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Cody has no final agenda Ð go pull the other one!

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 05-Sep-2012

IF Brian Cody had his way, the referee for Sunday’s All-Ireland hurling final would basically keep his whistle silent and let the two teams at it. It’s not so much that the long serving Kilkenny manager is advocating a lawless struggle for supremacy, but he would definitely prefer if Barry Kelly isn’t a central figure in Croke Park.

Cody has already gone on record about his fears over how the All-Ireland will be officiated after their bitter semi-final collision against Tipperary. Though he feels Kilkenny got the raw end of the stick in the physical exchanges and their camp understandably remains enraged over the bad hand injury sustained by Michael Rice, he still doesn’t want a whistle-happy referee on duty against Galway.

The man who has already guided Kilkenny to eight All-Ireland titles claims that he has no ‘agenda’, but Cody is a wise old Cat and rarely strays into controversy. He pre-match and post-match interviews tend to be inoffensively bland, but when he has a cause to fight, especially when it comes to referees, there is no beating about the bush.

He demands that the Kilkenny players live on the edge in the physical exchanges and the James Stephens clubman is concerned that their approach might be compromised if Kelly adopts a strict application of the rules. Cody knows that the tougher Sunday’s final is, the better it will suit Kilkenny.

Like his squad, the Kilkenny boss is itching to set the record straight after their embarrassment in the Leinster final. It represented the third time that Galway have inflicted a championship defeat on the Noresiders during his protracted reign, but that recent July pummelling hurt them to the core.

They were never in the contest; were comprehensively outhurled; trailed by 16 points at one stage; only registered a single score from play in the opening-half; and came out second best in the intensity stakes – all things which are an anathema to Kilkenny under Cody.

It surely was a once off and having hammered Galway by 25 points in this season’s National League campaign, they were probably somewhat complacent for the Leinster final, especially having strolled past a Dublin team they had perceived as the big threat in the provincial semi-final. They possibly didn’t rate Galway and paid the price for it.

Yet, it would be insulting to the Tribesmen’s fantastic display to suggest the gulf in the scoreboard was largely down to Kilkenny’s attitude. Galway served up a magnificent exhibition of hurling which no team would have lived with on the day and, frankly, they could have won by more. It was almost perfection – both on and off the field. Cunningham, Kenny and Helebert rose superbly to the challenge on the sideline too.

Intermittingly down through the years, Galway have served up swashbuckling performances which had the opposition running from cover, but were generally found wanting when it came to following through. So far in the 2012 championship, the team has achieved a level of consistency which has taken them past the challenges of Westmeath, Offaly, Kilkenny and Cork. In no game, did the spectre of defeat really hang over Galway though the Rebels did keep the issue in some doubt for much of the semi-final.

They should also draw huge confidence from the manner in which they dismantled Kilkenny in the provincial decider. It wasn’t players in blue or gold, or red, or green jerseys which shook Irish sport in early July; it was players in maroon jerseys. Yes, Brian Hogan and his team-mates may have taken their eye of the ball, but some of Galway’s hurling was of a breathtaking standard.

We all know that Kilkenny will be a different beast on Sunday and two of their heavyweights, JJ Delaney and Michael Fennelly, who missed the Leinster final, are going at full throttle again, but it’s still hard to fathom why a number of Galway fans are so unqualified downbeat about the outcome. They can’t see anything other than defeat for the Tribesmen with some openly fearful of a drubbing.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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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