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Cannon goal helps Athenry reach the Junior Cup decider



Date Published: 11-Apr-2012

Mervue United 0

Athenry FC 1

Mike Rafferty

IF Conor Cannon’s goal was the highlight of Sunday’s Connacht Junior Cup semi-final, the main talking point afterwards was the dismissal of Benny Lawless for a second yellow card that rules him out of the final.

Although hardly a classic, it was still a competitive contest between two good teams who defended very well and where confrontation and commitment were very much to the fore. Despite eight yellow cards been issued, it couldn’t be described as an unsavoury clash.

Without a doubt the attacking highlight of the day arrived on 78 minutes as Athenry made the vital breakthrough. Seamie Crowe started the move with a delivery down the flank to Ray Moran. His pull back from the byline was met by the head of Cannon as he won the race between two defenders and goalkeeper Ryan Griffin to get the vital touch.

On only one other occasion was Griffin really extended and that followed an Alan O’Donovan corner on 31 minutes, when the custodian did well to block Gary Forde’s close range shot with his legs.

At the other end, Athenry custodian David McDonagh almost didn’t require the gloves at all. Such was the protection afforded to him, he never had a save to make all day. Sure, there was some routine handling, but his most serious moments came at set pieces, which he dealt with competently.

Chances certainly were at a premium throughout, with Forde finding the side netting following a Crowe free kick in the opening minutes. Cannon volleyed over, before a Moran delivery found no allies as it flew across the face of goal.

At the other end, Brian Meaney and Dara Ryan shot well over before a Tommy Walsh free kick was deflected away by the defensive wall. Colie Kelly did direct an effort at McDonagh, while Stephen Rabbitte did likewise at Griffin, in the closing minutes of the half.

The home side certainly enjoyed the majority of possession and territory in the second half, but everything had broken down by the time they got to the edge of the Athenry area. Here Packie Byrne and Ronan Kinneen repelled challenge after challenge and backed up by willing colleagues, they continued to frustrate the home side.

Mervue too must have been driven demented by their inability to create any worthwhile opportunities, as not once did they hit the target in that second half.

An Owen Concannon free kick just banged into the defensive wall, while a Dara Ryan header was always rising as he got on the end of a Walsh corner. Concannon, Ryan and Cunningham combined, but Kinneen intervened to block the latter close to goal.

The Athenry breakthrough on 78 minutes was certainly against the run of play, but Cannon’s header was to provide the only highlight in the attacking stakes throughout the ninety minutes. Minutes later, the atmosphere wasn’t helped by the flashing of yet another yellow card, that will certainly ruin Lawless’s conclusion to the season.

Though the defensive cover of the visitors can certainly take a lot of the credit for their victory, some of the almost new, younger, and fresher generation of Ray Moran, Cathal Fahy and Conor Cannon deserve special mention as their work rate and closing down of the opposition was such a vital part of the success.

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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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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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