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Comer is geared up for St. Gall’s challenge

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

Dara Bradley

IT’S amazing how a good clipping can focus the mind. It was early June. Reigning County and Connacht champions Corofin were embarking on their first outing of the 2009 championship campaign and underdogs Micheál Breathnachs beat them out the gap.

It’s not often Gaeltacht sides, or any other team for that matter, runs rings around Galway’s most successful senior club team in the county for the past two decades.

“Breathnachs wiped us off the field that day,” admits Corofin captain Kieran Comer this week, as he prepares for this Sunday’s All-Ireland AIB Club Championship semi-final clash with St Gall’s.

“We just never got going and they deserved to win it. We knew we weren’t as bad as we played. We had a meeting with all the players and management a few days after the Breathnachs match and we asked ‘do we want to go further or just throw it all in and give up’. It probably was the kick in the ass we needed.”

On that summer’s day in Pearse Stadium, you’d have got long odds on Corofin surviving until St Patrick’s Day – now they are just an hour away from making it back to Croke Park for the first time in 12 years.

The North Galway kingpins luckily had a safety net – the backdoor. A ‘bye’ in the next round gave the champs time to regroup and lick wounds. They subsequently needed extra-time to see off An Cheathru Rua and two bites of the cherry against Mountbellew/Moylough in the county final.

Corofin basically stuttered out of Galway but have built momentum since with solid wins over the Leitrim and Mayo champions in the Connacht series and now – with a bit of luck – the Belclare man hopes they are peaking just at the right time.

“It took us a while to get motoring this year and w

e were lucky enough to get out of Galway. There was nothing between the teams in Galway this year; every game was close. We just took every game as it came.

“I suppose it was difficult to motivate ourselves, especially after last year when we were going training from January (2008) to the following February.

“I know last year was a long year (because of an All-Ireland quarter-final match against Tir Chonaill Gaels in London last January) – we didn’t really stop training at all. This year we’ve had more time off, we had a few days rest. It’s nice to get the break. Training has been going well and it’s just a case of getting match fit – there’s a big difference between being fit and being match fit,” he says.

Of course the defeat at the hands of Breathnachs wasn’t so unexpected in hindsight. Remember, this was a Corofin outfit still hurting – and probably still tired – from the 2008 campaign which ended with in defeat to Dublin’s Kilmacud Crokes in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final.

How much will that defeat, which brought Corofin’s number of losses at the All-Ireland semi-final stage to three out of four attempts – play on their minds going into Sunday’s clash?

For more, read page 56 of this week’s Galway City 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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Archive News

Ruby ready to rock again and Bob is worth a big flutter in Gold Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 06-Mar-2013

New edge to Galway hurling championship title pursuit

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A battle of talent and the ability to pull in public votes

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 11-Mar-2013

Here is a question. And there is no holiday or grand prize for getting the answer. But can anyone name the people who have won The Voice of Ireland and what has become of them?

Over across the water in the UK they have The X Factor and while I hate the concept of it, it has produced a few stars even though they don’t last long in the whole scheme of things.

But The Voice of Ireland seems to generate false excitement with the winner ending up become more anonymous than they already were. And it is costing families a fortune in the process.

While the programme is a ratings winner, strangely, it has resulted in those getting through to the final stages investing huge amounts of money in the hope that they will receive enough votes to get through to the next stages.

So, suddenly, it is not about the voice or the talent involved, it is all about votes and who the participants can convince to pledge their support for them. So it is obvious that talent goes out the window.

It means that someone with half a talent could realistically win the whole thing if they generated enough support behind them. From now on, the judges will be taken out of the equation and it will be left to the public to generate income for some phone operator.

Those who get through to the live performances have to engage in a massive publicity campaign in an effort to win votes which makes this whole effort a pure sham. It is no longer about their ability and just an effort to win appeal.

While the initial process does involve some vetting of the acts, now it becomes a general election type exercise in which the most popular will win the competition and the judges will have no say whatsoever.

It is a bit like the recent Eurosong in which the judging panel across the country voted for their favourite song, which incidentally was the best of a very bad lot, but then this was overturned by the public who chose a relatively crap song to represent us.

But again, this was all down to convincing the public about who to vote for rather than having any bearing on the quality on offer. There are times that genuine talent becomes overlooked because of the need to extract money from the voting public.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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