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2008 U-21 hurling final decided at last

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 17-Dec-2009

THIS may have been one of the longest championship campaigns in the 125 year history of the GAA, but that won’t concern Sarsfields as they clinched the 2008 championship with this hard earned victory over a gallant Clarinbridge side on Sunday last.

A championship, that started nearly 21 months ago, looked as if extra time was going to be needed to separate these fully committed sides, but two gilt edged chances for the ‘Bridge went abegging in the closing stages and so did Clarinbridge’s chance of victory as Niall Morrissey’s accuracy from placed balls proved decisive for Sarsfields.

Like the drawn game, this replay was dominated by two stubborn defences which meant scoring opportunities were at a premium. Every single ball was fought for with gusto, every puck out contested.

Played in ideal conditions, Clarinbridge were first out of the traps when the impressive Barry Daly pointed in the third minute. John Cannon and Niall Morrissey, free, swapped points before Niall Quinn levelled matters when he pointed after a neat hand pass from Joseph Cooney, wearing the number fourteen jersey but deployed at midfield from the start.

Sarsfields then took the initiative with three unanswered points to lead five points to two by the 20th minute. Niall Morrissey pointed a free for the New Inn/Bullaun outfit midway through the half and three minutes later Niall Quinn and Ian Skehill combined for Skehill to score. Quinn and Skehill were now causing trouble for the Clarinbridge defence and they combined again, this time creating the space for Joseph Cooney to dissect the posts.

There was only three minutes to go to half time before Clarinbridge responded and again it was Barry Daly who provided the inspiration. When Niall Quinn attempted to clear the lines for Sarsfields, Daly blocked, and picked up the loose ball and sent it over.

A minute later it was Daly again, this time adding an excellent solo effort to cut the deficit to a point with two minutes to go to the break. The Bridge tried hard to find an equaliser but couldn’t find the range as Ian Skehill scored his second point, for Sarsfields to lead by two at half time, six points to four.

Unfortunately, the second half didn’t continue on in the same vein as the first, as it became a dogged, sluggish affair dominated with frees and only one point from play between the two sides.

Eoin Forde and Niall Morrissey swapped pointed frees in the opening minutes but by the midway point of the half Clarinbridge had drawn level. Forde pointed a free on 42 minutes before Thomas Ganley pointed from play to bring the Bridge right back into contention. But this transpired to be their last score of the game.

With 11 minutes remaining, Niall Morrissey sent over a ’65 to edge Sarsfields back in front. The game was now there for the taking and it looked as if extra time was going to be needed to separate these sides.

Clarinbridge tried with all their might to draw level but found the Sarsfields defence hard to break down as Darren Skehill and Diarmuid Murray in the central defensive positions, marshalled an excellent rearguard.

The loser did have chances though and will rue a couple of misses opportunities in the closing stages that would have turned this game on its head, but it wasn’t to be.

With a minute to go, Niall Morrissey, calmness personified, sent over a free from midfield after Joseph Cooney was fouled as Sarsfields held out for victory.

For Clarinbridge, Conor Forde, Adrian Geraghty, Paul Callanan, John Cannon did well along with the impressive Barry


For the victors, the defensive unit was to the fore, especially Darren Skehill, Brian McLoughlin, Diarmuid Murray and Ivan Kenny. Ian Skehill and Joseph Cooney foraged well in the middle of the park while Niall Quinn did the damage up front, together with the accurate free taking of Niall Morrissey.

What was disappointing at the end of the game was some Clarinbridge supporters airing their grievances with referee Sean Moran as he left the field, but help was on hand quickly to defuse the situation.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy



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



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



Date Published: 30-Jan-2013


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