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Badminton tournament to benefit children in Chernobyl



Date Published: {J}

FOR badminton players across Galway and, indeed, Connacht, this Sunday’s open tournament in Oranmore Community Hall is a chance to test their skills and have some fun. For the children of Chernobyl, though, the money raised on the evening could be the difference between life and death.

In recent times, sportspeople and sporting events have been used to great effect to highlight the plight of the less fortunate . . . Clarinbridge and Galway hurler Alan Kerins being a leading light in developing community and youth leadership projects in Zambia.

Oranmore badminton player Bláthnait Ní Mhurchú may not enjoy the same high profile of Kerins – although she was crowned the 2011 Mayo Rose – but, nonetheless, she is determined to do what she can to raise some cash for the Chernobyl Children’s Project, which she will visit in Belarus later this month.

Indeed, Ní Mhurchú is one of 14 Roses, including 2011 Rose of Tralee winner Tara Talbot, who will make the trip to Chernobyl to volunteer in the Adi Roche aided Vesnova Children’s Mental Asylum between February 13 and 17.

In all, the Roses, along with two travelling escorts, hope to raise €20,000 which will go directly to assist the children. “We will be classed as medical volunteers for the week, spending time with the children and working in three different units, including the high dependency unit,” says Ní Mhurchú of her impending role.

“We will mainly be helping the nursing staff in the units there. So, we have to bring over medical supplies with us, like Sudocrem. The children suffer a lot because they are sitting around all day and they get a lot of bed sores and that. So, we will be just aids to the nurses there.”

Ní Mhurchú, a Client Relationship Manager for her brother Declan’s healthcare recruitment company Servisource, says their trip will also coincide with the opening of a brand new unit for abandoned babies. “It was built by Irish builders and there is going to be a big woo-hah around that.”

When it came to organising this weekend’s fundraiser, the Belmullet native, following discussion with Oranmore Badminton Club, decided that an open tournament would be a great way to generate some finance, have some fun and raise awareness about Chernobyl Children International.

Ní Mhurchú has always loved the game, although there was a 10 year period where she did not play at. “When I was 16, I won the Mayo U-16 singles and then I never went back again until I joined Oranmore in October 2010. I suppose, after that U-16 tournament, I started the Leaving Cert [at St. Brendan’s College in Belmullet] and then there was college [in Ballyfermot].”

So, what prompted her to return to the game? “Well, I had the racket! The old shaped one!” she laughs. “I used to work in Dundalk, so when I moved to Galway, I suppose it was a new start. My sister had a friend who played for Oranmore and he gave me the lead there. So, I walked through the doors in October (2010) and they haven’t been able to get rid of me since,” she smiles.

Certainly, it has been a productive marriage, with Ní Mhurchú landing a number of titles in the name of Oranmore. “Yeah, last year, we won the Galway County Mixed, Stephen Lally and I. That was Grade 10. I also won the Connacht doubles with Collette Gannon (Letterfrack) and the mixed doubles with Stephen (Grade D). I was also runner-up [to Caroline Pryce of Galway Lawn Tennis Club] in the Connacht singles, 2011.”

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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Archive News

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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