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Collapse in Castlebar

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

CIARAN TIERNEY

FROM the trauma of Tullamore to the collapse in Castlebar, this summer certainly has been rough on Galway GAA fans who could see both of the county’s flagship teams go out of the championship within a fortnight after yet another tale of woe from MacHale Park on Sunday.

The gloom which seems to have engulfed Galway sports teams during this washout of a summer showed no signs of abating as the footballers bowed out of the Connacht Championship with a whimper, before being handed a tough draw away to Meath in the All-Ireland qualifiers.

As if the hurlers’ collapse against Dublin in the Leinster semi-final was not demoralising enough, if anything the footballers outdid their small ball counterparts with one of the worst championship displays by a team in maroon and white in a provincial semi-final in years.

They managed one solitary point in the whole of the second half, as the appalling conditions set the mood for the few Galway followers who were very much in the minority in a crowd of 19,375.

With so many players out of position, and failing to come anywhere near the level of performance required, there were few positives to be taken from a fixture in which the Tribesmen managed to score only seven times.

On the basis of this performance, they will face Meath in Navan on Saturday week with trepidation. Michael Meehan might have made his long-awaited return after 14 months on the sideline, but this Galway side will not fancy taking on a Meath side who scored 5-8 (including four Cian Ward goals) against Louth on Saturday.

Meath away was always going to be one of the toughest possible draws from the qualifiers, a much stiffer task than the home game against Wexford which ended in a disappointing defeat and the end of Joe Kernan’s reign 12 months ago.

The game on Saturday week will be a repeat of the 2001 All-Ireland final between the counties, but for Galway followers the fear is that it will only serve to highlight how much the Tribesmen have fallen since the dizzy heights of that September afternoon almost ten years ago.

The slight improvement in form at the end of the League had given Galway followers false hope, as the reality is that Armagh have slipped away from the top tier in Ulster and Dublin were only going through the motions after qualifying for the final before the last game.

On Sunday, Galway looked like a Division Two side, bereft of ideas, and should have lost by more than the six point margin at the finish (1-12 to 1-6).

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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

images/files/images/x3_Courthouse.jpg

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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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