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Agony for Connacht’s Matthews as bad injury cuts short career

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

Wexford 3-10

Galway 0-10

Eoghan Cormican

At Semple Stadium

THERE is a gap beginning to develop in the camogie pecking order. Wexford, very much the queens of the small ball game are out front, comfortably ahead of the chasing pack, headed by Galway. On Sunday, at Semple Stadium that gap grew yet again.

This should have been a day when Galway sent out a clear message of intent as to their All-Ireland aspirations, but once more they were outmuscled and outclassed by a Wexford side slowly tightening their stranglehold on the game.

Again championship looms and serious question marks hang over the desire and resolve of this Galway outfit. It’s certainly no time to be writing obituaries, but it seems at this point in time that Galway do not possess the capability to make a serious bid for All-Ireland glory.

When it came to the crunch on Sunday the Galway forwards simply didn’t deliver the goods. Tied at 1-6 to 0-9 entering the final quarter, Aislinn Connolly missed a free to put Galway ahead, while Niamh McGrath, Noreen Coen and Tara Rutledge all squandered chances subsequently.

There were to be no such mishaps at the other end as Wexford registered 2-4 in the final 12 minutes of action to comprehensively annex a third consecutive league title.

All in all, JJ Doyle’s charges were physically more powerful than Galway in the key head to battles and displaying a ruthless streak in front of goal, there’s little to suggest they will be stopped in their quest for back to back All-Ireland success.

By comparison with Wexford, Galway’s central spine just isn’t strong enough. The Galway panel is without players of the calibre of Catherine O’Loughlin, Mary and Una Lacey, and until such quality within the county is unearthed, the wait for the O’Duffy Cup will continue.

In both league and championship, this was Galway’s fourth final appearance since 2008. They failed to emerge victorious in all four encounters and therein lies the problem. For this group of players it has been defeat after defeat on the big day. The seed of doubt planted in 2008 where Galway lost both the league and championship deciders, grows bigger with experiences like Sunday.

The conclusion of Galway’s league campaign was a carbon copy of its start and although the Tribeswomen showed promise in their semi-final win over Kilkenny, a lot of boxes remain to be ticked before the championship opener against Wexford on June 12th.

In truth, defensive frailties cost Galway dearly. The second and third goal in particular were avoidable and if Galway are to be in hunt for honours later this summer then the management must embark on corrective surgery, especially in the full back line, where Galway were torn asunder by the pace and skill of Wexford’s full forward line.

Further forward, Galway’s attacking inertia is encapsulated by the fact that the Kilkenny sisters, playing at half back and midfield, scored more from play than the six starting forwards combined.

In any event, there were just four minutes on the clock when Una Lacey blasted the sliotar to the roof of the net following excellent play by Lenny Holohan to draw in Sarah Dervan before releasing possession inside.

Brenda Hanney opened the scoring for Galway, but Wexford threatened to put this to bed early on with further points from Una Lacey, Michelle O’Leary and Ursula Jacob to stretch their advantage to six.

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

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

images/files/images/x3_Courthouse.jpg

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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