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Ali’s fight doctor to speak in Galway



Date Published: 12-Feb-2008

THE man who spent 17 years as the fight doctor to the greatest boxer the world has ever seen will recall his experiences for a Galway audience when he speaks in the city next week.

When Ferdie Pacheco met the young Cassius Clay in his office in Miami in the early 1960s, the man who would go on to become the world’s greatest boxing legend was “just another fighter with a cold”.

That day, the physician could never have envisaged what was to lie ahead of him in the next 17 years in his role as Mohammed Ali’s fight doctor and cornerman— the massive highs of success and the tragic lows of Ali’s disintegrating health.

Today, the powerful, former heavyweight world champion still suffers from mild brain damage and Parkinson’s disease. Most of this damage could have been avoided, according to Pacheco, if The Champ had quit boxing after his bout against Joe Frazier on October 1, 1975, in Manila, regarded as the best fight in heavyweight history.

“I knew that the “Thrilla in Manila”was the last stop on the road to boxing damage. After…..

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



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

Hypnosis helping sportspeople to reach full potential



Date Published: 25-Apr-2013

 MENTION hypnosis to some and they think of the pendulum or pocket watch on the end of a chain, swinging rhythmically, lulling the subject into a blissful state of unconsciousness. It’s a cliché that has, largely, been created by the movies.

However, the reality is that this ancient form of therapy has moved on significantly since then and it has now been embraced by sportspeople and teams around the globe to strengthen their focus and belief in an effort to improve performances.

Yes, the pendulum is still used in some parts of the world but Galway’s John Connolly of ‘Hypno Sport’ says hypnosis is so much more than that, stressing this form of psychoanalysis is more about delving into the deep of the sub conscious, identifying the negative imprints that have us behave in such a manner, and employing a remedy to break the cycle of bad habits.

This is something Connolly himself is familiar with, having first been introduced to the concept of hypnotherapy many years ago in London when he embraced the technique to kill his smoking habit. It worked and, since then, he has been fascinated by the power of the mind.

That said, it was not until the lorry driver lost sight in his left eye – due to a blockage that built up behind the eye socket – that he actively pursued this avenue as a career choice and for the last eight years, he has worked as a professional hypnotist.

His work to date has included helping clients to deal with such issues as smoking, weight loss, anxiety, fears, phobias and depression while, over the last year, he has also branched into the whole area of sports performance.

One of the reasons for this has been that, in recent times, many of the individuals who were coming to him were engaged in sporting activities but were finding it difficult to fulfil their potential – in not only sport but other areas of their life due to issues.

These individuals ranged from a high profile cyclist to your run-of-the-mill GAA player. “These athletes had the potential at club level – they had everything else physically – but something was holding them back. Through the work we done though, we achieved some fantastic results in a relatively quick space of time,” says Connolly.

In many ways, the hypnotist, through his own personal experiences, can identify with those who attend his clinics in Oranmore, Athlone and Ennis. For aside from using hypnosis to kick his smoking habit, he has also applied the techniques to achieve his own sporting goals.

“I have run a few marathons and done some endurance stuff, so I have seen how much mind over matter can work. It can be very powerful, especially when you see sportspeople who have so much belief in themselves and how stronger they are as opposed to someone who is completely caught up by fear on the day.”

In addition to running, the Castlegar native is also heavily involved in the GAA in his community, although he is no relation to the Connolly hurling dynasty locally. He, himself, played for Cashel until injury cut short his career in his late teens but in later years he has worked with many of the club’s underage teams. Indeed, he is currently the Castlegar minor manager.

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

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Archive News

Castlegar come alive to sweep Sarsfields aside at Kenny Park



Date Published: 01-May-2013

Castlegar 4-18

Sarsfields 2-14

Alan Dooley in Athenry

A truly spectacular second half performance from Castlegar saw them turn a seven-point half time deficit into a resounding ten-point margin of victory over a shellshocked Sarsfields side whose challenge capitulated in the closing stages of Sunday’s Galway senior hurling championship first round tie at Kenny Park, Athenry.

This was the sort of rip-roaring tie the County Board had envisaged when introducing the group qualifier stages last year, one packed with skill, intensity, and honesty of effort from both sides. To score 3-13 in one game would be a fine accomplishment for most teams; Castlegar managed that particular feat in the second half alone.

The eventual winners had found themselves in an uncomfortable position, though, when Sarsfields’ Noel Kelly struck for a goal with the last puck of an even first half in which the free-taking prowess of Kerrill Wade kept Sarsfields to the fore. Ger Farragher’s crisp ball-striking into a stiff wind kept Castlegar in touch, but Kelly’s goal seemed to have left them with a tough assignment.

Earlier, Enda Concannon had struck a goal in the fourth minute for Castlegar’s first score, but by the quarter hour mark when Eamon Cleary lofted over the bar from long range, Sarsfields had edged into a 0-7 to 1-1 lead. Wade and Joseph Cooney, who had two points to his name by that stage, were leading the line well, while Padraig O’Flynn led the Castlegar resistance from left corner back.

When Sarsfields’ Kieran Kelly blocked a 16th minute Farragher penalty, the omens looked poor for the city men, but Farragher swiftly got back in the groove with a wonderful curling sideline cut from under the stand. It was then tit-for-tat until the closing three minutes of the half as Dean Higgins and Jason O’Gorman grabbed points from play for Cashel while Wade tapped over the frees and Cooney grabbed another from the ’40 for the favourites.

From well inside his own half, Wade converted a free on the cusp of the break before his next effort from even further out dropped just short and Noel Kelly was lurking to pounce on the edge of the square.

Undaunted, Castlegar tore into their challenge with gusto in the opening minute of the second half and were amazingly back within three by the time that 60 seconds had elapsed.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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