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Battle for top Galway GAA post is on a knife edge

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

Dara Bradley

THE battle for the top position on the Galway County Board is on a knife edge with former government minister of state, Noel Treacy, going head-to-head in a full-blooded contest with Hurling Board vice-chairman, John Fahey, for the role of chairman at convention tonight (Thursday).

Treacy, a long-serving former Fianna Fáil Galway East TD, who decided not to contest February’s general election due to “medical advice”, told Tribune Sport that he is fighting fit again after overcoming illness. He has both ‘medical clearance and family clearance’ to contest the election and would relish the chairmanship role, he said.

Treacy is better known as a politician but has had a long involvement in the GAA. Thirty conventions ago he was defeated in a County Board chairman election by 12 votes by David McGann and six months later he was elected to Dáil Éireann. He was elected secretary of his club Pádraig Pearse’s in 1970, a position he served in until 1983; and he is currently in his fourth officer position with the club with over forty years of unbroken service.

Treacy served as county youth officer between 1970 and 1981; served as vice-chairman of the County Board from 1981 to 1983; and was Connacht representative on the national youth council from 1972 to 1983. He was a Galway minor hurling selector between 1971 and 1978; and is a founder member of St Kerril’s football club.

Fahey served for six years as Hurling Board secretary, from 2005 to 2010 inclusive, and has been the County Board delegate to the Connacht Council for the past three years. He first became involved in administration at club level in St Thomas’ in 1976 and at county board level as youth officer in the early 1980s.

He is well known in Galway and beyond for his hard work at schools level in the GAA, having been chairman of the All-Ireland Vocational Schools body for 10 years, and he has just completed his third year – a full term – as chairman of the Connacht post-primary schools body.

Fahey stressed his vast experience of serving the GAA at administrative level for decades, his long involvement at post-primary level provincially and nationally and emphasised his recent experience at the coalface at Connacht Council level, as reasons for seeking the position.

Fahey and Treacy are two popular figures and most neutral observers say it’s ‘too close to call’ the outcome. Both men were actively canvassing delegates at last week’s Hurling Board Convention.

The winner will replace outgoing chairman Gerry Larkin, whose five year term is up. Larkin (Tynagh/Abbey/Duniry) has been nominated as the Board’s coaching and games development officer.

There will be no contest for the position of vice-chairman – Annaghdown’s Michael Curley has been nominated for the position but confirmed to Tribune Sport this week that he will be withdrawing his name on the night, paving the way for Tadhg Ó Conghaile, the only other nominee for the role.

Ó Conghaile is currently outgoing County Board Public Relations Officer (PRO) and will perform both roles. The An Spidéal clubman has served for the past five years as the Galway juvenile football chairman.

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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

images/files/images/x3_Courthouse.jpg

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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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