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Breaks continue to elude Connacht



Date Published: 01-Apr-2008

ONCE more to the front and once more repelled. The manner in which Connacht defend in home games is a metaphor for the team’s mentality. From every knock they seem to be back on their feet within seconds and the endeavour never wavers.

No less than 5,368 people crammed the sold out Sportsground on Friday night — you could have doubled that such was the demand. These are supporters who have watched a hell of a lot more defeats than victories in recent times, but are drawn back time and again by this never ending story of heart, passion and determination against odds that appear to be just too high.

At times you think’give it up lads, it’s just not going to happen’ and then they come again. If only this could be replicated on their travels. Connacht didn’t stop until the last minute attempting to conjure up a score to reward their dominant set piece play, ferocious defence and never ending work rate. The reason they once again came up short was down to some rank awful refereeing, a slight lack of composure and the scarcity of an accurate goal kicker.

When your governing body is hardly aware of your existence and the best young talent in Ireland remains stuck in gyms playing little or no rugby,when the funding is a fraction of what is needed to compete in semi pro rugby in France or England and when the home refereeing is continually unbalanced and completely indefensible. Well what’s left?

With that background it seems harsh to criticise the team but none of the above trends seem likely to change and slight improvements elsewhere is all that’s left to work on. If Connacht’s Andy Dunne had stuck his kicks, a tough conversion, a straight forward drop goal and a crucial kickable second half penalty, they wouldn’t have had to chase the game in injury time against a Munster side that hadn’t been able to really threaten that Connacht line to that point.

The story of the game is this. Connacht, down to the bare bones of a 15 with injuries and suspensions, against Europe’s number one side, battled bravely from start to finish showing exceptional fitness levels, never yielding an inch physically and looking as technically strong in defence as any side in this league.

They did enough to earn victory with a stunning try in thefirst half and a powerful attacking
spell midway through the second, but were thwarted by some incredibly poor decisions from Simon McDowell. More on our man from Ulster in a little while but let’s stay positive for just a moment.

Connacht’s breakthrough moment in the contest came ………………..

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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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

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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