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Brennan faces Jumbo task to rescue season



Date Published: {J}

Keith Kelly

The end of the most humiliating season in the history of Galway United moves a step closer this week with a small chink of light on the horizon and a new shot of confidence in a club that has set a League record for consecutive losses.

United return to action this Friday night after a week off due to FAI Cup action when they host the only side they have beaten all season – Bohemians FC – in Terryland Park (kick-off 7.45pm) in what will be the first home game in charge for new manager, club legend John ‘Jumbo’ Brennan.

Brennan – who is third on United’s all-time League scorers list on 49 goals, only headed by Paul ‘Ski’ McGee and Alan Murphy – has been appointed as caretaker manager for the remainder of the season after the club and Sean Connor finally parted company earlier this month.

The club’s Management Committee passed a motion of no confidence in Connor back on July 22 following an 18th consecutive loss by United, but it took another four defeats over seven weeks before they were finally able to reach agreement with him on a pay-off to leave.

Ironically, Connor’s last game in charge saw United finally end the worst-ever run of defeats in the 89 year history of the league when United drew 2-2 with Dundalk in Terryland Park two weeks

ago, though they followed that up three days later with yet another l0sos, losing by the odd goal in three away to UCD.

Brennan was in charge of that game, but given the fact he had less than 72 hours to put his stamp on the club, the defeat did not come as a surprise. And given the fact United have won just once in 32 competitive games all season – 30 in the league and 2 in

Cup competition – then anything other than a defeat against Bohs will be a major surprise.

However the fact that United had last weekend ‘off’ after being knocked out of the FAI Cup at the first hurdle could be a blessing in disguise for the club, as it gave Brennan an uninterrupted two weeks to work with a group of players who can’t be faulted for effort, whatever about quality.

Connor slammed the club, those running it, and the players he had at his disposal as “amateur” after the Dundalk game, and his quip that the next club he worked at would be “professional” was a thinly-veiled swipe at United.

One would imagine that whoever that club is will expect Connor to attend training on a regular basis, and that he will be present more than the three days a week that was the situation at times this season, a season which saw United start with a budget bigger than at least one – and possibly three – other Premier Division clubs, despite the now-departed manager’s whines about the finance available to him.


All of that is in the past now, however, and the one saving grace from a season of shame is that the club now has a manager with a real attachment to the club, and one who has plenty of local pride and will demand the same from his players.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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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