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Connacht almost grab rare away win at the death



Date Published: {J}

Ospreys 19

Connacht 17

Connacht almost ended their dismal away form in the Magners league on Sunday night at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea. They went down 19-17 but had chances to win in a frantic finale and certainly earned their bonus point. The first point away from home for nearly two years.

The performance came against an Ospreys side short of numerous front line players but whereas in the past that hasn’t stopped sides cutting lose on Connacht, this time the overall effort was encouraging and it fits in with a trend of better away displays this season.

In games away to Cardiff and the Dragons, Connacht have been in the hunt for victory for the majority of the contest and the Challenge Cup wins at Worcester and Montpellier merely adds weight to the feeling that the concerted effort to put their strongest team out for away games has boosted morale and allowed momentum to build.


All that being said, the Connacht squad will take little solace from the bonus point gained here because there was more than enough reason to suggest they should have garnered more from this contest. They were outscored two tries to one and trailed by as much as 13 at one stage but, for a large part of this contest, the visitors were the better side.

The opening 15 minutes were evenly balanced, Dan Biggar scored on eight minutes for the Ospreys with a penalty but Ian Keatley responded in kind four minutes later for Connacht. It could have been more had Sean Cronin not being snagged inches from the line by Jamie Nutbrown.

Biggar’s kicking was letting the home side down, he missed two penalties as Connacht’s early discipline problems went unchecked but the game swung in favour of the Ospreys on 17 minutes when the brilliant Gareth Owen ran onto a pass from full back and beat Niva Ta’auso, on his outside shoulder, to canter home from 30 metres.

The Connacht centre had been treated for an injury minutes earlier and was clearly struggling by the time Owen beat him. It certainly appeared as though the hesitation in replacing him proved costly. The missed conversion was a reprieve but the Ospreys led 8-3.

Connacht had the better the second quarter of the contest but couldn’t get that all important try. George Naoupu put in a standout display all night and he could have had a try after he blocked Nutbrown’s clearance kick from a lineout five metres from the Ospreys line. The big Connacht number eight was held up over the line.

Minutes later Conor O’Loughlin made a superb break but he failed to find the supporting Keith Matthews on the inside and instead went to Naoupu on his right who was brought down short of the line. Keatley did manage a penalty but Biggar had one for the Ospreys within minutes and they led 11-6 at the break.

The Ospreys won the contest in the first 10 minutes of the second half. The good teams always kick on in that period and Connacht have yet to master the art of dealing with such early onslaughts. Biggar’s penalty after Fionn Carr was badly caught out stretched the lead to eight but it was to get worse minutes later.

For more, read page 54 of this week’s Connacht 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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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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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