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Clarinbridge can withstand fierce effort from Gort



Date Published: {J}


REIGNING county and All-Ireland club champions Clarinbridge face their stiffest test to date in the defence of their two crowns when they meet a strong Gort side – seeking their first senior title in 28 years – in the county decider at Pearse Stadium on Sunday (2:30pm).

Given the respective showings of the teams in the 2011 championship – each have only lost one game in the group stage – this promises to be an absolutely cracking contest between two sides that promote all that is good about club hurling.

For the champions’ part, they have posted a solid campaign so far, with the only blip a shock 3-13 to 1-11 defeat to Turloughmore in the group stages. Despite that loss, they still topped Group C with wins over Sarsfields, St. Thomas’ and Castlegar to advance to the knockout stages, where Mullagh awaited them in the quarter-finals.

It was in this Autumn fixture that the credentials of the ‘Bridge were most seriously tested. Although Mullagh scored in injury-time to send the tie to a replay, Johnny Lee’s outfit was forced to dig deep in the closing stages to come from behind to keep alive their aspirations of back-to-back titles. They subsequently won the replay on the comprehensive scoreline of 2-14 to 0-10.

Still, it was their performance against local rivals Craughwell in the semi-final that has suggested they may be just hitting peak form at exactly the right time. In the first half alone, all six of their starting forwards found the target as the ‘Bridge led 0-9 to 0-6 at the half-time break. They finished the contest as 0-18 to 0-13 winners.

“We were happy to get through to the final,” says Clarinbridge manager Lee who, aside from a few niggly injuries, looks to have a full complement of players for the decider. “Craughwell put up a stern test, as we expected, and we were just hoping we could get the scores, which we did, to swing the match in our favour. That said, we do have good forwards and it is always a big help when there is such a spread of scorers throughout the team in a game like that.”

Indeed, Clarinbridge wore the mantle of All-Ireland champions superbly in that penultimate tie, playing with a flair and confidence one associates with a team at the height of its powers. However, Lee insists one of the most impressive attributes of his players is that they take nothing for granted and that has been central to their bid for back-to-back titles.

“Since the All-Ireland and the commencement of the current campaign, the ambitions, all along, have been kept fairly modest,” continues Lee. “The players have never looked beyond the next game. There is a maturity there where they take just every step as it comes and it has been this approach that has seen them through to the county final.

“So, we have never discussed that issue [back-to-back titles] specifically. This is a very focused group of players and the mantra [just taking it one game at a time] has worked well for them. As I said, they have never looked too far ahead and the most important game for them has always been the next one. And after that, it has been the next one again.”

In any event, 2008 finalists Gort now stand between them the club’s third Tom Callanan Cup. “Gort are a very formidable outfit. They have won a couple of U-21 titles in the last few years [2009 & 2010] and, to be fair, they are the favourites of many people at this stage. It has come together well for them, in particular against Loughrea in the quarter-final and St. Thomas’ in the semi-final. There is no doubt in my mind, that they are a very good team, one that can create and take their chances.”

For Clarinbridge’s part, he says they will approach this as just another game but, if anything, the Clare native has become a master of down-play over the course of this championship. In this respect, his succinct management of various issues – such as the senior players’ loss of the trip to Australia and now the fact his charges have to take to the field for the fifth week in a row – has been excellent.

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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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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