Touhy and Rachel Barrett both missing the girls knew that anything less than a fully committed performance would be harshly punished. But they were fully focused, and a brilliant team performance saw them outmatch the Belfast girls in every department.  As well as the usual excellence from those already noted above special mention must go to: Vivienne Ward who made the most of her opportunity with an assured performance and a well taken goal, Saoirse Tunney who stood tall when the northern girls looked to up the ante and push a physical edge when all else had failed them. Saoirse was up to the challenge and wasn’t found wanting in a response that backed her teammates and made it clear that there was plenty pf backbone as well as skill in the outfit, Lucy Tuohy who crowned another night of intense work with fine point and Niamh Burke who got through a power of work near goal and was influential in setting up several of her colleagues while Ciara McDonagh again gave a masterclass in marking her opposite number and Lisa Killoran, Sinead Kearney and Orla Burke saw out the game in fine style when they replaced those who ran themselves into  the ground.  Its fitting that next Wednesday the girls will run out in another All -Ireland Final and that the core of 4th year nurses will have come fresh from an important presentation on Clinical Practice and Safety which is a culmination of months of work and that they will be a matter of days away from their final exams, because their journey has shown that both paths are intertwined. Their academic achievements cannot be separated from their personal growth and development that have come about from their college experiences outside of the classroom- and in this case on the training pitch, fields of play, buses, (and indeed airplanes !!!) to matches, through tears and laughter, celebration and consolation.  They have grown throughout this journey!!- we will be proud of them when they graduate next year and take their place in the world, we will be proud of them win or lose in the final next Wednesday but a beautiful gesture they made highlights all you need to know about them as group – as they prepared for this game and amid their heavy workload they baked a birthday cake with which they surprised Birthday boy Daniel Caldwell after the game candles and a rousing “ happy birthday” included, because those are the small details that prove the journey is every bit as important as the destinationGMIT Mayo will play the winners of University Ulster Jordanstown and MICL Thurles in a neutral venue on Wednesday evening dec 8th   Nigel Jennings, Sports Officer ,GMIT Mayo"

24th Nov

Season update

"GMIT Soccer were back in action with trials and training sessions on Sept 29th. Since then, we have had over 80 players participating at different stages throughout the weeks and months. College competitions back on November 2nd and we have had a hectic schedule since.Our 1st Team have played 3 games so far and are currently sitting on top of their group with just 1 game remaining. Any positive result at home against MUS – Limerick on November 30th will gain qualification to the knock-out phase. Wed with a 3-2 home win against MTU – Cork, with goals from Calum Browne x 2 and Evan Reape. Next up was a 2-1 away win against Carlow IT, with goals again from Calum and Evan. Just this week we played an entertaining 2-2 draw in the ‘Derby’ game against NUIG, with 2 crackers from Calum Browne and Ben Edeh. Our 2nd Team are also unbeaten with 2 games played and are currently lying in 2nd place in the league. Only a victory over local rivals GTI in their remaining fixture on Nov 2nd will ensure qualification to the knock-out phase. Wed with an away draw to MUS – Limerick with goals from Aaron Kelly and Daniel Cafferky. Next up was an away trip to MUS – Athlone in which we won 6-0 with goals from Daniel Cafferky, Thomas Gillespie, Francesco Bonito and an Aaron Kelly hat-trick. Training has continued over the last number of weeks for all players at all levels and new players are always welcome on the Wednesday evenings for assessments. Coaches: Brian Laffey, Neil O’Leary and Alan Conboy."

11th Nov

Ladies GAA Match vrs IT Sligo

"Bags scattered around the front door, excited chatter as girls gather in pods in reception, a bus trip, pre match nerves and the renewal of a fierce rivalry , bar the face masks it was as if normal service had been resumed – and its very fitting that the one group who have given us so much to cheer about over the last number of years, Ladies GAA, were the ones to fly the flag and carry the banner into battle as we got back to a first competitive road trip. And make no mistake a battle it was going to be! The older girls on the side had major pre-pandemic scores to settle with this IT Sligo side and by virtue of a narrow defeat in their opening game against MICL Thurles the girls knew that this was do or die- if they didn’t win their league campaign was over before it effectively got started. The battle ground was ready and the generals, Mickey Feeney and Daniel Caldwell, had their troops finely tuned and ready to fire- the rest was up to them.  Knowing what was at stake the girls sprang into action and in keeping with the military theme went straight on the attack- blitzing the Sligo defence from the off and laying siege to the goal. The Sligo defence had to repel a volley of attacks firstly from Emma Halton who rattled the post high up as the woodwork denied the opening score, then from Lisa Killoran who pivoted and fired a thunderbolt which looked goal bound , having the keeper soundly beaten, but it cannoned off the cross bar. The breakthrough finally came when Anna Tuohy, who spearheaded the attack, linked brilliantly with first Emma and then Niamh Burke before coming onto the latter’s pass at speed to fire over the opening score. The defence had been breached and concentrated waves of attacks saw the girls cruelly punish the Sligo defence to press home their advantage. First Lisa Scahill did great work forcing a free which Anna duly tapped over. Anna added to her tally when she finished a fine flowing move where Lucy Touhy and Emma combined cleverly. These were flesh wounds to the Sligo girls, but a killer blow was dealt shortly afterwards when Bronagh Quinn crashed a bullet to the net finishing a move she started with a blistering run from deep before linking with Olwyn Kenny to take the return and finish in style. Sligo were still reeling from this onslaught when Anna, who led the charge superbly, added another point before linking with Bronagh and hammering an unstoppable shot across the keeper and into the far corner for a second goal. The water break allowed  Sligo to recover from that shock and awe of an opening and they started to gain a little more territory and ask a few probing questions but the defence, (brilliantly marshalled by Captain Maeve Flanagan), stood tall and made them work hard for any progress they made – the speedy wing back pairing of Shona  Hickey and Saoirse Tunney were quick to spot danger and moved effectively to cut out the threat and when Sligo did go long the full back line of Sophie Devanney, Ciara McDonagh  and Rachel Barrett were steadfast in their duty of protecting  keeper Emily McGrory and they thwarted all efforts at goal forcing Sligo to kick from distance, and while they did land a few fine scores from long range they couldn’t get the three pointers they needed to make effective inroads into the big lead that had been built up. The heart of any comeback was broken when Emma, ( who along with her midfield partner Bronagh dominated the middle sector with a ferocious tenacity that was so impressive to observe), rounded of a great move started by Olwyn added to by Lisa Scahill but effectively made by Lisa Killoran who did a miraculous job of keeping control of the ball coming at high speed just above the grass  level and in one sweeping move pivot and pop it to Emma for the goal that realistically pushed them out of sight. Emma raised another Green Flag before Lisa Scahill marked an impressive debut with a fine point coming at the end of a surging run from Maeve that started on her own 40-yard line and brought an end to an extremely impressive 30- minute spell which saw the girls go in 3-08 to 0-5 at the break As with the water break the Sligo mentors took advantage of half time to regroup and in fairness they mustered their forces to mount a spirited charge and were a much improved outfit at the start of the second half. The attacking efforts of the first half started to take their toll on energy levels in the GMIT camp and by winning their own kick outs and starting to get possession more easily in the middle third Sligo started to make inroads and had the Lion’s share of possession in the third quarter. Worryingly they hit 3 points without reply and had the same post and cross bar that had thwarted Mayo in the first half not come to their rescue at this stage, or had Emily not produced another string of quality saves, (we have come to expect so much of her that some of heroics can get taken for granted), the comeback could have became a more immediate threat. As it was that splash of luck aligned with some outstanding defending, with Sophie clearing her lines and lifting the siege to great effect, meant that the scoreboard remained in their favour and they pushed on in the fourth quarter to close out the victory. Injury to Rachel Barrett meant she had to be withdrawn but it was great to have someone with the experience of Megan Carty to come in and steady the ship and with that done the forwards found their shooting boots again with Niamh Burke notching her first score, but not her only contribution as she had proved a great target in the inside line and linked in with the other forwards brilliantly. Fresh legs were introduced for girls who had emptied the tanks in a mammoth effort with Deirdre Hamill, Shauna Tolan, Hazel Farell and Orla Burke all accounting for themselves well while Vivienne Ward was particularly impressive Sligo tacked on a couple of points, but they were no more than consolations at this stage. The girls finished strongest with Anna instrumental in setting up Lisa Scahil for her third score in what was a very impressive first outing and she wasn’t happy to just provide assists as she signed off an incredible display with another point, again with an offload from Niamh, to take her tally to 1-6. Vivienne had the final say with a fine point to signal the end of proceedings and see the girls run out 3-12 to 0-10 victors and they were well deserving of their victory. There were heroic performances all over the field, already mentioned above, such as Anna’s excellent tally,  but special mention must also go to Captain Maeve Flanagan for her calm and steady leadership while the mid-field duo of Emma and Bronagh were outstanding for their energy levels ferocious tackling and intelligent link play. But probably the standout performance of the afternoon, and one the management team were delighted with as they know they have unearthed a new weapon, was Lucy Tuohy. Lucy’s speed and fitness are incomparable and when allied to her dedication to the task in hand – in this instance marking the Sligo wingback who looked extremely dangerous in the opening exchanges – she was a force to be reckoned with.  Credited with 15 turnovers her contribution was one of the main reasons the great Sligo fightback that we were all expecting never really got off the ground because whenever it threatened to sprout Lucy was there to nip it in the bud before it could grow into a serious threat and I’d say many of the Sligo girls would have been cursing her long after the final whistle, such was her dogged determination and refusal to give in.  Next up is a home game against Marino and the girls know that a win will secure them a place in the All-Ireland semi-final ………… they have won this particular battle the question now is can they go on and win the war?  "

23rd Oct

CAS Protocol of last weeks meeting

"CAS Protocol 20.10.2021 First meeting: Brainstorming session   3:30-4:50 5 members attended  During the meeting we discussed different ideas for different types of meet ups and Workshops. At the moment I (Cara Chairperson of CAS) am in discussions with the SU to get a Bus organized down to Letterfrack to view the campus and meet the other students. We also briefly discussed organizing a tour of the TULCA festival coming to Galway soon. We plan on discussing this in the next meeting.  Workshop and Activity ideas we came up with Mural workshop (keeping in mind that we may be organizing murals all over the GMIT campuses)  I ran the idea of creating murals on the GMIT campuses and in bathrooms to stop vandalism past the SU and the head of CCAM and they seemed to like the idea (I would like to hear everyone's thoughts on this in the next meeting)  Felt Art Workshop: I learned how to Felt while on Erasmus and thought this might be of interest to some of you  Life drawing Workshop: Improving on or simply just enjoying sketching skills  Filmmaker talk: we have a few Film students that thought everyone would like to get a Film maker or producer in to give a talk on their creative process (still only an idea that needs fleshing out)  Potluck Art night: A night where everyone brings a dish and we eat, drink and make art  These could also just be Movie nights with a discussion after (potential to make this monthly thing) Excursions to the Palais in Galway to watch movies as a group Making community art collections  Setting up Art Boxes for people to exchange art around the campuses  Collection boxes for specific items for 3D students (exp. bottle cap collections) Excursions to other art colleges, museums and art/film festivals around Ireland   If you have any questions or further ideas or wishes do not hesitate to contact me. The next meeting will be next Thursday or Friday depending on interest. I will send a short questionnaire out on Monday seeing what times suit best for everyone.  "

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