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Brilliant Tipperary the new kings of hurling



Date Published: {J}

THE cloak of invincibility which surrounded Kilkenny hurlers over the past five years has finally been removed. Many hurling people couldn’t see it coming at Croke Park last Sunday, but they were hardly anticipating that challengers Tipperary were going to produce such a sustained performance of ferocious commitment. It’s arguable that no team wearing blue and gold has ever hit such stunning heights in an All-Ireland final.

Tipperary were simply magnificent. For virtually the entire 70-plus minutes, they were in the zone. Most of us thought that we would never see the day when an opposition would outfight this Kilkenny outfit, ground them into submission, but Eoin Kelly and his team-mates did just that with a display of total commitment, astute tactical awareness and the extraordinary sharpness of their hurling. It was close to being the perfect exhibition of all that was required to floor the mighty champions.

Never in my life, have I seen the player in possession coming under such pressure as what the case last Sunday. Players on both teams were closed down with unrelenting fury while the work ethic of the rival teams bordered on fanaticism. The tackles and hits almost made the GAA’s most hallowed ground shudder as 82,000 supporters were left entranced by a stirring battle in which absolutely nothing was spared.


Though Tipperary always had a chance of carrying the day, nobody could have envisaged they would win pulling away and by a margin of eight points. Kilkenny’s spirit was never broken, but they couldn’t cope with their arch rivals’ savage hunger or their greater mobility about the field. Throw in a ‘Roy of the Rovers’ goal-scoring display from Lar Corbett, and you can see why the Cats failed in their heroic bid to achieve hurling immortality.

The Tipperary management of Liam Sheedy, Eamon O’Shea and Michael Ryan – so unfairly maligned by several prominent individuals in the county who ought to have known better in the wake of the Munster semi-final loss to Cork – deserve massive plaudits for having the determination and wherewithal to turn their season around. They wisely kept their heads down in the line of fire, but must derive enormous satisfaction from masterminding the county’s first All-Ireland triumph since 2001.

They had heroes all over the field. Obviously, Corbett tops the bill with his outstanding three goal haul, but the displays of Brendan Cummins, whose first-half point from that long distance free inside his own 50 yard line was one of the game’s defining moments, Paul Curran, Michael Cahill, the excellent Padraic Maher, Brendan Maher, Shane McGrath, early on, and Eoin McGrath led the way for their team-mates, while the fact that substitutes Seamus Callanan (two), Benny Dunne and Seamus Hennessy all fired over late points underlined the strength of the new champions’ squad.

Naturally, not every Tipperary player scaled individual greatness, but every one of them hurled with an unrelenting spirit, energy and drive which rocked Kilkenny almost from the beginning. On four different occasions in the opening-half, they pulled six points clear and with Henry Shefflin limping off injured after only 12 minutes, it was soon clear that Brian Cody and his mentors were facing a troubled afternoon.

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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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