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Carr hat-trick can’t save Connacht from away day blues



Date Published: 16-Sep-2010

Llanelli Scarlets 35

Connacht 33

Rob Murphy at

Parc y Scarlets

MIKE McComish collapsed off his feet on the final whistle, Jamie Hagen threw his arms in the air in frustration, the rest stood sullen and dejected as they emerged from under the posts after Stephen Jone’s missed conversion signalled the end of a contest that had just been won by the home side with an 87th minute try from Sean Lamont.

There really wasn’t much more that Connacht could have done in terms of commitment and endeavour in Llanelli on Saturday afternoon, their faults lay in finer fragments of the game and they can be tweaked in the coming weeks. A platform has clearly been built, however, with a foundation of self-belief and the freedom to adapt to what is in front of them.

Connacht are playing a slightly altered brand of rugby, a style grounded in logic, making maximum use of a small amount of possession and working hard without the ball. They are playing heads-up rugby with a focus on unlocking defences with quick hands and in two hair-raising outings they have notched up seven tries, 73 points and sit third in the table.

The defeat was a heartbreaker, but the winning try had been coming. Four minutes earlier the Scarlets had taken advantage of a poor clearance kick that stayed in play when touch was needed. They countered through Andy Fenby and the brilliant centre partnership of Regan King and Jon Davies. Play had been brought within inches of the Connacht line and the try was almost a formality.

Had the home side made better use of the four clean line breaks in the second half, they might not have needed such late heroics, while many of their handling errors were inflicted by the visitors, many were not, so Connacht did ride their luck a little.

So, based on chances created, the Scarlets deserved the victory. Yet you could ask, who cares? In the few away victories that come in the Magners League, you can bet your life that the home side will almost always have the better of the chances.

Winning away is not about dominating, it is about staying competitive, keeping within striking distance and taking the chance when it arrives. Connacht almost did that in a cracking contest.

Connacht led through two early Ian Keatley penalties (he kicked seven from seven) but trailed after the Scarlets scored 13 points in four minutes – a Jon Davies try that had a suspicious forward pass in it, while Stephen Jones kicked two penalties and a conversion.

Fionn Carr’s first try came from a brilliant restart won by the high rising Gavin Duffy combined with some great work from Hagen and Keatley. Level pegging then but Frank Murphy’s needless yellow card, for obstructing Fenby by sticking his arm out and catching Fenby around the neck after Fenby had kicked, preceded an injury time second try for the Scarlets created by a brilliant Davies pass for King to score under the posts, 20-13 at the break.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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