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Connacht men caught at post in late drama

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Date Published: {J}

Connacht 19

Glasgow 19

Rob Murphy at

the Sportsground

JUST when we thought we were going to get away with a handy little smash and grab, Eddie stole our thunder. No, not the Connacht mascot. It was James Eddie, the Glasgow blindside flanker who was the pivotal figure as he sprinted home in the corner for a try that should never have happened.

Connacht had the extra man because of Calum Forrester’s sin binning. They had a five point lead and Glasgow’s winger, Colin Shaw was out of the game injured. The home side had defended their lines for no less than 20 phases of play and all seemed to be

well, but a momentary lapse on the blindside opened the door and Eddie, the Glasgow eagle needing no second invitation.

The missed conversion offered solace in the shape of a draw. Connacht are now unbeaten in their last six home games. Now, there’s a positive stat amid the gloom of Friday’s end-game scenario. The fact that Michael Bradley’s crew have at least came away with points from their past two games is also encouraging.

In the past, Connacht have racked up the pointless outings with ease, but to turn the corner they were always going to have to start small and build. Losing bonus points and even scrambling draws in games where the performances leave a lot to be desired is a good sign overall. That is the long term route to finally getting off the bottom of the table.

That won’t happen this season, however. At best, Connacht will hope for three more wins and a couple of bonus points from the remainder of the season. That would provide solid momentum for crunch European fixtures ahead.

To make progress in Europe and become the first group of Connacht players to really deliver a crunch victory when the eyes of Europe are on them, major improvements on this display are needed.

Discipline is a problem, the pedantic refereeing of James Jones can irk the calmest of supporters on a good day. He frustrated the crowd on Friday but in his defence the 11-10 penalty count in favour of Glasgow is hardly scandalous and, of those, 21 calls it was hard to fault more than two.

His detractors will rightly point to some of the non calls as the best example of what the majority felt was a poor display. A key no call against Glasgow for holding on in that final attack was vital as was his inconsistent monitoring of the offside line.

Connacht didn’t really click for 50 minutes, interestingly they conceded all of their 11 penalties during that time and trailed 14-3 as a result of poor retention of possession, a lack of penetration out wide and a palpable sense of flatness for long periods.

Glasgow came to grind out the points missing 12 front line internationals. They are second in the Magners League table thanks to some brilliant form this year but this game was always going to be a major obstacle with a host of absentees. They’ll be happy with the two points gained.

Ruaridh Jackson kicked well, his penalties had them 6-3 ahead at half time after a drab opening forty minutes in which the visitors certainly commanded but one where they never looked like scoring a try.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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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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