Date Published: 17-Sep-2009
A NEW approach is needed for Connacht’s away games and the first step for the brains trust in charge of Connacht rugby would be to give Brian Kerr a call to see how he mentally prepares his squad of plucky minnows for away trips.
Connacht are becoming the Faroe Islands of professional rugby in this part of the world. Hopelessly outclassed time and again on their travels but brave and fearless to the end at home, be it in defeat or the odd victory.
Edinburgh ran riot against Connacht in the second half after an even opening 40 minutes where the men in green had plenty of possession but never looked like scoring a try. The home side had pounced twice to lead by 20-6.
From the restart the Scots steamrolled their hapless opponents with six more tries in a display that Connacht coach Michael Bradley honestly called ’embarrassing’. It was, but we are getting used to it at this stage.
It’s time everyone just accepted that keeping the score down on these trips is the only realistic target. In the past year Northampton and Llanelli have put 40 points on them, Ulster and Cardiff have managed 50, Edinburgh broke 60 and London Irish managed 70 points. All in 12 months. A target of conceding less than 30 for their trip to Newport next month should be all this squad speaks of in the build up.
Edinburgh are probably 20 points a better team than Connacht at the moment, they have class throughout their ranks and their starting line up includes the back bone of the Scottish national side. This was their ninth straight win and they are the league’s in-form side, but they are no more than 20 points better and that is a huge difference on its own at any rate.
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
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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