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Athenry remain queens of Camogie

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 29-Oct-2009

REIGNING County champions Athenry achieved another milestone in the club’s illustrious history when completing the coveted four-in-arow of Galway titles against a determined Killimor outfit in the Loughrea Hotel & Spa senior camogie final at Duggan Park, Ballinasloe on Sunday.

In what was a keenly contested final between the dominant and emerging forces in Galway camogie, it was always going to take a couple of moments of brilliance to separate these two sides. Killimor lacking the same level of fluency which brought them to their first ever senior final managed only a single score in the first half and this proved their ultimate downfall.

In contrast, Athenry tagged on crucial scores to their tally in the second period when it was their turn to face the elements. The contest, itself, lacked nothing by the way of heart, commitment and spirit. Both sides defended vigorously, contesting every ball with fervour. A final that was slow to catch fire, finished in a blaze of excitement.

There were outstanding individual performances in the maroon and white all over the park on Sunday, but the display of Athenry forward Therese Maher embodied the skill, hunger and fighting spirit of the entire Athenry outfit.

The opening exchanges signalled the desire to win amongst both sides with no quarter neither asked nor given. In total, four yellow cards were handed out by referee Fintan McNamara, underlining the physicality and ferociousness of the action. It was no surprise then that 17 minutes had elapsed before the opening score arrived – a free from Laura Linnane.

Athenry edged further in front thanks in the main to midfielder Linnane who floated over a ’45 before providing the delivery for the game’s opening goal. Killimor’s defence failed to clear the danger despite the mass of black and amber shirts crowded in the goal area and with the deftest of touches Athenry’s Mary Keogh sent their faithful following into jubilation.

Subsequently, Athenry rattled off three unanswered points in a productive four minute spell – Laura Linnane (free), Mary Keogh and Sarah Donoghue the victor’s providers. All of sudden there was nine between the sides and Killimor hadn’t engineered a shot at goal in over a quarter of an hour.

But entering first half stoppage the powerful Brenda Hanney shrugged of the attentions of four Athenry defenders before unleashing a bullet that was excellently stopped by ‘keeper Stephanie Gannon in the Athenry goals. However, Martina Conroy pounced on the rebound and kicked into the empty net for Killimor’s first score on 31 minutes.

Athenry’s 1-6 to1-0 lead, while solid, wasn’t an insurmountable target for the Killimor women and the first ten minutes of the second period was to see the course of the decider switch definitely in their favour.

Wing forward Susan Keane started the revival with the score of the day. Catching a clearance from Stephanie Gannon, Keane split the posts with an effort from underneath the stand. The score settled Killimor and they began to stamp their authority on proceedings with the likes of Ann Marie Hayes and Brenda Hanney to the fore.

Linnane replied with a free, but the Conroy sisters, Claire and Martina, registered three points from the placed ball as Killimor edged out tussles all over the field. But then came arguably the key moment of the match.

Trailing by three, Martina Conroy was presented with a prime opportunity to narrow the deficit to two with a free from the 20m line, but the Galway intermediate star instead opted to shoot for goal. The shot superbly saved by Gannon, deflected off the crossbar and Athenry gained the momentum from the incident.

Midge Glynn’s charges rattled of three unanswered points from Laura Linnane (free), Mary Keogh and Sarah Donoghue and then followed the game’s second crucial moment with eight minutes of normal time remaining.

A booming clearance from Maher was seized by the fleet footed Mary Keogh who raced through at speed before driving to the net. Credit to Killimor they did rally in the ensuing minutes. Ann Marie Starr and Eimear Haverty combined to set up Brenda Hanney in a one on one confrontation with Gannon, the full forward, finished low and clinically to the net. Hanney added a point thereafter, but Brenda Keirns rubber-stamped the victory with a late point.

Stephanie Gannon delivered a matsterclass in goalkeeping, while Dorelle Coen, Katherine Glynn, Krystle Ruddy and in particular Regina Glynn were outstanding in defence. Laura Linnane was the top midfielder on show, exhibiting a terrific free taking ability, while Katie O’Dwyer, the lionhearted Therese Maher and Mary Keogh were the major contributors in a hardworking Athenry attack.

As for Killimor, they have a great deal to be proud of. Sure it wasn’t to be their day on Sunday, but the psychological barrier they crossed in reaching the final will stand them in good stead in the years to
come. For, they are a predominantly youthful outfit littered with emerging talent.

Ann Marie Hayes and Marie Duane led the lines well, while Susan Keane, Ann Marie Starr and Eimear Haverty (second half) toiled diligently around the forty. The powerful Brenda Hanney was involved in almost all of Killimor scores and although switched to the half forward line for a period of the match, always looked a dangerous threat when in possession.

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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Rory takes on fresh challenge as lauded DruidMurphy returns

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 03-Apr-2013


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After twenty years Sarah lands dream role in Druid

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 04-Apr-2013

 Sarah Lynch has been living and breathing Druid Theatre since she wangled a job as a runner fresh out of college two decades ago at age 20. After holding down just about every role imaginable there – from company manager to director to stage manager – her appointment as general manager to one of the country’s most prestigious theatre companies last October seemed almost inevitable.

Because once she had tasted the fruit of Druid she was going nowhere . . . and going everywhere. Sarah’s tenure at Druid since 1998 has brought her on a journey that has reached just about every corner of the globe and almost all the islands off Ireland in between.

After graduating from Limerick with a degree in French and English Sarah spent a stint teaching in a secondary school. But it immediately became clear that wasn’t the road for her.

“One thing I was always certain of was I’d be involved in the performing arts, whether on stage or off stage or behind it. The immediate reaction of the audience is such a buzz,” she grins.

Her earliest memory was of her grandfather, Bud Clancy, on stage with his trumpet and dance band. “I must have been three or four because he died shortly after that. But it never left me. I got bitten by the bug. I started playing the trumpet. A friend of my grandfather taught me how to play and I was with the Limerick brass and reed orchestra known as the Boherbuoy Band, I was just a kid with all these adults.”

She learned to play other brass instruments such as the French horn and cornet before turning her hand to the guitar and song-writing. “I taught myself guitar. Sometime I tinker on the piano and I think that’s my next instrument. I love percussion. You can’t get me off a drum kit for love or money. Many is the night I’ve made a fool of myself on one of those,” she laughs.

In 2010, Sarah released her debut album, Letter to Friends, which was launched by playwright Enda Walsh, whose short play, Lynndie’s Gotta Gun, she had directed as part of the 2008 Galway Arts Festival.

The collection of songs was produced by Wayne Sheehy, a musician she had met when opening for Juliet Turner on Turner’s Burn the Black Suit tour.

“I could probably have done it ten years ago but for the manic schedule with Druid and touring so much,” she reflects. “I haven’t done much with it since. I used to play gigs in the Róisín Dubh. The bigger twin is theatre at the moment. The bigger twin bullies the other twin. You don’t get much time to do music.”

After fleeing the classroom, Sarah knocked on the door of a former college mate, Andrew Flynn, now with the Galway Youth Theatre, who kindly offered up his couch. He also managed to get her a job as a runner – the person who does everything from making tea to helping with props – on a Druid production of As You Like It.

“I remember working with Mark O’Halloran, I had great fun with him. There was Helen Norton, it was Maeliosa Stafford directing. He’s coming back to the Druid after ten years to star in Tom Murphy’s A Whistle in the Dark. He left me as a runner, now I’m general manager.”

Much of Sarah’s time behind the scenes at Druid has been spent on the road. In 2009 alone, Druid toured to Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA presenting 364 performances in 26 venues.

Indeed so much of life has been out spent living of a suitcase that she gave up her base in Galway to move back in with her family in Caherdavin, on the Galway side of Limerick city.

The tour of the Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh was so long the crew were instructed to pack two suitcases, one with summer clothes, the other winter gear, as they would be spanning the seasons. Her job now entails a lot of commuting, but driving is where she gets a lot of thinking done.

Sarah’s decision to apply for the more home-based job of general manager was one she made discreetly while on the Druid Murphy tour around the US. She had to undergo her interview in between shows at the Lincoln Center in New York. It was the most nerve wrecking experience of her life, she admits.

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

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