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Close call against St. Michael’s was making of Salthill: manager Hughes

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Date Published: 18-Oct-2012

ALMOST every team that wins a county title can look back on a decisive juncture in their journey to glory and say: ‘That was the making of us’.

For the 2012 Galway senior football champions, that ‘wake-up call’ came in the second round of the championship in June when they were on the brink of a shock exit to neighbouring club and city rivals, St Michael’s.

One of the quirky flaws in the local championship is that first round winners can be drawn in the second round against the teams they beat the first time out, which was exactly what happened to Salthill who faced a side they’d hammered in round one, St Michael’s, who had emerged through the back-door with a win over Moycullen.

Salthill won the first day in May with eight points to spare but they were so superior it could have been far greater a margin. The following outing, a knockout clash a month later, was far from convincing and it’s not exaggeration to say that Gerry Hughes’ charges were extremely lucky to get out of Pearse Stadium that day with a win, by the skin of their teeth.

In hindsight it was a make or break game: It could have broken them – literally, they could and probably should have been dumped out of the title race – but instead it made them, informing their attitude for the remainder of the campaign.

What Salthill learned that day is that better players and a better brand of football doesn’t necessarily always translate into success; and what St Michael’s taught them was that a high level of work rate and intensity can allow so called weaker teams to perform in the whole, greater than the sum of their parts.

“Our first couple of games against St Michael’s we were favourites to beat them, but St Michael’s almost had us gone out of the championship on our second day of the championship. They put in a mighty performance that day, worked very hard, and we were lucky.

 

“We talked about that game a lot afterwards and we said that the kind of effort St Michael’s put in that second day was what we had to get into our team. We needed to get that work rate,” said Hughes, who said that same work rate that was lacking in the scare earlier in the summer was the vital ingredient to Salthill’s success on Sunday.

“The key to winning the game today was work rate from our team. We’d be known as a good footballing team, which we are, but to match the work rate to go along with that was the key for us today. We knew Tuam would run at us all day and that they’d go for the fifty-fifty balls and we said we’d have to do that and match them in intensity and tackling and work rate. That work rate and the fact that we have some nice footballers paid off for us,” he said.

This is the Belfast native’s second year over the seniors and he believes the management team learned from the mistakes of the previous campaign when Salthill came up short against Tuam at the semi-final stage after a replay. “We were disappointed last year. It was my first year in charge. I always knew they had ability, I’ve been in the club over 15 years, and I’ve known a lot of them, seen them growing up and coming through underage and on to minor and some of them going on and playing for the county. So I knew they had ability all right, and it just came together this year with everyone pulling in the same direction.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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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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