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Callanan hopes hours on road is route to success

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Date Published: {J}

STEPHEN GLENNON

If Clarinbridge captain Paul Callanan spends any more time with his own thoughts, he could well become one of the world’s finest philosophers.

For over a year or more now, Callanan has been making the long trips from Dublin for training, with just his thoughts and the car stereo to keep him company. At times, especially on those long, harsh Winter nights, it has been a lonely station.

“Yeah, I am still in Dublin . . . for my sins,” adds the affable property surveyor. “That said, the commute gets easier and easier with the more games you win. It definitely gets easier. I suppose, I have made my own track going up and down from Dublin to Galway, with all that coming and going.”

Indeed, Callanan, at this stage, could have singlehandedly paid for the toll bridges at Enfield and Cappataggle. “That is for sure,” he laughs. “Certainly, I have left enough rubber on the roads. Things could be worse, however. I could be stuck up in Dublin with nothing else to do.”

Thankfully, it’s quite the contrary as the 23-years-old captain looks to Croke Park today. While some may say that never in their wildest dreams did they think they would get an opportunity like this – a crack at an All-Ireland club hurling title – Callanan, for his part, has harboured the ambition ever since Clarinbridge’s last appearance in a national decider almost a decade ago.

“I was only a nipper back then, but I remember being in Thurles on that very day when they came up short against a very strong and seasoned Birr team,” says the Clarinbridge captain. “I think, maybe, the experience stood to the Birr lads, but hopefully those same experiences will stand to our lads now, because we still have a couple of those guys involved.

“Obviously, it was very disappointing that day and we are still chasing that first elusive All-Ireland title. It was an experience for the club to be there (in 2002); it was such a big occasion. It definitely had a knock-on effect on me, and, hopefully, it will be the same for the younger members of the club when they see their friends, family and neighbours playing at the highest level on St Patrick’s Day.”

In many respects, that’s the beauty of it. There is not, for want of a better idiom, that ‘natural distance’ that exists between county players and their followers in the club scene. Quite the opposite. Those from the ’Bridge who turn out to support their own today will be tied by blood or friendship. That’s the way of the parish.

“It is brilliant for the entire parish,” beams Callanan. “There is no better feeling than playing for your club at any level really. It is a huge honour. We are just glad to be in this position and very fortunate to be here. At the end of the day, though, we have to treat this as just another game; we don’t want to be getting too carried away with any kind of hype.”

However, for Callanan and those who have soldiered with up along the grades – such as Eanna Murphy, Eoin Forde, Barry Daly and Conor Forde – a victory in today’s All-Ireland decider would represents a triumph of biblical proportions.

“We never won anything really (coming up through the underage ranks),” he notes. “At U-16, we did win an A2 county final alright (2002), but that was pretty much the height of it. We were very unlucky to come up a little bit short at minor level, losing out at county semi-final stage in the ‘A’ competition two years in a row. Then, at U-21, we lost out in a replay in the county final – it was deferred a year on from when it was supposed to be played – against Sarsfields (2008).

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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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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