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Boost for Galway football

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 07-May-2013

 GALWAY is back where it belongs – at the summit of the country’s U21 football fraternity.

Galway’s young lions held on for a three points win over Cork in a pulsating All-Ireland U-21 final at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick on Saturday, as captain Fiontán Ó Curraoin lifted the Clarke Cup, Galway’s second in three years, fourth since 2002, and fifth title in all.

A combination of devastatingly clinical accuracy in front of the posts, coupled with midfield dominance, especially in the aerial battle, and non-stop Duracell Bunny style workrate of the defence and forwards that tracked back, ensured Galway were crowned champions.

It was an exciting encounter that completely lacked any cynicism that has blighted the modern game – these were two natural footballing sides going hell for leather in a game that produced 27 scores, nearly one every two minutes, despite the slippery conditions.

The official crowd of 4,324 in attendance certainly got value for money as the quality of point scoring from Galway’s Ian Burke and Cathal Mulryan in particular, was at times breath-taking while Ó Curraoin’s high fielding was a joy to watch, too.

Though Cork were marginal favourites, it was Galway who always looked in control and led from pillar to post, although they did endure some jittery moments and went the last third of the game without scoring.

Galway had a blistering start, were five points to one up before Cork knew where they were, and to be leading at the break by 0-9 to 0-5 certainly didn’t flatter them.

Galway might have been worried a small bit when Cork fired over a quick brace immediately on the resumption of play but they blew away their opponents in a key nine minutes of the second half when they outgunned them by 1-5 to a point.

The Rebels, three-in-a-row Munster champions, didn’t lie down but even though they then hit 1-3 without reply, Galway always looked the better team and thoroughly deserved to triumph on a final score of 1-14 to 1-11.

“I’m delighted. I can’t believe what just happened there – it’s very hard to put it into words but I’m just delighted to get the win,” said Galway captain Fiontán Ó Curraoin, who said the win should provide a tonic to the county’s seniors.

“We’re looking forward to Mayo (in the Connacht senior championship) in two weeks and hopefully this success will start translating into senior . . . it’s definitely a boost for the seniors to see the U-21s win an All-Ireland.

“For myself and the rest of the lads that will be involved, it’s about time now that we start to push on and there’s a real sense in this team that we’ll be able to do that and hopefully we’ll be able to push on over the next couple of years,” said Ó Curraoin.

The man that masterminded the triumph, Alan Flynn, was generous in his praise for trusty lieutenants – selectors Paul Clancy and Declan Meehan – as well as to the players’ underage club coaches and recent former Galway minor managers, Gerry Fahy and Tommie Joyce, who had helped mould and sculpt these individuals into the best team in Ireland.

“It’s very satisfying and the biggest thing is that we performed on the day . . . I think today we played very good attacking, attractive football, moving the ball fast into the forward line. We would have felt all year, and maybe it wasn’t known outside of our own county, and maybe at times even in our own county they weren’t sure what we could offer really, but we felt all year if our forward line got enough ball they could do damage.

“With two guys like Fiontán (Ó Curraoin) and Tom (Flynn) in the middle of the field they give you a great platform to get the ball in there . . . I felt our defence, particularly in the first 20 or 25 minutes of the game was outstanding again today.”

Is this a golden era for Galway football at this grade, Flynn was asked. “I suppose it is, in the sense when you win two out of three it’s a pretty good return.”

For the full match report see today’s Sentinel and further reaction in Thursday’s 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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