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Byrne sweeps to victory at convention



Date Published: 17-Dec-2009

THE need for unity in the wake of a couple of turbulent years proved to be the dominant theme of last Thursday night’s Hurling Board convention when Joe Byrne of Kinvara was given the task of leading the county forward as Chairman for the coming year.

Byrne defeated Jimmy Cooney (Sarsfields) by 60 votes to 37, but it was an impassioned call to unity from the defeated candidate which proved to be the main talking point from the meeting at the Raheen Woods Hotel in Athenry.

Following claims that both camps had engaged in canvassing prior to the convention, Cooney made it clear that he would be offering Byrne his full support as he wished him well for the coming year.

“We fought a fair fight and there was a lot of work put in over the last few weeks,” said Cooney, the respected former inter-county hurler and referee. “Whoever was going to win tonight, Galway hurling was going to be a winner.

“It is well time for us to be united if we want to go forward, not just at the top table but on the floor. There can be no question from now on what camp you are in. Joe Byrne knows he will get my full support. You fight the fight that you have to, to win between the white lines. I support Joe Byrne 100% and I congratulate him.”

It was clearly an emotional night for Byrne, whose late father Toddie was a senior Galway GAA figure for decades. As he took his place at the top table for the first time, the Kinvara man said it was an honour for his club, his family, and himself.

“This is a serious honour,” said the 45-year old. “I am thrilled, flattered, and humbled. We need to look forward and work together. I want people to know that Galway hurling is getting its act together and moving forward. If you don’t have team spirit you win nothing and I’d like to thank all those who helped me in Kinvara and throughout the county.”

Byrne will now take over the hot-seat from acting Chairman Stephen Cahalan (Mullagh), who stepped into the breach after former Chairman Miko Ryan resigned in a cloud of controversy at the end of October. Ryan, after 13 years at the helm, had stepped down just one hour before he was due to be the subject of a Galway GAA investigation.

Cahalan, who withdrew from the race for the chair a week earlier, was re-elected Vice Chairman with 54 votes, overcoming the challenges of Noel Turley (Meelick-Eyrecourt) on 21 votes, Joe Connolly (Ballinderreen) who polled 13 votes, and Pat Moore (Turloughmore), who had nine.

“I really felt that I didn’t have time to go for the chair,” said Cahalan. “I have only one agenda, which is the youth of this county, and I am delighted that there is an emphasis on unity tonight. ‘Divided we fall, united we conquer’ and I am certain we will conquer this year. We are all one happy family.”

For further reports from the convention see pages 48 & 49 of this week’s Connacht Tribune

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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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