Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Archive News

Connacht bow out but they have a team now



Date Published: {J}

THE Heineken Cup may have tantalisingly remained out of Connacht’s reach for another season, but the province has finally assembled a quality squad with which they can go to war with next autumn. Of course, it will be no consolation to the Connacht players in the wake of last Friday’s epic effort against Toulon, but when the wounds heal and the disappointment fades, they will start to appreciate that rugby in the West has never been in a better place.

It’s a fitting legacy for Michael Bradley to leave after over six arduous seasons as Connacht coach. There were many bad days and some terrible thrashings along the way, but the former Irish scrum half never complained or bemoaned his sporting station in life. He remained utterly dedicated to the Connacht cause and the province owes him a massive debt of gratitude.

Bradley hands over a team with no little prospects to Eric Elwood.

Having been one of the 7,000 supporters who thronged the Sportsground for last Friday’s Amlin Cup semi-final, it was an evening to savour. The electric atmosphere spoke volumes for the manner in which the local sporting community have rallied behind the team and, boy, did they get a performance worthy of the occasion. To a man, Connacht died with their boots on with captain John Muldoon setting the tone in the opening moments.

In terms of the rival squads’ budgets, this should have been a no contest, but Connacht refused to be daunted by the huge challenge ahead of them. They fronted up spectacularly to their classy French visitors with Michael Swift, Sean Cronin and Johnny O’Connor repeatedly laying their bodies on the line in the high intensity exchanges. Behind them, Ian Keatley was deadly accurate with his place kicking as Connacht remained extremely competitive for the entire 80 plus minutes of action.

The spectacular fielding of Gavin Duffy at full back was inspirational and as the match drifted to half-time, Connacht were only three points behind despite Toulon having the benefit of the elements. Unfortunately, the match officials missed what appeared to be a blatant knock on in the build up to what eventually amounted to ten minutes of added time. That period was monopolised by repeated Toulon five-yard scrums which led to the home team being penalised on numerous occasions.

The Connacht scrum was starting to wilt and tighthead Jamie Hagen, already officially warned, was replaced by Robbie Morris. Had they held out, the odds would have favoured the home team going on to achieve the province’s greatest ever victory, but Toulon remained patient and, eventually, they broke through for the only try of the evening thanks to centre Mali Kufu. It was a sickening time to concede, but Connacht didn’t let their heads drop.

Roared on by their fanatical supporters, they went on to carry the battle to Toulon on the resumption. Now, it was Connacht who were dominating territory and possession. They came close on a couple of occasions to breeching their opponents line, notably through Cronin, and Toulon were desperately hanging on, but that vital try remained elusive. In the end, only seven points separated them from the rising force of European rugby.

To a man, Connacht can feel justifiably proud of a Trojan effort. Naturally, they will be bitterly disappointed at the result, especially with both Munster and Leinster also coming to grief over the weekend – a scenario which eliminated the province’s last chance of securing Heineken Cup rugby next season. Muldoon and his team-mates deserved a better fate than that, but they have now laid a strong platform for next season.

For more, read 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

Continue Reading

Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


Continue Reading

Archive News

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.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads