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Connacht back to winning ways in Magners League



Date Published: 04-Apr-2011

by Rob Murphy

It certainly wasn’t clinical but this bonus point home win is more evidence of the progress Connacht are making this season, a sixth straight home victory on Friday helped regain momentum lost in Italy last week and pushes Connacht a little closer to their goal of at least a top eight finish.

It is no exaggeration to suggest that Connacht could have had seven tries in this contest. They had to settle for four, and the first of those came after just one minute with Fionn Carr demonstrating that he’s back to his best by finishing after a thrilling break from Gavin Duffy on the counter and good link play from Carr himself, then Ray Ofisa before the flying winger took the return pop pass out of the tackle and crashed over to score the quickest try of the Magners League season so far.

That start wasn’t built on, although Connacht certainly created more opportunities in the opening quarter, Edinburgh responded through Craig Laidlaw before edging in front when Scott Newlands showed tremendous power and agility to finish off in the corner after a superb pass from British Lion Mike Blair.

While Ian Keatley’s penalty on 28th minutes brought Connacht a little closer, it got worse when James King crashed through the over eager home defence and drove on towards the line for a second try. The centre showed great power but it was a major lapse and the lead was 17-8.

Connacht’s fightback began with just a couple minutes remaining in the half, a frantic series of attacks saw them keep the ball in motion with Mike McCarthy and Bernie Upton linking to get the ball out to Keatley his pass to Brian Tuohy on the wing created the chance, the winger charged towards the line off loaded brilliantly to Carr who was tackled without the ball.

A penalty try and a yellow card to Nick De Luca left Edinburgh reeling and Connacht were back in it, it got better almost from the restart as they attacked again, this time through Duffy who made a scything break before finding Carr on his inside shoulder, the winger was once again on hand to finish the chance for a 22-17 lead.

The contest remained frenetic in the second half Laidlaw kicked Edinburgh back within two just after half time but a try on 60 minutes wrapped up the bonus for Connacht and extended the lead. Keatley’s deft kick behind the advancing defensive line was perfectly judged for Duffy to crown a fine performance with a try.

Laidlaw kicked a penalty in the closing stages to raise Edinburgh hopes but Connacht stood firm thanks to a hard working defensive line, led well by Keith Matthews celebrating his 100th cap in fine style, up front Adrian Flavin came off the bench to make his century also.

See full coverage in this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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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