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Athenry and Ballinasloe chase Connacht Cup glory



Date Published: {J}

Mike Rafferty

AT least one record is going to be broken following Sunday’s Connacht Junior Cup (3.30pm) decider in Lecarrow as both Athenry and Ballinasloe Town are unbeaten in four final appearances between them down the years. The defending champions have won the title on three occasions, while Ballinasloe were winners in their only decider in 2004.

Indeed Athenry are appearing in their fourth final in five seasons, while Ballinasloe were the first team from the Roscommon League to win the Connacht Cup when goals from Jason Twohig and Vinny Doherty saw off Manulla by 2-1 in a historic victory in Milebush.

Both clubs have a successful record in their respective leagues in recent years with Town just denied a five-in-a-row by Shiven Rovers last season, while West United’s success in Galway two seasons ago denied Athenry a hat trick of titles.

Athenry completed a Premier League and Connacht Cup double last season, while Ballinasloe annexed the Challenge Cup and the Divisional Cup. Both are also in contention for domestic League and Cup honours again this season.

Both sides have played through five rounds of the cup to date with Ballinasloe scoring an average of almost four goals per game with Liam Lynch (6) and Peter Keighery (4) sharing half the goals between them. Indeed, former Longford Town striker Lynch has been pretty prolific throughout as he has scored in the last four rounds.

Easy wins in the early rounds over Clew Bay (8-1), Quayside Celtic (3-0) and Iorras Aonthaithe (2-0) were followed up by two very different and difficult games. In the last eight, top Sligo side Carbury were despatched by 3-2 following extra time as Mark Duffy (2) and Lynch were on the mark.

Ballinasloe followed this up with an equally impressive 3-2 semi final win over Hibernians. While the home side took an early lead courtesy of a Peter Keighery penalty, they found themselves in arrears at the break as Liam Hrehorow and Keith Ward had the City side in the driving seat.

However, Ballinasloe responded well on the resumption as a Robbie Brookes volley levelled matters and Lynch headed home a Glen Cambell delivery for a late and merited winner.

Ballymote Celtic (4-0), Mervue United (1-0) and Salthill D

evon (5-1) were dismissed in the opening three rounds by Athenry before had to rely on a late Declan Cullen winner as they came from behind to defeat Boyle Celtic by 2-1.

In was equally difficult in the semi final, as goals by Emmett Byrne and Seamie Crowe eventually got them past neighbours Oranmore by 2-1. Indeed it took a late penalty save by Kieran Kilkelly to guarantee their passage.

The lack of a mainstream striker probably explains while Alan O’Donovan, Benny Lawless, Declan Cullen and Simon Murray have shared ten of their goals between them.

The success of Athenry down the years has been built on a seasoned and experience selection that almost picks itself. Goalkeeper Kilkelly and the back four of Stephen Rabbitte, Paddy Quinn, Emmett Byrne and Ronan Kinneen have being playing together for years.

Further afield O’Donovan, O’Driscoll, Delaney and Forde will probably be the midfield quartet, while if free from injury Junior International Seamie Crowe seem sure to start, maybe playing just off the front man.

Benny Lawless, Simon Murray, Brian Mannion, Mark Moran and Declan Cullen are all competing for a starting position upf ront and it is a task that only manager Gabriel Glavin can solve.

Glavin has a long association with the club. As assistant to Timmy Holian he was very much part of their early success and his progress to the top position last season has been pretty seamless. He see’s the contest as a toss up: “Both are teams used to success and while we have confidence in our ability, it is all down to what happens on the day.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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



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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