Date Published: 24-Dec-2009
Connacht travel to Limerick on St Stephen’s Day with a spring in their step following their comprehensive win over Worcester Warriors in the European Cup over the weekend as they return to Magners League action on Saturday against reigning champions Munster (7.30pm).
Thomond Park historically hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the westerners but in December 2008, Michael Bradley’s charges downed the then Heineken Cup champions with a tenacious hard-fought 12-6 victory at the Sportsground – Connacht’s first win against Munster since 1986.
Connacht dominated the scrum and had a near-perfect lineout in that epic encounter which laid the foundations for out-half Ian Keatley to kick Connacht into the history books with four penalties. In the years leading up to that victory, Connacht were the ‘nearly boys’ in the inter-provincial clashes with the southerners – brave performances that invariable ended in defeat or moral victories were the rule rather than the exception.
But they can look forward to Saturday’s clash with a certain degree of confidence after securing back-to-back victories over English premiership side Worcester.
Connacht’s form on the road in the Magners League is a concern again this year and Saturday will be their toughest Magners away test to date this season, with Munster – written off early in the season as they struggled to regain their composure – on a high after pulling off one of their finest ever European wins at the weekend when they secured an away success and bonus point 37-14 win against French champions Perpignan.
The head-to-head between these sides in this competition isn’t encouraging either, with Connacht winning just once in 14 encounters with Munster and there was one draw. In addition, Munster haven’t lost in their last 12 matches at home and if they can reproduce the performance of Stade Aime Giral, they will blow Connacht apart but last year’s win banishes any fear factor or inferiority complex Connacht may have had facing into clashes with Munster and coach Tony McGahan knows another bruising encounter is in store for his lads.
The Munster clash is the first in an unrelenting schedule over the next four weeks with five massive matches between now and the end of January – Connacht face Leinster in another inter-pro on January 2 at the Sportsground, with the Dragons and Montpellier at home on January 8 and 15 respectively before an away trip to Madrid.
Connacht have no injury worries ahead of the Munster encounter although Bradley has indicated he will re-jig his starting 15 and rotate his squad over the coming weeks. Another positive note on the injury front is Keith Matthews, who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury for weeks, is expected to be in contention to come back in at inside centre against Munster, replacing Aidan Wynne.
Meanwhile, the Leinster match on January 2 is expected to be sold out and Connacht Rugby has urged supporters to purchase tickets well in advance to avoid disappointment on the day.
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
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
Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013
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.