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Connacht almost grab rare away win at the death

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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

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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Archive News

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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