Date Published: 09-May-2012
INCREDIBLY, Athenry have lost just one Connacht Junior Cup game in six years and on Sunday next, they will be contesting their fifth Cup final in six seasons when they host Westport United in Terryland Park at 3pm.
After winning the cup for the first time in 2007, they retained it the following year, before suffering their lone defeat in that sequence when going down to Manulla in 2009.
Enjoying an impressive strike rate of four wins from their four deciders, the holders are chasing a third title in succession against a Mayo side who have just started their summer football campaign in impressive fashion.
Athenry will be returning to the venue where they defeated Hibernians by 2-1 in 2010 and they followed this up with a 2-0 success over Ballinasloe Town in Lecarrow last season.
Now early season form gave no indication that Athenry would be around to defend their title, as they picked up just eight points from a possible 21 from their opening seven games in the Premier League.
However the return of a few seasoned campaigners and the continuous improvement of a number of the younger brigade has seen the side enjoy a rich vein of form in recent times. Not only did they improve their league fortuines hugely, they were in a challenging position for the title up to the final series of games.
Athenry have also marched into the final of the Michael Byrne Cup and will face East United in the decider next week. On Sunday last, they defeated Corrib Rangers by 4-0 as Gabriel Glavin’s charges wound up to the challenge facing them against Westport.
After comfortable wins over Conn Rangers (6-0), St John’s (4-0) and Manor Rangers (3-0) in the earlier rounds of the Connacht Cup, matters got a little difficult thereafter and they conceded their only goals to date when seeing off Salthill Devon by 4-3 in the quarter-finals in Drom.
Matters were equally difficult in an away semi final against Mervue United, but from Ray Moran’s cross, Conor Cannon fired home the winner in a 1-0 victory.
Down the years and with all their successes, one considered Athenry to be a mature settled side, but when they line out on Sunday, they will have at least five changes to the starting 11 that saw off Ballinasloe Town last year.
Goalkeeper Cieran Kilkelly has emigrated to Canada and John Grealish will continue his development between the posts. Benny Lawless was the two goal hero from that last final win, but he will be missing the final due to suspension, as a ridiculous second yellow card in the semi final ruled him out of the decider.
Emmett Byrne (B Team), Paddy Quinn (injured) and Mark Moran (left club) have taken a step away, having enjoyed many years success with the club. Despite the loss of the experienced players, the side has been freshened up with the injection of some new youthful faces.
Cathal Fahy and Conor Cannon look the likely duo to start up front and with bags of pace and ability, they should give the Westport back four a torrid time. Throughout the campaign, the duo have secured a bagful of goals and will no doubt be a huge threat on this occasion also.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
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
Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013
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.