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Brexit may jeopardise patient access to medical devices, according to Medtech

Irish Medtech Association Senior Executive Dr Áine Fox cautioned that: “While industry has invested heavily in making changes to their businesses and training staff to be adequately equipped to comply with the new EU Medical Devices and IVD Regulations, the regulatory infrastructure is not ready. After more than half a decade of development and negotiation the EU has underestimated what is needed to ensure patients continue to have access to the 500,000 medical technology product groups that are currently on the global market after the regulations come fully into operation by the end of May 2020 for medical devices and May 2022 for invitro diagnostics.

“Medical devices are used to diagnose, monitor and treat patients. Before they can go onto the market manufacturers must demonstrate that their products meet EU safety, health and environmental protection requirements. The Irish Medtech Association and its members provided significant feedback and comment during development of the new regulations to reflect the evolution of this innovative sector, which saves and improves lives. But businesses are now being encouraged to develop contingency plans.

“There has been an alarming 32 per cent drop in the number of designated notified bodies in the EU between 2012 and 2018. This trend must be reversed urgently as these organisations are vital to review medical devices for certification in an independent and impartial manner. Because the implication of restricted market access is that hospitals and doctors will no longer have the same life-saving technologies available to them to treat patients.”

Irish Medtech Association Chairman and Stryker Neuro, Spine, ENT and Navigation VP R&D David Tallon added: “This problem has been aggravated further by the ongoing Brexit negotiations, which not only risks splitting the EU regulatory system and €110 billion market in two, it may also deny businesses access to notified bodies they’ve used in the past. As many as 43 per cent of Irish Medtech members rely on UK notified bodies to gain certification. We are calling on the EU and UK to ensure the mutual recognition for existing medical technologies and on the EU to find a solution to address the shortfall of notified bodies needed to implement the new regulations.”

A recent survey published by the Association found two-thirds of Irish Medtech members surveyed identified disruption of transit through the UK to the rest of the EU as the top Brexit concern.

Irish Medtech Association Director Sinead Keogh said: “That’s along with half of companies saying they expect Brexit to negatively impact the cost of customs and the same number saying skills shortages in the areas of distribution, customs and logistics were a risk to their businesses.

“Another important issue is the mutual recognition of CE marks. Before going on the market, manufacturers in the EU are responsible for demonstrating that their products meet EU safety, health and environmental protection requirements. The CE mark symbolises that they meet these strict requirements and can be sold safely. Notably, with nearly half (43 per cent) of Irish Medtech Association members using UK notified bodies to gain the CE mark, mutual recognition is essential, notably for existing technologies on the market.

“All CE-marked medical technologies granted by notified bodies in the UK or granted by an EU continent-based notified bodies, should continue to be recognised. This means that existing and valid CE marking certificates issued by UK notified bodies should continue to be recognised until their expiration date. We urge companies to contact their notified bodies to assess any potential impact should they have a product on the UK market, or use a UK-based notified body.”

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St Vincent’s slump to disappointing home defeat at the hands of Kilnamanagh in bizarre circumstances

The visitors began strongly, pouncing on a loose defensive pass in the final third to flash a low shot across the face of stand-in goalkeeper Greg Murphy’s six-yard box, before an excellent block from right back Peter McAnena prevented an early opener. However, with pressure building, the home side’s dangerous front four came to life. John Cosgrove found space after a turnover in possession and threaded a neat through ball for Fionn Nally to race onto. Nally did brilliantly to beat his man and find Aidan McGrath at the far post with a low cross, but the striker contrived to miss the target from close range with the goal at his mercy. From then on, it was all Vincent’s in the first half. Dan Hales headed a Cosgrove corner over the bar, while the latter tested the Kilnamanagh goalkeeper from a tight angle with a vicious left-footed strike.

As the tide continued to flow in Vincent’s favour, the deadlock was broken. Another swift break down the left side involving Cosgrove, Nally and Eddy Wrynn resulted in Durand, breaking from central midfield, turning the ball home from close range with aplomb. It was no more than the hosts deserved, and chances continued to flow, though Kilnamanagh had a couple of sights  on goal when sloppy passing ceded possession around the Vincent’s box.

Durand got his second of the game on the stroke of half-time in similar circumstances to the first. This time, a cleared corner found its way back to Nally on the left flank. His dangerous cross presented Durand with another chance to steer home for his brace.

Vincent’s were in cruise control at the break and kept their visitors at bay early in the second-half. Skipper Andy Delany anchored the midfield excellently, protecting centre backs Hales and Dean Huggard, who looked in control in defence. However, around 10 minutes after the interval, floodlight issues halted proceedings for around 20 minutes and it was Kilnamanagh who responded best to the delay.

After some good work down the right flank, a dangerous cross deflected off Hales at the front post and crept home, with Murphy unable to keep it out. The away team had their tails up from then on and poured forward in search of an equaliser. Vincent’s shuffled the pack, with Mark Dwyer and Cian Ward introduced to provide fresh legs. Soon after, Gavin Kane and David Kennedy joined them from the bench and the latter was forced into a goal-line clearance with his first touch. McGrath had a chance to extend the hosts advantage at the other end, but couldn’t find the target from a difficult angle with the goalkeeper off his line. Ward then narrowly fired over twice in quick succession, while several promising counter attacks faltered at the final pass in a promising 10-minute spell.

Alas, the leveller was in the post, and it eventually arrived when a powerful strike from the edge of the area found the net via the gloves of Murphy and the left post. Pressure continued to build and after Huggard brought a dangerous counter attack to an abrupt ending with a tactical foul on the edge of the area, Kilnamanagh took the lead with an excellent direct free kick.

Now forced into chasing the game, Vincent’s were up against it, especially when reduced to 10 men, as Huggard received a second booking for a forceful tackle. With that one-man disadvantage, the visitors saw out the game comfortably, extending their advantage in the final minutes, as Murphy failed to hold a high cross under pressure from two forwards to end a disappointing second-half for the home team.

Matchday squad

Starting XI (substitutions): Greg Murphy, Peter McAnena (David Kennedy), Dan Hales (Gavin Kane), Dean Huggard, Darren McMahon, Andy Delany, Rory Durand (Mark Dwyer), John Cosgrove, Eddy Wrynn (Cian Ward), Aidan McGrath, and Fionn Nally.

Unused sub: Kieran Keane.

We go again!

Training continued at St Kilian’s in Clonskeagh, but moved to UCD for Halloween week due to the College being closed for midterm break. As always, new players are welcome!

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Ruthless Dundrum punish Vincent’s

After trading blows throughout the opening exchanges, the hosts took the lead just before the interval, when a low drive evaded unsighted Vincent’s goalkeeper Seán Keane. The visitors increased the pressure after half-time and had a strong penalty shout when Cian Ward was felled in the area, while Rory Durand spurned the best opportunity, heading straight at the Dundrum keeper from Peter Kelly’s cross. However, the home side soon doubled their advantage before adding a third late on after a swift break to cap a frustrating afternoon for a depleted Vincent’s team.

Matchday squad

Seán Keane, Peter McAnena, Kieran Keane, Colm Cosgrove, Marty Hayes, Andy Delany, Rory Durand, Peter Kelly, Cian Ward, Eddy Wrynn, Cionn Nally.

Adjusting to the step-up

Vincent’s have chopped and changed divisions with great regularity over recent seasons — Saturday Premier in 2015/16 (finishing 4th); Major 1C in 2016/17 (finishing 11th); Major 1D in 2017/18 (winning the title); before being promoted two divisions to Major 1B this campaign.

Over the year, the club has done battle with multiple sides on numerous occasions, as the Leinster Senior League merry-go-round continues to turn. However, the division we currently find ourselves in is without doubt a step-up in quality. Week-in, week-out, sides are well-drilled, compact without the ball, assured in possession and composed in front of goal.

Thus far, there has been little to separate sides in games: Vincent’s routed Inchicore Athletic 4-0 away from home in our second outing this season, before Inchicore went on to beat Kilnamanagh 2-0. The latter side then thrashed Dundrum 4-1 on the road, who then put us to the sword in our most recent game. On the evidence of games played to date, this league is finely poised and evenly balanced, and the team that performs most consistently may prove to have the most success.

Consistency has often eluded Vincent’s over the years. Squad rotation is often branded as a foreign and modern affliction in the professional game, despite its best exponent in the Premier League era eventually finishing with 13 league titles. Alex Ferguson was the master of changing his Manchester United line-up regularly to target specific blocks of games, most famously cultivating the brilliance of the deadly quartet of Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the 1999 treble-winning season.

Ferguson’s selections were carefully planned, often months in advance — for example, Dimitar Berbatov (Premier League Golden Boot winner) and Nani (club Player of the Year) enjoyed stellar seasons in 2010/11 as United won the title, yet neither featured in Ferguson’s first-choice team for the Champions League final defeat to Barcelona. At the very far end of the same spectrum, the constant ‘squad rotation’ employed by Vincent’s is predicated by the day jobs of the majority of our players. It makes establishing on-pitch relationships difficult, particularly when compared with some local clubs in the Leinster Senior League, whose players have played together since schoolboy teams.

To overcome these challenges, the club has committed to playing a progressive style of football, with a playing philosophy based upon passing football, working hard to regain possession and discipline. To borrow an old Brendan Rodgers-ism, it’s sometimes a case of  ‘building the plane while flying it’. But the signs are there every week in training that we are coming closer to clicking all the time. Despite having just one league win to our name so far this season, there are five other sides with a similar or lesser points tally at this early stage in the season, while only the league’s top three have outscored us to date. So plenty of cause for optimism.

Update

Vincent’s hosted Beggsboro FC at St Benildus on Friday, 5 October in their subsequent outing. The score was 1-1.

Training and sponsorship

Training continues at St Kilian’s German/Irish School in Clonskeagh every Wednesday, with new players always welcome. Training kicks-off on the Kilian’s hockey surface at 20:15, before moving onto the 4G astroturf at 21:00. Numbers have been strong in recent weeks — long may it continue deep into the winter months!

The club is on the lookout for a title sponsor to take over from Kiely’s, which recently closed its fabled Donnybrook doors. We are actively encouraging any groups or individuals interested in the opportunity to get in touch.

Follow the St Vincent’s Hospital FC Facebook page, check out our new Instagram account (@vinnies_fc) or get in contact via email: svuhfc@gmail.com.

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An Italian stallion

After more than a decade of sub-par Alfa Romeos, it would appear the Italians have finally got their ‘secret sauce’ right again. We’ve all heard motoring journalists pine for Alfas of old, and rightly so, because there was a time when owning one was something to be proud of. Having spent a week with the Giulia, I’m confident in saying the good times are back.

I was recently in Manhattan and saw a line of the full-fat, 2.9-litre V6, bi-turbo, 510hp Giulia Quadrifoglios parked outside a restaurant in Little Italy. All of them had New Jersey registration plates and according to my tour guide, who was an ex-cop, they belonged to exactly who you’d imagine they belonged to. So just to get this piece off in the right direction, the Alfa Romeo Giulia is so good, the mafia are buying them in bulk.

The model I had was the 150hp Super Sport with the 2.2-litre JTD diesel engine. I know that a diesel engine has no place in a car this poised and beautiful, but I must honestly admit that it was great, quiet and had plenty of torque. It felt like an event every time I sat behind the wheel of this car, especially when accented by my wonderfully over-the-top, red leather driving gloves, a perfect combo, if only the engine note matched the rest of the ambiance.

The diesel Super Sport gets from 0-100kph in 8.2 seconds; its average combined fuel consumption is 4.2l per 100km; and it produces 109g/km of co2, putting its road tax at a thrifty €190. The eight-speed automatic gearbox is terrific for long commutes and the reactive DSG set-up is another great feature.  

Not only is this car beautiful and glorious to drive, but it also feels well put-together. You may scoff at that notion after 20 years of poor build-quality propaganda, but it’s true — this felt like a premium product, definitely up to the exacting standards of your average Medical Independent (MI) reader.

Inside the car, behind the leather, multi-function steering wheel were the most stunning set of aluminium gearshift paddles I’ve ever seen. The attention to detail and style throughout the Giulia is so wonderful and such a breath of fresh air, especially when compared to Germans in the same price category.

The Giulia’s rapid, razor-sharp handling came as a shock at first; it can change direction like a fighter jet, which can be a little jarring when you first get behind the wheel. However, after just a few minutes you’ll get used to it and changing lane will promptly become your favourite activity. It must be mentioned that this is the first four-door Alfa Romeo in 26 years to feature a longitudinal rear-wheel drive platform, thus the amazing handling that harks back to Alfas of old.

The Giulia is not just gorgeous, it’s also safe and armed with a range of the latest crash safety tech, such as autonomous emergency breaking, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, lane departure warning and hill-hold control. This sprightly, comfortable, well-built, handsome car also comes with a five-star crash rating from the Euro NCAP team.

The Super Sport starts at €43,995 for the diesel and €45,395 for the 200hp petrol. Moving up a trim level to the Speciale sees the diesel jump in price to €46,995 and the 200hp petrol increases to €48,395.

Next up is the model I would buy with my own money and is also the second-highest trim level. The Veloce comes with a 2.0-litre petrol engine and produces 157-160g km/co2, which costs €570 a year in road tax, all while putting down a rampant 280hp. Finally comes the big-daddy Quadrifoglio, with its Ferrari-designed V6 engine and €105,135 price tag. A car not for a light wallet or a faint heart.

The Giulia I drove was amazing and if it had been the Veloce, instead of the Super Sport, it would certainly have been the best car I’ve driven this year. Drop what you’re doing and buy one of these, then send your email of thanks to MI with ‘You have changed my life’ in the subject line.

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Vincent’s bow out of cup to classy TEK United

TEK United FC 7 – 1 St Vincent’s Hospital FC

Sat 15 September 2018: Noel Ryan Cup Round 2

 

TEK United are unusually named after the battle of Tel el-Kebir, part of a 19th century British war in Egypt and are an established club with senior teams near the top of both Saturday and Sunday LSL divisions. The first half was lively and Vincent’s responded well to going a goal behind. TEK, however, jumped on a loose pass and strung a few quick passes together before finishing smartly past Gavin McDaid from close range. Kieran levelled before the break, moving into the box past a number of defenders and cutting onto his left to smash a low drive into the bottom corner.

 Despite a bright start to the second-half, the wheels came off after TEK took the lead. Thoroughly ruthless when chances arose, TEK seemed to find the corners with each attempt. Andy Delany, Barra Neary and Dean Huggard defended admirably under severe pressure. Eddy Wrynn and Fionn Nally carried a threat in the final third, but chances were few and far between.

7 – 1 the final score. A result to forget, but a game filled with learning opportunities to improve going forward.

One and two-touch football

Next time you watch a high-level game of football, whether Ireland in international action or an English Premier League game, keep an eye on how quickly the ball is moved around the pitch. Players anticipate the next move, and rarely take more than two touches. Pass, touch, turn, pass, repeat.Every touch is performed quickly with lots of teammates swirling around the action. Dribbling is refined to the final third, or when there are acres of space. Rarely will you see runs into trouble, or a player stagnating in possession. Weaknesses are exploited, while possession is not given away cheaply. Shooting is decisive, the trigger pulled once an opening presents itself.

The best see the future, understanding how their movement off the ball and play on it impacts flow around them. Xavi, the former Barcelona and Spain midfielder, famously spends more time looking away from the ball than at it, seeing movement patterns and identifying space to exploit. In a 90 minute match, the typical player will spend only four-to-six minutes in possession, highlighting the importance of awareness and enterprise off the ball.

We are committed to moving towards this style of football, though it will take time to get there. The constantly changing starting lineup complicates things, but this is the unique challenge that comes with a team of medical professionals. Competing against top teams accelerates the developmental process, but can offer a sobering reality check at times.

Key performer

It is often difficult to look for positives from a heavy defeat, but the reality is there were a number of solid performances before the late capitulation. Andy Delany had a superb afternoon in the heart of defence before coming off late with a dead leg. The club stalwart used his strength, pace and tactical acumen to break up a number of dangerous attacks and stepped into midfield to get involved in the play when afforded the opportunity. Clearly a man enjoying his football, Andy will be looked upon to lead the lads through the typical ups and downs as the season progresses.

Matchday squad

Gavin McDaid, Kieran Keane, Barra Neary, Andy Delany, Dean Huggard, Paul Carroll, Rory Durand, Ronan Murray, Fionn Nally, Fionn Lynch, Eddy Wrynn, David Kennedy, Alex McDaid, and Sean Keane.

Club News

Kiely’s of Donnybrook recently closed their doors for the last time and all of us from Vincent’s Hospital FC would like to extend our sincerest thanks to the Crimin family and the rest of the team for all the support over the years. Kiely’s have been our primary sponsor for the better part of a decade and have seen it all, from the low of relegation to the high of title success. We wish Mary and Pat the very best in their future endeavors. 

What’s next?

Looking to get back on track, Vincent’s welcome current division leaders St Kevin’s Boys to Benildus College astro. Picking up positive results at home is crucial in every league campaign and the team knows a big performance is needed to claim three points.

In addition

Training will be every Wednesday evening from 20:15 to 21:45 at St Kilians’s German School until late March and we are always looking for new faces to get involved.

The club is on the lookout for a title sponsor to take over from Kiely’s and invite any groups or individuals who may be interested in the opportunity to get in touch.

Follow the St Vincent’s Hospital F.C. facebook page, or get in contact via email svuhfc@gmail.com

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Something for the weekend

Occasionally I’m asked for my opinion on weekend cars. Or, to paraphrase Robin Williams, “God’s way of saying you’ve too much money.”

And like a typical Irishman I always answer the question with another, asking “what are you looking for”?

Usually men are looking for some sort of topless model. The best value is often the Mazda MX-5. Once the car is well looked after it should be relatively reliable. Bulletproof is the name often applied to a well-serviced MX-5 engine, once nobody has tried to tune it up. Over the years I’ve driven several models and, although the speed will never break records, its handling will always bring a smile to your face. It is one of the smoothest and most predictable handling cars you will get your hands on. And I could get a bike in the boot. I couldn’t close the boot, but the bike was in.

They have been built from 1989 onwards and are approaching the magic 30-year mark so they can qualify for vintage tax and insurance. They also have the world record for the best selling two seater sports car in history, no doubt helped by that 30-year production run.

At the time of its launch the Japanese manufacturers were accused of shamelessly copying the British cars, such as the Triumph Spitfire, MGBs and the Lotus Elan. They still haven’t apologised.

At the other end of the Japanese spectrum is the Honda S2000. More than a bit faster than the MX-5, the S2000 was Honda’s present to itself for making it to 50 years old. It is named after its engine capacity of 2000 cc, but it produces about 235 bhp with the help of the VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system. Honda says there have been no warranty claims on the VTEC engine because of its reliability. No engine runs on fresh air, but if maintained properly they will be reliable. Being a front-engine rear-wheel drive means not a lot of weight over the rear wheels when the power comes. I’ve know a driver to spin the rear wheels at 90mph in the wet in an S2000. That’s OK if you’re on a circuit and know what you’re doing, but not okay on a public road.

Of course there is a wide-selection of old English cars to choose from, such as the aforementioned models. Prices are dependant purely on the condition of the car and the tint of spectacles worn by the observer. They are not my cup of tea, but they are easy to work on and parts are usually readily available for a reasonable sum. Just become familiar with doing the work yourself, which is often part of the fun for many.

Lotus is still on the go, and have made vast changes to their manufacturing since the old days. Nobody really knows where the name Lotus came from and one of the theories was that Colin Chapman, the founder, tried to sell his first car at auction. It was returned to him labelled ‘Lot unsold’, or ‘Lot us’ for short. Older models are now rising in value. Apart from the M100, the modern front-wheel drive Lotus Elan is the company’s first and only front-wheel drive car, with a 150bhp Isuzu engine. Only available with a soft top it had a habit of opening at about 100mph. Below that speed and you’ll still have fun. And in relative terms this is the undervalued model.

Which brings me to the Germans. Mercedes have been making SLs for years and many are still going. There are many clean examples in the UK. The one advantage is that if you hit a wall, chances are the wall will come off worse. And there are things in the back which some people might actually call seats. Handling is best described as forget it. They are too big and slowly responsive to be thrown around a track. The newer models are better, but still not an MX-5. But they will travel across countries in supreme comfort. In production since 1954, their value seems to follow an inverted parabolic curve, sinking to a certain level at about year 12-15 and as they approach the magic 30-year mark they start to increase again, provided they are not fit for a scrap yard. Currently a nearby garage has a 1967 Pagoda SL for sale at €99,000, and that’s a left-hand drive.

For my next article I will deal with some more Germans. More specifically the Porsche family.

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Goalkeeping heroics inspire St Vincent’s to Cup win

Pearse Park astro in Crumlin staged the game; a wonderful venue to play quality football. Vincent’s reversed a recent trend of slow starts by getting the opening goal in the early stages. Paul Carroll clipped a delicate cross between two defenders into the path of Aidan McGrath, who controlled with his first touch and lifted a wonderful lob over the onrushing goalkeeper with his second.

Inchicore responded well to going 1-0 down. Pressing high, they took control of the possession battle and created a number of clear chances. Gavin McDaid made two incredible saves from close range to prevent the hosts from pulling level. In all, Gavin was credited with preventing over 20 efforts from hitting the back of the net, and this figure does not include the large number of crosses confidently claimed.

Vincent’s led at half-time, and went further ahead not long after the break. Fionn Lynch ghosted into the box past two defenders, squaring for Cian Ward to score from close range at the back post.

Aidan ended the game as a contest with his second goal to make it 3-0, a marvellous 25-yard curler into the top corner from the edge of the box to finish a quick counter in style. Inchicore got a late goal to pull within two, but never looked like getting any closer.

John Cosgrove was a class apart in midfield, orchestrating the direction and tempo of play. Dean Huggard, Colm Cosgrove, Kieran Keane and Dan Hales defended strongly, and Barra Neary played with his usual brand of pace and power on the wing.

So 3-1 the final score, a strong rebound following last week’s disappointing league loss.

This game underlines the importance of getting the first goal. Falling behind forces teams to press high, leaving themselves exposed to being caught on the break. Vincent’s are blessed with an abundance of pace in the attacking third, making the team extremely effective on the counter. Holding a lead lets defenders sit a little deeper, and it is easier to prevent dangerous through balls. Though the midfield gets compressed, our players are more than happy to operate in tight spaces and enjoy having more options ahead of them once the press is beaten. It is much easier to play with a lead than to chase a game, a fact that must be considered when preparing to take the field.

Key performer

Gavin McDaid gave an outrageous goalkeeping display to frustrate the hosts on a myriad of occasions. With our backs to the wall for long periods, the UCD medical student was busy throughout. It would not be an over-reaction to call two point-blank saves world-class and he routinely dealt with many more efforts peppered in his direction. Crosses were no problem either, and Gavin confidently dealt with any high ball straying too close. It is hard to remember a performance in recent Vincent’s history as good as this one, though we would hope to be less reliant on superb goalkeeping displays to win games going forward.

Matchday squad

Gavin McDaid, Colm Cosgrove, Dean Huggard, Dan Hales, Kieran Keane, Paul Carroll, Eddy Wrynn, John Cosgrove, Aidan McGrath, Fionn Lynch, Barra Neary, Cian Ward, David Kennedy, Fiachra Lynch, Mark Dwyer, Paddy O’Connor.

Club news

For the winter months, training has moved from Bushy Park to the all-new, state-of-the-art, 11-a-side astro pitch at St Kilian’s German School in Clonskeagh. This is an exciting move for the team and is a major improvement on previous years. Upgrading the quality of winter training was given priority status coming into the season following player feedback, and we feel the move will leave us better prepared to compete on match day.

What’s next?

The team will look to keep the Cup run going with an away fixture against Tek United in round two of the Noel Ryan Cup on Saturday, 15 September. The hosts compete in the top Saturday division of the LSL, meaning both a tough test and an opportunity to compete at a higher level of competition.

In addition…

Training will be every Wednesday evening from 20:30 to 22:00 at St Kilian’s German School until late March and we are always looking for new faces to get involved.

Follow the St Vincent’s Hospital FC Facebook page, or get in contact via email: svuhfc@gmail.com.

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Dusting-up on the cheapest crossover SUV in its class

acia’s best-seller is back and it’s packing some fresh exterior styling and an all-new petrol engine. I had the good fortune to be brought to Carton House in Co Kildare for the reveal of Dacia’s new Duster this week, where I took the low-cost crossover SUV on and off the road to try and figure out why they have sold almost two million units of the model internationally.

The Romanian marque, which was bought by Renault in 1999, has seen unexpectedly high sales figures in Ireland, with almost 20,000 cars sold since 2012. Even more impressive is the fact that half of those sold were Dusters. This is possibly because the Duster is the cheapest crossover SUV in its class by quite a margin, with a starting price of  €17,390. That’s for a brand new car with wheels, a roof and an engine, not to mention its bluetooth connectivity and heated driver’s seat. Dacia says it’s “shockingly affordable”, and they’re right. In fact, I saw a watch in Weir’s jewellers recently that was €110 more expensive than this brand new SUV.

However, there is an elephant in the room and I’m going to address it now; the last Duster could only manage three stars on its Euro NCAP safety test and this new version has the same crash rating. Now, the team at Renault did assure me that the NCAP has gotten stricter and that this car, with its reinforced vehicle frame, new seat frames, curtain airbags, automatic headlight activation, blind-spot warning and ultrasound sensors, is much safer than its predecessor. In fairness, any modern car is exponentially safer than driving something from the 90s or even the 00s, but knowing Renault’s history for crash test success, I did expect more stars on the NCAP.

Back to the lovely Carton House, where after lunch and a brief presentation by Product Manager Jeremy Warnock, we set off on the road test. First up was the 1.5-litre diesel, which I took on a half hour jaunt around the local area. I was pleasantly surprised by its simple but adequate interior, which, to be honest, I expected to be rather shoddy. For a car of this price, it was perfectly acceptable and quite utilitarian. The Duster has a lot of interior space, a built-in MediaNav satellite navigation and multimedia, touch-screen display and was rather quiet inside while driving down the narrow country roads. The Duster has 28.6 litres of storage space inside the cabin and 445 litres for the two-wheel-drive, or 376 litres for the 4×4 version. 

Next up, I took the all-new 1.6-litre petrol engine out for the off-road segment of the test drive. In hindsight, I should have taken the petrol on the road and the diesel off-road, but that’s not how it played out, unfortunately. Tony, my guide, warned me that the petrol version was a little low on torque compared to its diesel brother and for this reason, it wouldn’t perform as well. However, I can honestly report that I was pleasantly surprised by the gutsy little SUV, as it actually managed to do some legitimate off-roading. It’s no Land Rover Defender or Mercedes G-Wagon, but it was right at home, with its 210mm ground clearance on the rough circuit. The Duster has a 4×4 monitor on its media display that shows the vehicle’s angle, and a compass.

It also has hill descent control that will maintain your speed down some very steep inclines and hill-start assist that stops the car from rolling backwards if you stall on a hill.

Dacia’s ‘shockingly affordable’ slogan is right on the money with the Duster, which starts at €17,390 for the Essential model with the petrol engine and goes all the way to €24,490 for the Prestige Blue 4×4 diesel version.

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St Vincent’s FC back in league action

St Vincent’s Hospital FC 1-2 Seaford Rock United
Friday, 24 August 2018


St Vincent’s suffered a disappointing home defeat in the league opener, going down 2-1 to a strong Seaford Rock United side. The visitors scored twice from back-post headers in the first half. Fionn Nally opened his account for the season with a header of his own to pull Vincent’s within one, but the team could not force an equaliser, despite applying late pressure.

Vincent’s started well on a perfect night for football under the lights of the St Benildus College astro pitch. Peter Kelly and John Cosgrove controlled the midfield area and moved the ball quickly between defence and attack. Despite pressing high and creating a number of openings, Vincent’s found themselves a goal down after 20 minutes, when a corner made its way to the back post and was headed home. The team conceded a second goal that was a near carbon copy of the first a few minutes later. Defending set-pieces has been one of the team’s strong points over the last number of months, and it was very disappointing to allow two goals from corners over such a short period of time.

The second half saw an improved display, and Vincent’s were soon back in the game when Fionn Nally nodded in at the back post from a deep corner. Despite pressing for a goal to pull level, the breakthrough never came. Aidan McGrath and Alex McDaid came close, but the team missed a clinical edge when chances presented themselves.

Both teams had chances, but Seaford Rock took theirs, while Vincent’s did not. A higher level of competition leaves a reduced margin for error and the team will need to be more ruthless going forward in order to turn losses into wins.

Key performer

Alex McDaid put in a strong performance on the right wing and was a constant threat. The UCD medical student has a fantastic combination of pace and power and his level of skill and vision have improved considerably since coming into the squad. Alex created a number of chances and was unlucky not to find the back of the net himself.

Matchday squad

Gavin McDaid, Colm Cosgrove, Darren McMahon, Dan Hales, Andy Delany, Peter Kelly, Rory Durand, John Cosgrove, Alex McDaid, Fionn Nally, Aidan McGrath, Cian Ward, Peter McAnena, Dean Huggard, and Nathan Wall.

Inchicore Athletic FC 0 – 4 St Vincent’s Hospital FC
Thursday, 30 August 2018


Vincent’s got back to winning ways in emphatic fashion with a dominant 4-0 away win against Inchicore Athletic FC. Aidan McGrath opened and closed the scoring. Fionn Lynch opened his account for the club with a debut goal, and Darren McMahon hit the back of the net with a long-range effort. Putting the first points of the season on the board is always a relief and this performance left the team in no doubt that they belong in the division.

Inchicore enjoyed the stronger opening 20 minutes and really should have been ahead. Ronan McDermott made a point-blank save when the opposing winger weaved through the Vincent’s defence, and Inchicore then missed a penalty. The game turned soon after the penalty miss, when Fionn Nally broke the offside trap to get on the end of a wonderful chipped through-ball from John Cosgrove. Fionn drew the keeper off his line and squared for Aidan McGrath to finish into an open net. Almost from the restart the lead was doubled, when a high press put Fionn Lynch through on goal and the St Vincent’s Hospital intern smashed a low effort past the keeper for a debut goal.

The second half continued in much the same way as the first. Vincent’s were too quick and skilful in possession to come under much pressure and created a host of chances as the opposition began to get ragged. Darren McMahon put the ball into the back of the net from a long-range effort that some would describe as a cross gone wrong. Aidan McGrath put the icing on the cake when he won possession high up the pitch and finished superbly from the edge of the area to make it 4-0.

The midfield trio of Peter Kelly, Rory Durand and John Cosgrove gave the team a strong platform for both attack and defence and the clean sheet was secured by strong work from Gav Kane, Andy Delany, Kieran Keane and Darren McMahon. Overall, an excellent team performance that will give the lads a lot of belief going forward.

Key performer

Aidan McGrath picked up where he left off, scoring twice and creating a hatful of openings throughout the game. The GP used his lightning pace and close control to give the opposition defence headaches and took his chances when they came. Aidan scored a goal a game last season and he will be looked upon to try to replicate those results over the course of this campaign.

Matchday squad

Ronan McDermott, Gavin Kane, Darren McMahon, Andy Delany, Kieran Keane, Peter Kelly, John Cosgrove, Rory Durand, Aidan McGrath, Fionn Lynch, Cian Ward, Barra Neary, Eddy Wrynn, Colm Cosgrove, Sean Keane.

CIE Ranch FC 4-3 St Vincent’s Hospital FC
Saturday, 1 September 2018


A combination of weddings, christenings, holidays and Electric Picnic saw an experimental squad travel to play CIE Ranch on a pitch notorious for being in poor condition. A recent spell of good weather resulted in a rock-hard playing surface, making good passages of play hard to come by.

Vincent’s started slowly and were two goals down inside the opening 15 minutes. The first came from a ball into the feet of the opposing No 9 at the edge of the box, who turned sharply to create a yard of space, allowing him curl a beautiful effort into the top corner. The second was a more disappointing goal to concede, when a high ball dropped inside the box. Their No 9 was quickest to react and doubled his tally with a smart finish to the bottom corner. On the stroke of half-time, Vincent’s got a goal back through a 35-yard rocket from Rory Durand that left the goalkeeper rooted to the spot.

Despite the optimism of getting a goal back, the second half started much the same way as the first. Vincent’s fell further behind from a penalty, and then went 4-1 down when a clever through-ball led to a smart finish from the left.

Times like this give an insight into the character of a team and Vincent’s responded as one would expect of current league champions. Fionn Lynch continued his impressive start the season, taking the ball to feet at the edge of the box and wriggling free past a number of defenders to finish calmly from short range. The lead was further cut to 4-3 when a break from a corner allowed Eddy Wrynn put Fionn Lynch through on goal and he made no mistake after rounding the keeper. The comeback very much on, Vincent’s pressed for an equaliser for the last 15 minutes but could not make the breakthrough Kieran Keane came close with a header, and Kevin Nally shot wide from the edge of the box.

So, 4-3 the final score. A disappointing result but the team can be proud of the response to going a few goals behind. Kevin Nally and Fiachra Lynch made excellent debut performances and we look forward to seeing the students establish themselves in the team as the season goes on.

Key performer

Rory Durand was fantastic in his usual centre-midfield role. The cardiology registrar demanded the ball throughout and was instrumental in driving the comeback effort. His wonderful strike is an early goal of the season contender and he has been in a good vein of goal-scoring form since the closing stages of last season.

Matchday squad

Sean Keane, Peter McAnena, Dean Huggard, Kieran Keane, Colm Cosgrove, Ronan Murray, Rory Durand, Eddy Wrynn, Fionn Lynch, Fionn Nally, Barra Neary, Kevin Nally, Fiachra Lynch.

What’s next?

The team takes on Inchicore Athletic FC in the Noel Ryan cup on Saturday, 8 September, a repeat of the earlier league fixture that Vincent’s won 4-0. The rematch promises to be a much tighter encounter and we are hoping a win will see the start of a strong Cup run.

Get involved

Follow the St Vincent’s Hospital FC Facebook page, or get in contact via email svuhfc@gmail.com.

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€42 million centre needed to safeguard growth of medtech sector

According to the group, there is significantly less state-funding beyond the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3 where analytical and experimental critical function and/or proof of concept has been established. More is needed at TRL 5-7 level where integrated technological components can undergo testing, notably in a simulated environment and operational environment, in centres like Tyndall (ICT), NIBRT (biopharma), and Teagasc (agri-food), but capable of being at the cutting edge in medtech.

Irish Medtech Association Chairman and Stryker Neuro, Spine, ENT and Navigation Vice President R&D Mr David Tallon, said: “This R&D gap is a threat to sustainable growth of Ireland’s global medtech hub. Investing in an advanced manufacturing centre of scale is essential to level the playing field with competitor economies. Neighbours with strong manufacturing industries have successful track records with major centres driving business-to-business collaboration to help companies move from the prototyping and manufacturing to commercialisation in operational environment.

“Growing our R&D and commercial capabilities will take the Irish manufacturing industry to the next level, moving beyond manufacturing excellence. The latest Irish Medtech Association survey on commercial capabilities revealed that a third of FDI multinationals planned to either introduce or expand their commercial activity in Ireland, with 66 per cent to do the same with marketing. By driving innovation in near-to-market products with the right facilities, we can safeguard Irish manufacturing and put medtech businesses in a position to expand product portfolios to deliver better health outcomes for patients.”

Irish Medtech Association Director Ms Sinead Keogh said: “In the face of global economic uncertainty, investing strategically in an advanced manufacturing centre of scale should be a government priority in the upcoming Budget. The Irish Medtech Association are amplifying calls by the IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland for a centre with a physical presence, with the latest technology to make sure Irish discrete manufacturing is at the cutting edge, with a talent pipeline that doesn’t get cut-off from the latest equipment and essential skills development.

“Manufacturing is the second greatest employer in Ireland with 230,000 people working across 4,000 businesses, which accounts for nearly a quarter of economic output. But our nearest competitor, the UK, has already seen the value of investing in advanced manufacturing with an annual budget of £100 million for the Catapult centres already reaping results. For every £1 of government funding, the UK economy is seeing a net benefit of £15 with growth in the industry and jobs added.

“With Brexit jeopardising Britain’s economic stability, manufacturing has become a strategic priority. We already lag behind the US, which invested nearly €100 million in 2016 and behind Germany with the Fraunhofeer Institutes having a total annual research budget of €2.3 billion last year. While the newly announced Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund of €500 million from Government, is expected to foster partnerships between enterprise and research partners, it is no substitute for a physical centre where businesses can collaborate in a cutting-edge demonstrator environment. Now is the time for the Irish Government to bridge the innovation gap by investing €42 million in an advanced manufacturing centre or risk Ireland’s reputation as a location of choice for global manufacturing.”

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