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Battle-hardened Loughrea outfit to carry the day



Date Published: 15-Nov-2012


SO, it has come down to this. Loughrea, the old dog for the long road, up against their next door neighbours, St. Thomas’, the new kids on the block. You could wax lyrically about this one but – whatever way you look at it – this promises to be one hell of a County Senior Hurling final at Pearse Stadium on Sunday (2pm).

Team news first and aside from the long term injury to centre-half back Donal Cooney, St. Thomas’ have a full complement to pick from. As for Loughrea, they do have a concern, with corner-back Eoin Mahony struggling with a shoulder injury. On a more positive note, full-back Damien McClearn looks to be coping admirably with a long standing back ailment.

In many respects, this decider is all about the respective forward units. St. Thomas’ is built on speed and, most notably, movement while Loughrea boast a more direct style of play – the towering Johnny Maher a formidable target man – although under new boss Eamon Kelly, Loughrea have certainly expanded the perimeters of their attack.

The arrival of Johnny Coen onto the scene along with the influx of new players like Sean Sweeney, Paul Hoban, Neil Keary and teenager Jamie Ryan in recent years has afforded them the opportunity to do this and, consequently, their attack has a wonderful structure and balance to it.

Central to this has been veteran Vinny Maher, who is like a war general conducting an offensive, while the contribution of the livewire Johnny O’Loughlin and the form of fit again goalpoacher Kenneth Colleran have also been factors in their side’s return to a sixth county final in 10 years.

That said, the most impressive line, at least in the knockout stages, has been the midfield pairing of captain Gavin Keary and Emmett Mahony. Working in harmony, they have often dictated the flow of games, dropping deep into defence when required and leading the charge forward when need demanded it.

In this respect, their showdown with St. Thomas’ equally impressive pairing of brothers, Kenneth and David Burke, should be a highlight of this game. The Burkes had their finest hour together in the replay semi-final win over fierce rivals and county champions Gort, scoring two points apiece on the day.

For his part, All-Star David has been in sensational form and he has tallied a magnificent 3-9 from this sector over their nine SHC games so far. This contribution has nicely complemented the efforts of the Kilchreest/Peterswell attack, in which Conor Cooney has been in devastating form.

To date, he has amassed a whooping total of 3-56 – so installing him as this year’s championship top scorer. He has a 16-point lead on Maher heading into the decider. While his accuracy from placed balls has been fundamental to this feat, Cooney has also been a shining light from play with an impressive 3-15 to his name – and, as a result, he is also the leading scorer in the championship in this respect.

Around him, though, St. Thomas’ have also had players who have shown a keen eye for the target, particularly Bernard Burke (2-11), Richie Murray (0-16, James Regan (0-15) and Anthony Kelly (2-7).

However, the big call for St. Thomas’ manager John Burke and his selectors Jimmy Kelly and Justin Flannery will be if they should start one or both of teenagers Shane Cooney and Eanna Burke after they made such telling impacts in the second half against Gort last day out.

Burke scored a neat point while Cooney rattled home one of the most memorable goals in the championship against the county holders, but the wise choice may be to keep faith with regular Gerald Murray.

Despite his poor return of just a goal in this year’s competition, Murray would be better able to stand up to the rigours of a helter-skelter opening. The young guns could subsequently be introduced when the contest settles into its own pattern.

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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