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Brilliant U-21s show way foward



Date Published: {J}


IN a way it was a bit like the 1916 rising for the little pockets of Galway fans making their way by the GPO along O’Connell Street — they were heavily outnumbered and outgunned by Cavan’s blue army who had come to town early for their big day out.

There is something a little incongruous about being in the capital on May Day for an All-Ireland final but the Dubs involvement in the league decider, meant that the under-21 showdown got promoted to Croker.

Make no mistake about it but this is the place to play All-Ireland finals. Over 42,000 people gathered to see a very promising bill, although in one of the vagaries of sport, both games turned out to be somewhat one sided affairs.

Anyway Croke Park was a strata removed from having to try and get through the Stasi style security cordons to cover matches in Sligo (mooted at one stage as a possible final venue), and Galway’s flowing style of football certainly benefited from the expanse of the country’s number one ground.

By noon in O’Connell Street, most of the Cavan fans were making their way towards Russell Street. Here and there, little maroon cells could be seen, but they were in a serious minority.

A marching party of about 300 members of the proletariat from Parnell Street chanted about the austerity measures being endured by workers at present and further on, Gardai in potholing gear, checked the sewers and underground pipe network, in case of any nasty surprises when ‘herself’ (The Queen) arrives later this month.

Word came through via the train travellers that the carriages were far from full on the way up from Galway, Athenry and Ballinasloe but that there was still ‘a nice crowd’ on board.

It really was though a ‘blue day’ in Croke Park. After the influx of Cavan supporters, the sky blue of the Dubs started to appear and the core of neutrals present were really hoping for a blue double. Everyone really does love the underdog and as it turned out the Dubs did have a great day in the sun — the Galway fans who waited on enjoyed that one too.

The Galway fan base, including the Dublin diaspora, probably did stretch to a few thousand but all seemed to be absorbed by the Cavan blue and none more so than in the opening seconds of the match when Niall Smith cut through the Galway defence to punch a point, and with a bit more ambition it could have been a goal.

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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