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Big crowd on cards as Utd swing back into league action

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Date Published: {J}

Keith Kelly

GALWAY United are expecting their biggest crowd for a number of years in Terryland Park on Friday night when they host St Patrick’s Athletic in their opening game of the 2011 Premier Division campaign (kick-off 7.45pm).

Huge numbers of messages of goodwill have been pouring into the club since the day-to-day running was taken over by supporters, and almost 500 season tickets have been sold for a season which is low on expectation but high in exhilaration over the fact the club is in the top flight, as it came perilously close to going out of business when it was refused a Premier Division licence.

An appeal against that decision was successful, but it left United with just two weeks to properly prepare for the new season, and as a result manager Sean Connor is still trying to formalise a squad less than 48 hours before the first game.

The club is still waiting for international clearance for former UCD winger Karl Moore, and English striker Joseph Yoffe. Both spent time on the books of Spanish side Crevillante, but United and the FAI have been having difficulty making contact with the club, or with securing the necessary clearance from the Spanish FA.

A goalkeeper was due to link up with the club on Wednesday, but as Ronan Coleman – the secretary of the new fan-run management committee at United – explained, time is running out to register players, and it is touch-and-go if those three named above will be involved on Friday night.

“The manager is hopeful of bringing in new players, but it is getting tight at this stage with regards to registering players. Hopefully both Karl and Joseph will get their clearance in time for Friday night, we are certainly working as hard and as fast as we can to ensure that,” he said.

The office at Terryland Park is being manned by volunteers and has been very busy all week with season ticket enquiries and with people ringing with messages of goodwill.

“We are seeing a lot of contact at the office, and we are hopeful of getting a big crowd on Friday night. I think we are offering very good value with the reduction in price in both the season ticket and adult admission prices, and hopefully the public will respond and turn out in large numbers.

“We are seeing a lot of supporters coming back to the club, and that will be very important this season – there are a lot of people who used to go to Galway United matches but haven’t been to Terryland Park in a while, and we are hoping they come back this season, but so far, I have to say the support of the public has been excellent,” he said.

Coleman said it has been an “intense” few weeks since the supporters took over the running of the club, but the pressure is not just been felt on the administration side of things, as Connor has been forced to build a squad with one of the lowest budgets of both divisions.

Only a few players from last season have remained on at the club with one, Paul Sinnott, named as captain for the year. Other familiar faces in the dressing room will include Stephen Walsh and Gary Curran, as well as Alan Murphy, who missed the whole of last season through injury.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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

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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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