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Connacht come off the rails in Wales



Date Published: 05-Oct-2010

CONNACHT’S sparkling start to the season was halted in Wales on Thursday as the Blues dug out an important win on home soil.

Cardiff had a brighter first half hour where they built up a 16-3 lead thanks to poor handling from the visitors and a key error in the defensive line, but those mistakes were half the story as the Blues’ clinical finishing can’t be ignored.

Dan Parks had put them 9-3 ahead with two penalties and a drop goal in response to an early Ian Kealtey strike and Casey Laulala got the try beating Niva Ta’auso in the line and driving through the gap.

The positive for Elwood and Connacht will be in the way they picked up their game and fought back after half time. For most of the third quarter of this contest Connacht were much the better side coming back to 16-6 and having chances to add a much needed try.

Taking those chances was the issue, however, and the Blues slowly grew in confidence as a result of this.

Late long range penalties from Dan Parks and superb strike from Leigh Halfpenny took the losing bonus point out of reach late on.

In the end, though, the home side managed just the one try, Connacht have conceded just two in three games now which backs up the clear impression that Connacht’s defence has improved immensely on last season.

There were other major positives, like for example the performance of Adrian Flavin and Andrew Browne who came into the side for their first starts. Then there was the immensely impressive return of Johnny O’Connor after half time.

The ridiculously short five day turnaround and logistical nightmare of a getting to Cardiff during the Ryder Cup added to the mitigating factors, but Elwood and his team will regret a number of missed chances in the contest.

In the first half, Connacht lived off scraps and didn’t retain possession nearly enough but they had numerous counter attacking line breaks with Fionn Carr at the heart of most of them.

Right on half time a tap and go penalty from Frank Murphy should have yielded a try but ended with a dropped pass in a move that summed up the so near/so far feel to the attacking play of the westerners.

Overall though, a mid-table placing and 12 points from five games represents a brilliant start for Elwood and co.

A trip to Prato in Italy next weekend awaits in the Challenge Cup with Bayonne at home the following Friday before Leinster visit the Sportsground on October 23.

Elwood has made no secret of the fact that the Challenge Cup is second in his priorities this season and that Leinster game will loom large but the draw offers a real chance to start with two wins and have a go at Harlequins in December.


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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Archive News

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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