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Bad year for Galway heaps pressure on Kernan

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

NO matter how hard you try to beat around the bush, there is no escaping the fact that it’s been a disastrous year for Galway football. An indifferent National League campaign has been followed by a premature championship exit after four summer performances which summed up the county’s difficulties and underlined the team’s limitations.

Perhaps, supporters should have heeded the warning signals in retrospect. Finishing in No Man’s Land in the League and shipping a couple of heavy defeats along the way, especially with a new management calling the shots, were ominous. Galway just didn’t sparkle and with injury problems making life even harder, it wasn’t the ideal preparation for the championship.

The venerable Padraic Joyce spoke publicly after Sunday’s depressing championship exit to an ordinary enough if spirited Wexford outfit at Pearse Stadium in the All-Ireland qualifiers. His despair was obvious but he didn’t back away from calling it as it was – Galway footballers “had let the county down.”

The same Joyce, by some distance the oldest player on the squad, was again outstanding in the maroon jersey. With four points from play and a work ethic which embarrassed players ten years his junior, the Killererin man did all he could to prevent Galway from making another early departure from the championship. He simply oozed class and if this was the last occasion we shall see him in a Galway jersey – and why should it be, given the way he is playing – Joyce deserved a far better send off than this.

Once again, Galway looked to have carried the day as the match drifted into its closing stages. A Gary O’Donnell point in the 66th minute pushed them two clear, 0-13 to 1-8, but they were unable to close the deal as the last three points fell to Wexford just as the same thing had happened against Sligo at Markievicz Park the previous Saturday evening.

Those late scores from the impressive Ciaran Lyng (two) and Adrian Flynn secured a rousing victory for a Wexford team which had troubled periods at the start of both halves, but still managed to show more resilience than their hosts. Barely two and a half thousand people turned up in Pearse Stadium on a rain-soaked afternoon to witness another sobering day for Galway football and the local fans must have been appalled at how far the team has fallen in recent seasons.

Though playing their third game in a fortnight, Galway had shot out of the blocks by storming into an early four points lead with Joyce doing all the damage. Wexford were looking out of their depth, but they gradually settled and by the 23rd minute had squared the match with an effort from Colm Morris. It could have been even better for the 2008 All-Ireland semi-finalists as it took a fine reflex stop from Adrian Faherty to deny Redmond Barry a clear-cut goal scoring opportunity.

By this juncture, Cormac Bane had been introduced to the Galway attack and though it wasn’t a surprise that the Caherlistrane clubman was pressed into action so quickly, the replacing of young Eoin Concannon, who had already been involved in a couple of his team’s scores, did raise eyebrows. Bane, however, went on to land four points from play in a quality performance which raised the obvious question – why wasn’t he started?

The Galway management had also dropped Diarmuid Blake with Kieran Fitzgerald taking over at centre back and David Reilly promoted to the full back line. Initially, they looked more secure at the back but, by the end of the match, the rearguard was again in big trouble while the Tribesmen’s midfield wasn’t a factor when the going got tough and the hard ball needed to be won.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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

Galway girls make a splash on Irish U-15 water polo side

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 18-Feb-2013

The Irish U-15 girls’ water polo team, which was backboned by eight Galway players, made history in Birmingham made history last weekend when they reached the final of the British Regional Water Polo Championships.

All the girls are members of Galway’s Tribes Water Polo Club, formed only two years ago by Deborah Heery and Amanda Mooney. To get eight members from one club onto a National squad of 13 was an achievement in itself for this new club, but to be part of an Irish team – which was captained by Galway’s Róisín Cunningham, Smyth – to reach a final at such a high International level exceeded all expectations.

Competing against Scotland and Wales, Ireland made it out of their group to a semi-final place against the much fancied North West A England team. The semi-final proved to be the game of the tournament with nothing to separate the teams.

After goals from Carmel Heery, Aisling Dempsey, Eleanor O’Byrne, Roisin Cunningham Smyth and a dramatic penalty save by goalie Ailbhe Colleran, the Irish girls ran out 7-6 winners to become the first Irish side to make a final.

In the final on Sunday afternoon, they met tournament favourites, London, who they had previously beaten in the Group stages. With excellent performances from Eva Dill, Ailbhe Keady and Laoise Smyth, Ireland held the experienced English team to a 4-4 scoreline at half-time, but the English team, with their stronger and more experienced panel pulled away to win the tournament in the second half.

The success of the Irish team in reaching their first ever British Regional Finals was enhanced even further when Tribes member, Carmel Heery, was nominated Most Valuable Player of the Irish Team

In addition to their recent International success these girls were also members of the Tribes Water Polo team that won the U-14 & U-16 National Water Polo Cups this year and the Grads invitational U-15 tournament.

The success of this young Galway Water Polo Club nationally and internationally is in no small way due to the exceptional ability of their talented coaches, Padraig Smyth, Amanda Mooney, Jeremy Pagden, Carol O’Neill, Roisin Sweeney, Cathal Treacy.

The Irish team was coached by Aideen Conway (IWPA) and managed by Tribes founder, Deborah Heery.

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Archive News

Feast of folk at An Taibhdhearc

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 21-Feb-2013

Galway group We Banjo 3, comprising Enda and Fergal Scahill with Martin and David Howley, will team up with Dublin band I Draw Slow for a unique concert at An Taibhdhearc, on Thursday next, February 28, 8pm.

Featuring banjos, fiddle, mandolins, guitars, banjolin and vocals We Banjo 3 combine Irish music with old-time American, ragtime and bluegrass influences, revealing the banjo’s rich legacy from its roots in African and minstrel music through to the Irish traditional sound pioneered by Barney McKenna.

Their début album, Roots of the Banjo Tree, was voted best trad album in The Irish Times in December 2012.

The roots band I Draw Slow perform a blend of old time Appalachian and Irish traditional material that has been described as a fully natural evolution of American and Irish traditional styles.

Their top 10-selling second album, Redhills was named RTÉ’s album of the week in 2011 and it frequently features on playlists of stations in Ireland, the UK and the US.

Next Thursday’s concert in An Taibhdhearc is presented by Music Network and An Taibhdhearc and starts at 8pm. Tickets are €15. Booking at 091-562024.

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