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Alan aims to land knock-out blow in homecoming bout

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Date Published: {J}

If you met Craughwell’s Alan Donnellan and were asked to guess his chosen sport, boxing would, in all likelihood, not be high on the list. Yes, he is built like the Terminator, but his soft-spoken style, good natured personality and beaming smile are almost a contradiction to the perceptions of his sporting occupation.

Don’t be fooled, though. It’s always the quiet ones. For in essence, Donnellan is fast becoming boxing’s silent assassin.

With three wins from his opening three professional fights, the 23-years-old light middleweight now seeks to continue his unbeaten run when he faces English opponent, Ricky Boulter in front of a home crowd in Leisureland, Salthill on Saturday, June 18.

This will be Donnellan’s fourth professional fight, having won his previous three outings – against English duo Ryan Clarke and Lester Walsh and Bulgarian hardman Zahari Mutafchiev – on points. Another victory would certainly enhance his reputation on the national and international circuit.

The night – entitled ‘The Fighting West’ – brings together some of the very best boxers from the West of Ireland and Midlands, with Mullingar’s JJ ‘Stick’ McDonagh facing Tommy ‘The Tiger’ Tolan in the headline super middleweight event in Salthill.

This will be the first time that an Irish super middleweight title eliminator fight will take place in Galway and with other boxers such as Connemara’s Colm Keane and Galway-based Mayo man Michael ‘The Storm’ Sweeney also in action, it promises to be a cracking night’s entertainment.

For Donnellan, however, his sole focus is on his bout against Southpaw Boulter, a Lincolnshire opponent who comes into this event with nothing to lose. The Englishman has fought 15 times to date, winning just once, drawing three, and losing no less than 10 bouts on a points’ decision. In order words, this guy can take some punishment and still go the distance.

Donnellan will be favoured to secure another professional victory, but he must be wary of an opponent who can throw caution to the wind for this one. The Craughwell boxer cannot be complacent. He agreed that Boulter could be “a very difficult opponent”.

“Ricky is about as tricky and as awkward as you could get. Essentially, he is a fighter. If he is in with top level fighters, he will give them a terribly awkward time of it. He is more than just a stepping stone,” said the Craughwell man.

“What I have to do, though, is focus on being the best Alan Donnellan I can be against a Southpaw and not worry about his record, his origins, his training partners or anything like that. I am just concentrating on being the best possible boxer I can be, and I am hugely looking forward to this fight.”

Another reason for his heightened sense of anticipation is that this will be his first fight in his home county in three years. No wonder, then, that a large contingent from Craughwell and its surrounds is expected to be in the City to support their local hero.

“The support from Galway is unbelievable,” beamed Donnellan. “I can’t even put it into words. It has been fantastic. You can talk about GAA rivalries, but I have had Craughwell, Turloughmore, Athenry, Clarinbridge, Kilcolgan and Galway City people all support me at previous fights. It is absolutely incredible.”

Indeed, like so many, the orthodox boxer beg

an his sporting career as an aspiring hurler. “When I was younger, my cousins William and Charlie (Donnellan) were big into the hurling, so I played a bit of hurling myself. While I enjoyed that, I never really excelled. I never came into my own in that sport.

“I also played rugby and I enjoyed that – I played rather well – but, again, I never came into my own. Every time, though, I went into a boxing gym, I felt like I was something special. I felt like I was something a bit different. I always had very quick reflexes, and, thank God, I was always durable. I have never, ever been put down, never been hurt.”

Donnellan’s love of boxing was nurtured in the early years by Loughrea Boxing Club, before he joined Olympic BC in Galway. When he went to college, he founded his own boxing club at LIT – where he qualified as a quantity surveyor – before joining St. Francis BC in Limerick.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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

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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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