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Classy Connacht slay the Dragons



Date Published: {J}

Connacht 16

Dragons 3

Rob Murphy in the Sportsground

Let’s have lots more of this. Connacht have found their stride and are now starting to express themselves. They are a team on a mission and for the first time in years they are playing with a swagger.

A sort of inner confidence that leads to days like Wednesday where the result was rarely in doubt and every player to a man, knew that.

Seven home games, six months and not one defeat. This St Patrick’s Day win was by far the most impressive of this run of results. The Dragons took nothing from this contest because Connacht owned proceedings for almost the entire game, they shut their opponents down and for the large part of the contest, picked off the chances when they were presented.

Last year Connacht ran in five tries and secured a bonus point against a hapless Dragons side. This time it was only the one against an improved Newport-based outfit, but for most Connacht fans this encounter will have brought far more satisfaction. The intensity of effort from the outset was palpable in fact numerous Dragons players felt the full force.

Connacht were on the money in the lineout, they were positively on top at scrum time and in the loose, they just were too powerful for their play-off chasing opponents. Adrian Flavin was back in the starting line up with Sean Cronin on the bench for Ireland and produced by far his best all round effort of the year.

That was just the start. Connacht went with a more powerful ball carrying second row pairing of Michael Swift and Mike McCarthy and were richly rewarded. Swift was instrumental in most of the good work his side produced throughout the game, one cameo second half moment – a ‘no-look’ pass out of the tackle – set up Ian Keatley’s third penalty.

Keatley is in the groove in the last few months, his in play kicking game is working a treat and he is getting his centres moving on the front foot. He had Conor O’Loughlin inside this time with Murphy out injured and the Buccaneers scrum half didn’t disappoint.

Connacht led through an early Keatley penalty and he doubled that with a more difficult kick on 10 minutes. The Dragons were barely able to readjust before the game’s crucial score game.

A breakout that started deep in their own territory with Gavin Duffy and was helped along by quick hands in the loose, finished with Fionn Carr getting Magners League try number five of a season where Connacht’s total is nine, Keatley converted and the lead was nine.

The Dragons gained a foothold in the 10 minutes before half time and Jason Tovey kicked an easy three points in front of the post but that was merely a brief lull for the home side.

Just after half time the east Wales outfit had one more onslaught on the Connacht line but superb scrummage work from Jamie Hagen and Brett Wilkinson along with phase upon phase of hard hitting defence in their own 22 kept their line intact.

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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