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14-man Pearses die with their boots on

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

Ballymartle 1-10

Padraig Pearses 0-10

STEPHEN GLENNON

IN TEMPLETUOHY

IF America is the home of the brave, then the parcel of land incorporating Ballymacward and Gurteen must be its Irish microcosm. For Padraig Pearses gave it their all in this intriguing All-Ireland intermediate hurling semi-final in idyllic Templetuohy on Sunday. And the Galway champions lost little in defeat.

Too often, the term ‘a brave effort’ can be bandied about, but in Pearses’ case it was justly deserved. Up against more stylish opposition, John Jenkins’ charges – reduced to 14 men after just 12 minutes – raged against all the odds, and looked like they might snatch a win, or at least force extra-time, in this absorbing clash against Munster champions Ballymartle.

In a clash of this stature, there was bound to be talking points . . . and in this penultimate game of the competition, there were many. The first couple came within 60 or seconds of each other, namely the pivotal Ballymartle goal on 11 minutes and the dismissal of Pearses wing-back Tommy McDonagh moments later.

Although starting brightly enough, with Thomas Flannery shooting the contest’s opening point from a free, the Galway men were dealt a huge blow when Ballymartle corner forward Jamie Dwyer, following a neat pass from brother Barry, found the net on 11 minutes. That score put the Cork title holders into a comfortable 1-4 to 0-1 lead.

Calm heads were now needed from the Tribesmen. However, a rush of blood to McDonagh’s crown moments later – when he pulled low on Ballymartle wing forward Darren McCarthy under the high ball – resulted in the Pearses No. 7 receiving his marching orders.

When Rory Dwyer converted the ensuing free to nudge the victors further in front, it seemed the Ballymacward/Gurteen outfit were going to be in for a torrid afternoon.

However, in the second quarter, Pearses began to steady themselves. Freetaker Flannery – who hit all of Pearses’ points on the day – traded scores with Ballymartle midfielder Seamus Corry and Darren McCarthy before the Pearses corner forward struck two points late in the half to leave them trailing 0-5 to 1-7 at the break.

Interestingly, Flannery’s point on 31 minutes was not only the Galway side’s first score from play, but it was also to be their only score from open play on the day. That, in itself, was a shocking indictment.

In contrast, Ballymartle were able to conjure up their scores more freely in this period, and in the second half they began in similar fashion when, just 14 seconds in, Rory Dwyer scored a cracker from play.

Barry Dwyer (free) and McCarthy added further efforts in the third quarter to extend their team’s lead to 1-10 to 0-5 and it looked as if they would, at any moment, pry open the floodgates on the Westerners.

Yet, it never happened. With every passing moment, Pearses stomach’ for the battle just got stronger and stronger and their dogged determination, hard tackling and, most of all, insatiable spirit began to grind Ballymartle down.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.

 

For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

BallinasloeÕs young squad aiming to floor Armagh junior champs

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

A new chapter in the history of Ballinasloe football will be written at Breffni Park, Cavan, on Sunday when Sean Riddell’s young side take on Ulster champions An Port Mor of Armagh in the All-Ireland Junior semi-final (2pm).

It’s the first competitive game outside the province of Connacht in 33 years for Galway football’s ‘sleeping giant’ with the enticing prospect of an appearance at Croke Park on February 9 on offer for the winners of what should be a competitive tie.

Ballinasloe have romped through Connacht since overcoming a couple of tricky hurdles on their way to collecting the Galway junior title, which was their target for the campaign this time last year.

With a return to Intermediate football secured, Riddell’s youngsters really have nothing to lose – while their triumphant march to county and provincial titles has revived memories of the club’s glory days when they contested three Galway senior finals in a row between 1979 and ’81.

Intriguingly, the seniors of St Grellan’s never got to play in Croke Park when they reached the All-Ireland final back in 1980 – they lost by 3-9 to 0-8 to St Finbarr’s of Cork in Tipperary Town.

This team’s progression has provided rich rewards for an abundance of hard work at underage levels in the past ten to 15 years and the current side’s ‘do or die’ attitude was very much in evidence in the cliffhanger wins over Tuam and Clifden in the domestic championship.

 

They are a well-balanced side who really never know when they are beaten and have an inspirational leader in county panelist Keith Kelly, whose exploits at centre back have been among the key components in their dramatic run to reach the All-Ireland series.

Riddell, who recalls playing senior football with the club during their heyday, is determined to get Ballinasloe back among the county’s leading clubs but, for the moment, he is delighted just to have a shot at getting to Croke Park in a bid to emulate Clonbur’s achievement in winning the title outright last year.

Riddell went to Newry on a ‘spying mission’ to see the Armagh champions overcome Brackaville of Tyrone by 2-9 to 0-11 in November – and was impressed by the quality of the football produced by An Port Mor in the Ulster final.

“They are a nicely balanced side who play good football,” he said. “There was a bit of the physical stuff you’d expect from two Ulster side, but I was impressed by their performance.”

An Port Mor became the first Armagh side to win the provincial junior decider. First half goals from Shane Nugent and Christopher Lennon sent them on the road to victory, before a red card for Brackaville captain Cahir McGuinness eased their progress to the All-Ireland series.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Coalition promised an ocean of reform Ð but the wind has gone out of its sails

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 30-Jan-2013

CITY ENERGY COMPANY TO CREATE 12 NEW JOBS

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