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All Too Easy for Tribesmen

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 08-Jul-2008

A STRANGE one, this, in that a 20-point margin of victory still left a host of question marks hovering over the quality of the Galway performance as the hurlers easily accounted for Laois in an All- Ireland qualifier for the fourth consecutive year at Pearse Stadium on Saturday.

It was a flat and unsatisfactory performance from the Tribesmen, underlined by the dearth of goal chances they created against vastly inferior – but spirited – opponents in what was another meaningless exercise following the 26-point demolition of Antrim the previous weekend.

After this, there is no back door or safety net for the men in maroon, and it must surely worry the team management that they will now face Cork or Limerick (barring a shock) in a knockout tie without a serious championship test under their belts.

It is hardly going to boost the confidence of the Galway supporters, either, that so many questions still hover over the key full-back, centre-forward, and midfield positions, just as they have throughout Ger
Loughnane’s reign. There is still too much uncertainty, too much progress to be made, for Galway to be considered genuine All-Ireland contenders at this stage.

On Saturday, Fergal Moore was handed the troublesome No. 3 shirt, and nobody was any the wiser about his suitability for the position when the Turloughmore defender was forced to retire with a hamstring strain just before the break. It was notable that Tony Og Regan, who held down the position throughout the League, was not even named among the substitutes in Salthill.

Further up the field, Adrian Cullinane and Andrew Smith were both named in the midfield positions, as Fergal Healy had not made a full recovery from injury. Cullinane, who went on to operate at wing forward, scored 1-2 and Smith was reasonably impressive alongside the excellent Alan Kerins in the middle of the park, but the poverty of the Laois challenge around this sector had to be taken into account.

Of even greater concern, given the battles ahead, was the performance of Cyril Donnellan at centre forward. The Padraig Pearses man was ‘parachuted’ into the panel just a matter of weeks ago, but
Loughnane and company showed a ruthlessness in hauling him ashore after he had failed to make an impact, just 27 minutes into the game.

His replacement, Niall Healy, also had to withdraw to the stand after he was the victim of an awkward pull across the hand by Laois’ Colin Delaney at a stage when the game had long since drifted away from the O’Moore County.

Still, there were positives here, too. Ollie Canning, Shane Kavanagh, and David Forde – surprisingly deployed at wing back – turned in masterful performances in the Galway defence, with Canning turning back the clock with a series of inspirational long clearances.

Kerins, who always seems to come good for the championship, and Iarla Tannian (despite a quiet tart) were both in sparkling form, while Damien Hayes, Joe Canning, and Ger Farragher did the damage on the scoreboard while giving the firm impression that they still held a bit in reserve.

Canning’s performance summed up what a strange game this was. He seemed to have a quiet 70 minutes and his direct opponent, John A. Delaney, put in a towering performance. Delaney made a host of excellent clearances and yet the Portumna teenager found the target nine times, including five points from play. The kind of return any attacker should be satisfied with.

Heavy rain earlier in the day had rendered the Salthill surface quite slippy, but thankfully it stayed dry for the duration of the game as only 2,588 supporters turned up to check up on Galway before the ‘real’ championship begins in a fortnight.

The game seemed to…

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

Ruby ready to rock again and Bob is worth a big flutter in Gold Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 06-Mar-2013

New edge to Galway hurling championship title pursuit

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Archive News

A battle of talent and the ability to pull in public votes

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 11-Mar-2013

Here is a question. And there is no holiday or grand prize for getting the answer. But can anyone name the people who have won The Voice of Ireland and what has become of them?

Over across the water in the UK they have The X Factor and while I hate the concept of it, it has produced a few stars even though they don’t last long in the whole scheme of things.

But The Voice of Ireland seems to generate false excitement with the winner ending up become more anonymous than they already were. And it is costing families a fortune in the process.

While the programme is a ratings winner, strangely, it has resulted in those getting through to the final stages investing huge amounts of money in the hope that they will receive enough votes to get through to the next stages.

So, suddenly, it is not about the voice or the talent involved, it is all about votes and who the participants can convince to pledge their support for them. So it is obvious that talent goes out the window.

It means that someone with half a talent could realistically win the whole thing if they generated enough support behind them. From now on, the judges will be taken out of the equation and it will be left to the public to generate income for some phone operator.

Those who get through to the live performances have to engage in a massive publicity campaign in an effort to win votes which makes this whole effort a pure sham. It is no longer about their ability and just an effort to win appeal.

While the initial process does involve some vetting of the acts, now it becomes a general election type exercise in which the most popular will win the competition and the judges will have no say whatsoever.

It is a bit like the recent Eurosong in which the judging panel across the country voted for their favourite song, which incidentally was the best of a very bad lot, but then this was overturned by the public who chose a relatively crap song to represent us.

But again, this was all down to convincing the public about who to vote for rather than having any bearing on the quality on offer. There are times that genuine talent becomes overlooked because of the need to extract money from the voting public.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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