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Bowed heads and long faces



Date Published: 12-Jul-2007

DON’T say the Connacht senior football championship doesn’t mean anything to the Galway management and their players. It does. And given the bowed heads and long faces that drudged wearily from Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday afternoon, more than one would think.

There is a reason why the county has 43 provincial titles to its name. Simply, Galway footballers have always prided themselves on their successes. They love to win and they have certainly made a habit out of doing it over the decades. And doing it well.

In other words, there is no real mystery as to why Galway lead the honours list in the province. And yet, what was most disappointing about Galway on Sunday was their lack of assurance.

One would expect it would have been the Tribesmen who would have set the pace in the 2007 decider, demand that Sligo raise the bar to meet the standard they have been setting for decades, but they didn’t.

Instead, it was the victorious men from Yeats County who dictated the proceedings for long periods, playing like men possessed, like players with a purpose. “Sligo were an awful lot a hungrier team than we were today,” confessed Galway selector Peter Warren afterwards.

“We thought we were up for this game, but it just didn’t happen for us. They hadn’t won a Connacht title in 32 years; I suppose it was a similar situation to that which we were in when we won the All-Ireland in ’98. They were hungry. When you think about it too, they had an awful lot of wides compared to what we had. I mean we could have been beaten by a lot more than a point if they had taken those chances.”

In fairness to the Galway management, they did endeavour to rejuvenate their charges by introducing their five substitutes over the course of the second half, but these did not have the same collective desired impact as it had against Leitrim in the Connacht semi-final.

“Yeah, we used our full hand today. We tried to spice it up. I suppose Cormac Bane was unlucky to be taken off. We brought on Sean Armstrong, who had a brilliant game against Leitrim, and that’s the way it was. You try to make as many switches to get a better team performance. However, no matter what we did today, and we used our full hand, it just didn’t work for us.

“Every part of the field Sligo were hungrier for possession. We gave away an awful lot of ball; they intercepted a huge amount of our passes. So where it should have been an attack for us, they broke it down and attacked themselves, picking off some lovely scores.

“But, you know,we still had a chance to tie the game up at the end. Ja (Fallon) was very unlucky not to put that one over. To sum it up overall though, Sligo were really up for it today and they won it fair and square.

“Fair play to them. I suppose the one positive for us is that we are still in the championship, that we are still in the hat.”

True but………..

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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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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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