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Athenry regain the league title in style



Date Published: {J}

Athenry 4

Corrib Rangers 0

Mike Rafferty


ATHENRY just don’t seem to do losing and at Moanbaun on Sunday last, they displayed all the quality required of champions when they defeated long-time table toppers Corrib Rangers and, in the process, clinched a third Brod Trill Premier Division title in four seasons.

The unbeaten city side were chasing a first ever league crown and had a two point cushion going the game, but any plans they might have had went out the window after just two minutes when Athenry took an early lead. And no matter how much Rangers dominated possession thereafter, they struggled to break down a home rearguard who were outstanding throughout.

Indeed, that has being the story of the campaign as Sunday’s victory was Athenry’s 11th league win in succession and the perfect antidote to two losses in a week way back in September. Indeed, Rangers were the last team to inflict a defeat on them and since January, Athenry goalkeeper Kieran Kilkelly has kept an amazing seven clean sheets, with Oranmore the only side to get a goal past him in 2010.


This was an occasion when Rangers needed time to settle down early on and play their way into the game. However, when goalkeeper John Egan failed to hold a Cathal Fahy shot after just two minutes, Gary Forde gleefully side footed home the opener from ten yards to put the home side ahead.

In fairness, Rangers responded well as they took the game to the home side at every opportunity. However, from the early exchanges a problem for them was that the prolific front two of Barry Moran and David Smith were not getting any space as the home back four of Emmett Byrne, Ronan Kinneen, Stephern Rabitte and Paddy Quinn marshalled them very well.

With their chief marksmen wrapped up, Rangers’ goal prospects were limited and such was to prove to be the case. Simon Walsh was one of the few Rangers players to lift his game for the occasion and, on six minutes, he whacked an Ollie Rafferty pass off the crossbar before he had another blaster blocked by Gary Forde in the area.

Fine early wing play by Martin Connell and Rafferty saw a good supply of ball into the box, but shooting chances were rare as the hosts dropped deep to cover all the angles. Set pieces were another good supply line for the visitors, but here Rangers were guilty of poor finishing.

The Athenry box certainly saw a lot of action in the opening quarter, but there was to be no reward for the visitors. Athenry lifted the siege as the half advanced, but just a Cathal Fahy header following an Alan O’Donovan corner threatened another breakthrough.

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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Archive News

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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