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Champs overcome early match wobbles

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 12-Nov-2009

COROFIN had their usual early rendezvous with danger before then slipping quite seamlessly into the victory comfort zone in this reasonably entertaining Connacht senior club championship semi-final at Tuam Stadium on Sunday.

The game did produce some decent segments of open football but this was a far cry from the intensity and passion of Corofin’s hard earned county final victory over Mountbellew – the Leitrim champions did play some ‘nice’ football early on, but lacked the staying power to maintain the challenge.

It was a benign November Sunday with a low sun and light breeze giving decent conditions, even if there was plenty of give in the ground, but this was never going to be a fixture to pull in the crowds and barely 900 souls ventured from their winter hearths to view the proceedings.

In fairness to the 200 or so travelling supporters from Glencar-Manorhamilton, who positioned themselves in the centre portion of the old stand, they added a fair dollop of atmosphere to the occasion – Leitrim are nothing if not passionate and committed.

Corofin are an entirely different breed though – calm and settled even as early tempests swirl around, and there were many times during the first quarter when a less assured side might have been tempted to press the panic button.

Glencar-Manorhamilton had looked very solid in defence, with midfielders Darren Sweeney and Aaron Hickey lording it in the air, while their forwards notched five quality points in the first 15 minutes as Corofin struggled at times to stay in touch.

Kieran Comer pointed three early frees for them although Glencar will feel that at least two of those awards by referee Declan Hunt were slightly fortuitous, but by the time the interval whistle sounded, Corofin had stealthily crept into a 0-8 to 0-5 lead.

As well as Comer’s frees, Joe Canney, Alan Burke, Ronan Steede, Ciaran McGrath and Aidan Donnellan also found the target to bypass Manorhamilton’s early point burst from James Glancy (2), David Poniard, Brian McDonald and Gerry Hickey.

There was one more dying kick in Glencar-Manorhamilton which came in the opening eight minutes of the second half when two points from James Glancy reduced the deficit to one – at 0-8 to 0-7 – but as the midway juncture of the second half approached, the crucial incident of the game arrived.

The score was no great surprise as Corofin had gradually began to prise open the Manorhamilton defence and often with the longer, more direct ball. Alan Burke’s 43rd minute point effort achieved elevation rather than distance, ironically the mis-hit shot was to have a very positive spin-off for Corofin – the ball broke to Eddie Steede and after his shot was parried by keeper Shane Sweeney, Kieran Comer was on hand to finish the rebound to the net.

There was no way back for Glencar-Manorhamilton after that score and even if their admirably spirited supporters still cheered their side to the death, Corofin were far too efficient and clinical to leave any recovery roadway open.

Michael Farragher, Ciaran McGrath and sub Shane Monaghan added on points, before Farragher finished an Alan Burke cross to the net in injury time, to give Corofin a somewhat flattering 10 point winning margin.

The 2-13 to 0-9 final statistic was more than a tad harsh on a Glencar-Manorhamilton side that produced some excellent passages of play at the beginning of both halves, but as a lot of club sides in Galway discovered this year, it takes a very sustained effort to overcome Corofin.

Gerry Keane’s side are seldom spectacular, they might be short a couple of physically powerful players, but to a man they are comfortable on the ball. They’re all ‘handy’ footballers and they work hard too.

Keeper Shane Sweeney, Adrian O’Flynn, Patrick Gilmartin, Darren Sweeney and James Glancy all fought the good fight for the Leitrim champions but over the hour, despite their enthusiastic spurts, they fell a good measure short of matching Corofin’s overall team balance.

David Morris as usual kicked out prodigiously for Corofin but had little to do from play, again a tribute to his defenders, with Damien Burke, Cathal Silke and Tony Goggins giving very little away.

Greg Higgins and Aidan Donnellan started slowly in midfield but got a decent break after the first quarter while all six starting forwards of Michael Farragher, Ciarán McGrath, Ronan Steede, Kieran Comer, Joe Canney and Alan Burke never stopped looking for work.Significantly too, all of them scored from play.

There have been spicier days in Tuam Stadium but one of the biggest quandaries which faced the press box contingent in the closing minutes was in trying to pick a man-of-the-match.

In the end, Ciarán McGrath got the nod but it could have been any one of about a half dozen Corofin players – that probably says it all about their team display.

One final caveat to this match, on the leeway that close-in freetakers are being allowed by referees in terms of stealing yardage when kicking frees from the hand.

On more than one occasion last Sunday, frees from relatively difficult angles were transformed into pretty straight pots at goal, with four to five yards being clipped off the angle as the freetaker ‘pinched’ a few paces in the run-up.

Out the field it matters little, but within the scoring zone, on a tight day, this could be the difference between victory and defeat.

Corofin: D. Morris; G. Delaney, D. Burke, C. Silke; D. Keane, T. Goggins, G. Sice; G. Higgins, A. Donnellan 0-1; M. Farragher 1-2, C. McGrath 0-2, R. Steede 0-2; K. Comer 1-3, 0-3 frees, J. Canney 0-1, A. Burke 0-1. Subs.: S. Monaghan 0-1 for Delaney (43), J. Burke for Steede (53).

Glencar/Manorhamilton: S. Sweeney; J. O’Brien, A. O’Flynn, P. Maguire; J. Gilmartin, P. Gilmartin, D. Poniard 0-1; D. Sweeney, A. Hickey 0-1; D. Kelly, C. Ryan, B. McDonald 0-1; A. Croal, G. Hickey 0-1, J. Glancy 0-5 (4 frees). Subs.: T. McDonald for Poniard (34), A. McDonald for O’Brien (38), F. McGourty for B. McDonald (45), A. Sweeney for Ryan (49), S. Kerrigan for Croal (54). Referee: Declan Hunt (Roscommon).

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy



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

Henshaw and McSharry set to field for Irish Wolfhounds in clash with England Saxons

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

CONNACHT’S rising stars Robbie Henshaw and Dave McSharry look set to named in the starting xv for the Ireland Wolfhounds who face the England Saxons in Galway this weekend when the team is announced later today (Thursday).

Robbie Henshaw is the only out-and-out full-back that was named Tuesday in the 23-man squad that will take on the English at the Sportsground this Friday (7.45pm).

Connacht’s centre McSharry and Ulster’s Darren Cave are the only two specialist centres named in the 23 man squad, which would also suggest the two youngsters are in line for a starting place.

Former Connacht out-half, Ian Keatley, Leinster’s second out-half Ian Madigan and Ulster’s number 10 Paddy Jackson and winger Andrew Trimble, although not specialist full-backs or centres, can all slot into the 12, 13 and 15 jerseys, however you’d expect the Irish management will hand debuts to Henshaw and McSharry given that they’ll be playing on their home turf.

Aged 19, Henshaw was still playing Schools Cup rugby last season. The Athlone born Connacht Academy back burst onto the scene at the beginning of the season when he filled the number 15 position for injured captain Gavin Duffy.

The Marist College and former Ireland U19 representative was so assured under the high ball, so impressive on the counter-attack and astute with the boot, that he retained the full-back position when Duffy returned from injury.

Connacht coach Eric Elwood should be commended for giving the young Buccaneers clubman a chance to shine and Henshaw has grasped that opportunity with both hands, lighting up the RaboDirect PRO 12 and Heineken Cup campaigns for the Westerners this season.

Henshaw has played in all 19 of Connacht’s games this season and his man-of-the-match display last weekend in the Heineken Cup against Zebre caught the eye of Irish attack coach, Les Kiss.

“We’re really excited about his development. He had to step into the breach when Connacht lost Gavin Duffy, and he was playing 13 earlier in the year. When he had to put his hand up for that, he’s done an exceptional job,” Kiss said.

The 22-year-old McSharry was desperately unlucky to miss out on Declan Kidney’s Ireland squad for the autumn internationals and the Dubliner will relish the opportunity this Friday night to show-off his speed, turn of foot, deft hands and finishing prowess that has been a mark of this season, in particular, with Connacht.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Drinks battle brewing as kettle sales go off the boil

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 30-Jan-2013

You’d have thought there might have been three certainties in Irish life – death, taxes and the cup of tea – but it now seems that our post-tiger sophistication in endangering the consumption of the nation’s second favourite beverage.

Because with all of our new-fangled coffee machines, percolators, cappuccino and expresso makers, sales of the humble kettle are falling faster than our hopes of a write-off on the promissory note.

And even when we do make tea, we don’t need a tea pot – it’s all tea bags these days because nobody wants a mouthful of tea leaves, unless they’re planning to have their fortune told.

Sales of kettles are in decline as consumers opt for fancy coffee makers, hot water dispensers and other methods to make their beverages – at least that’s the case in the UK and there’s no reason to think it’s any different here.

And it’s only seems like yesterday when, if the hearth was the heart of every home, the kettle that hung over the inglenook fireplace or whistled gently on the range, was the soul.

You’d see groups gathered in bogs, footing turf and then breaking off to boil the battered old kettle for a well-earned break.

The first thing that happened when you dropped into someone’s home was the host saying: “Hold on until I stick on the kettle.”

When the prodigal son arrived home for the Christmas, first item on the agenda was a cup of tea; when bad news was delivered, the pain was eased with a cuppa; last thing at night was tea with a biscuit.

The arrival of electric kettles meant there was no longer an eternal search for matches to light the gas; we even had little electric coils that would boil water into tea in our cup if you were mean enough or unlucky enough to be making tea for one.

We went away on sun holidays, armed with an ocean of lotion and a suitcase full of Denny’s sausages and Barry’s Tea. Spanish tea just wasn’t the same and there was nothing like a nice brew to lift the sagging spirits.

We even coped with the arrival of coffee because for a long time it was just Maxwell House or Nescafe granules which might have seemed like the height of sophistication – but they still required a kettle.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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