Stop the GAA Violence
UNLESS the GAA takes serious steps to tackle the issue of on-field violence, more and more assault cases arising from GAA games will appear before the courts.

That’s the verdict of a Kiltimagh man who was assaulted by an opposing player minutes after the final whistle of a championship game last year.

Darragh Sloyan, 27, was the victim of an assault by Davitts GAA player James Cummins after a Mayo club championship match between Kiltimagh and Davitts in Ballindine on June 12, 2011. Sloyan was left with a broken nose which required two operations to correct.

Now, speaking after the case against Cummins was finalized in court, Sloyan has said that too many assaults take place on GAA fields with no thought for the consequences.

The Mayo News is aware of at least three other cases currently being investigated by An Garda Siochana (police) in relation to alleged assaults on GAA fields in Mayo this summer.

“People seem to forget that it is meant to be about football and is a game -- we all have to work in the morning,” Sloyan said. “When you go out and play you might get accidentally injured and miss work the next day, but for a fella to come up and hit you like that is just not acceptable.

“When I came home from hospital afterwards my eldest son, who was two and a half years old at the time, didn’t know who I was with the mask I had on my face. That wasn’t nice and I couldn’t leave the house for two weeks because I didn’t want to see anyone in the state I was in.

“The way it tends to happen in the GAA is that the person who was attacked often seeks revenge in the next game between the same teams. It can be acceptable to ‘do’ him in return. It’s GAA justice.

It’s part and parcel of the GAA. The original victim then is seen as a bollocks for pursuing it through the courts, not the man who did it.”

Speaking in court last Friday when asked by Judge Mary Devins if he had anything to say, Sloyan said he would not have reported the matter to the Gardai if the GAA had dealt with the issue themselves.

“I spoke to a county board official and I was told he [Cummins] got a four week suspension for what happened during the game [Cummins was sent off during the match in question] but that what happened after the game was, essentially, not their problem.

“I said I was still wearing my jersey standing minding my own business in the middle of a GAA ground. If I was playing rugby or soccer I think the issue would have been dealt with much better. The player might be suspended for a long time. Essentially the GAA washed their hands of me.”

Sloyan, who played at senior, under-21 and minor level for Mayo, said he didn’t like to be making these comments but said he felt it is time something was done.

“I don’t want to sound like I am making a big deal out of this but it was so wrong and I was badly affected by it. I was hung out to dry here, left on my own by the GAA,” he said.

Mayo News

Sisterly Births
THERE’S nothing like a little sisterly support, especially when going into hospital to give birth -- and for two sisters from Newry, this was never truer.

Olivia Strain and her sister Colleen Markey, both nine months pregnant, were both taken into Daisy

Hill Hospital in the early hours of Thursday with contractions.  Olivia was taken down to the delivery suite first and at 8:53 a.m. she gave birth to a boy, Callum Phelim Gerard Strain, weighing in at 7 pounds 11 ounces.

Just over three hours later her younger sister Colleen added another boy to the family when Alfie Anthony Eugene Pentony was delivered, weighing 6 pounds 9 ounces.

Olivia's husband Gerard said, "We're all over the moon, especially Callum's older sister Bethany.  The two babies are healthy and the two girls are doing great, so everyone's delighted."

Gerard explained how the coincidence started at 2 a.m. on Thursday morning when Olivia woke up saying she knew there was something wrong with Colleen.  Unbeknown to her at the time, Colleen's contractions had started and she was preparing to go into hospital.

Within minutes Olivia started having contractions and they left for Daisy Hill arriving at 4 a.m., only to meet Colleen who arrived two hours later.

Delighted grandma Margaret Markey said, "I am delighted, just thrilled to bits. The girls were always close but to give birth to two sons on the same morning in the same hospital is incredible.”

Newry Democrat

Dangerous Websites
A DONEGAL coroner has criticized the online culture of websites that detail alarming information on self harm and suicide methods, saying that “we can no longer bury our heads in the sand” on the issue.

Coroner John Cannon made his remarks at Letterkenny Coroners Court which heard the inquests of three deaths by suicide that occurred just weeks apart last December and January.

He said he has researched this topic recently, and his findings made him “so angry” such information was available and in some cases was goading people to harm themselves or die by suicide. He called for such material to be controlled.

“I don’t know the answer but it makes me so angry. I can’t over-emphasize it but it is there,” Cannon said.

“It is real and there is no point burying our heads in the sand. There should be controls on these websites.”

He said these sites targeted people who were “low and in the ebb of depression.”
Cannon said new findings showed there was a high level of death by suicide in both Donegal and Cork.

He also highlighted his concerns over the growing issue of depression.

He remarked that it crossed many age ranges, saying that “horrible episodes of depression” appeared to be “prevalent in young people.”

The inquests heard details of the deaths of two students in their early 20s and a 51-year-old man.

“This depression seems very difficult to understand,” he stated.

Donegal Democrat

Hand Sliced Off

A 32-YEAR-old man originally from the Middle East had his hand reattached to his arm at St. James’ Hospital recently after he accidentally severed it while using a band saw in a meat shop in Longford Town.

The man, believed to be living in the Longford area, had entered Oasis Food Store on Great Water Street in the town at approximately 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 27.

It is understood he had intended to purchase meat from the Halal store and was told by the attendant behind the counter to wait until evening prayers were finished.

The man then made his way behind the counter and proceeded to cut the meat by himself using a band saw located inside the premises.

The man’s right hand was then sliced off by the blade of the appliance, which rotates at speeds of up to 5,000 feet per minute.

He was treated at the scene and then brought by an AW-139 Air Corps helicopter to St. James’

Hospital in Dublin before surgeons at the hospital successfully reattached the hand over the following weekend.

Longford Leader

Snakes Alive!

HORSELEAP residents Sinead O'Neill and her boyfriend Paddy Barrett got the shock of their lives when they discovered they were sharing their home with an unwanted guest -- a six foot boa constrictor.

The young couple, who moved into the rented house four months ago, discovered the snake when they were about to start cleaning out their shed. Their reptilian guest was wrapped around an old bed frame that was being stored in the outbuilding.

O’Neill said that they think that the animal belonged to the former tenants as they kept exotic pets.

"It had been living up there for six or seven months. His enclosure was in the shed (when we moved in) but we were told that the snake was gone,” she said.

The boa had made a cozy little nest for itself in a cardboard box in the shed, dragging in some hay for added heat and comfort. When hunting prey, boas grab with their teeth before suffocating their quarry and consuming it whole.

O’Neill believes that it kept itself alive by feeding on the shed's previous occupants. "We noticed that there was a lot of swallow nests but no swallows,” she said.

When the animal-loving couple, who have two cats and two dogs, started ringing around to try and get someone to take away the boa constrictor, O’Neill says they had trouble getting people to believe them.

"When I told the guards they asked was I on drugs," she laughed.

Eventually, Dublin Zoo put her in touch with the Reptile Village Zoo in Kilkenny where the snake is currently residing.

Zoo director James Hennessy, who traveled up to Horseleap to capture the animal, says the snake is as strong as an adult and could inflict serious, if not fatal injuries on a small child.

Offaly Independent

President of Ireland Michael D Higgins pictured in Sao Paulo Brazil today meeting with former President of Brazil Luiz InPhotocall Ireland