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Big double bill of schools hurling is down for decision

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

STEPHEN GLENNON

A new king will be crowned as Connacht Colleges ‘A’ senior hurling champions when Portumna Community School and Mercy Colleges meet in a novel decider at Duggan Park, Ballinasloe on Saturday.

It is many a long year since this piece of silverware found its way back to Portumna, with the last record of such a victory dating back to the early 1960s when the school claimed back-to-back titles (’61 and ’62) under the guise of St. Molaise’s.

However, it is still amazing to think that they have never claimed this accolade under their present form of Portumna CS, although that can all change should they defeat Mercy Colleges – an amalgamation of St. Raphael’s, Loughrea and Mercy College, Woodford; a side which only came together in recent years – in this attractive showpiece.

Of course, St. Raphael’s, on their own, have won this competition previously and, indeed, are the only Galway side ever to secure the All-Ireland colleges ‘A’ title – and Croke Cup – in 1995 while, independently, St. Raphael’s (2011) and Mercy Woodford (2012) have won the last two Connacht Colleges ‘B’ titles.

The Connacht Colleges ‘A’ decider will be preceded by the Connacht Vocational Schools final, with reigning All-Ireland champions St. Brigid’s facing their great rivals Athenry VS.

Indeed, between the four teams – and the two fixtures – there will be a wealth of underage talent on show, including a plethora of players who featured in the Galway squad that claimed the 2011 All-Ireland minor hurling title.

Connacht Colleges ‘A’ final

Portumna CS v

Mercy Colleges

(Duggan Park,

Ballinasloe 1:30pm)

In terms of this competition, Portumna Community School has lived in the shadow of their rivals in Gort and Pres. Athenry over the past number of years, but Saturday represents a golden opportunity for them to secure a coveted Connacht colleges senior ‘A’ hurling title.

In the semi-final, they recorded a three-point win over Gort and they will hope to carry that momentum into a difficult joust against the combined Mercy Colleges. Under the tuition of manager Ruairí O Tuairisg and selectors Tom Breheny, Tom Quinn and Sean Treacy, the side is captained by Galway All-Ireland minor medal Paul Killeen.

The commanding Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry man anchors a defence which also includes the likes of Portumna’s Padraig Muldoon. Other key men are goalkeeper Michael Fahy – who, like Killeen, was part of the Tynagh side that won a first ever Galway minor ‘A’ title last November – and Portumna duo Ronan O’Meara and sharpshooter Eoin Treacy, son of Vincent and nephew of Sean.

According to O Tuairisg, in contrast to other years when the team was relying on one man to carry the day, the current class “has a nice balance” and, he believes, that could be the difference.

Still, the manager is under no illusions. In comparison to the Mercy Colleges, they have a small pick in terms of numbers, although there would be quality players in the set-up thanks to the work being done in the surrounding clubs such as Portumna, Killimor, Tommy Larkins, Eyrecourt and Lorrha.

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

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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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