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Connacht unveil new signing for Worcester test

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: {J}

Connacht Coach Michael Bradley, whose replacement will be unveiled during the Six Nations tournament this coming spring, will start new signing George Naoupa for Saturday’s crucial European Challenge Cup match against Guinness Premiership side Worcester Warriors at Sixways on Saturday (3pm).

New Zealander Naoupa will make his debut for Connacht at number eight, in the first of two back-to-back matches against the Warriors that will ultimately define Connacht’s season.

With Connacht languishing at the bottom of the Magners League table again this year – despite an encouraging away performance against the Cardiff Blues last weekend – Bradley is looking to the Challenge Cup to salvage some success and to leave on a ‘high note’ in this his last season in charge.

Securing five points – a win plus a bonus point – etween Saturday’s match and the return leg at the Sportsground next Friday will place Connacht in pole position to remain on top of Pool 2 and favourites to advance to the quarter-final stages, with just two home matches against Montpellier and Olympus Madrid, who they have already beaten away, to come in the New Year.

The six-day turnaround will be bruising and Bradley will be hoping to avoid adding to an injury list that already includes Keith Matthews and Andrew Browne, and particularly so given that Connacht face derbies against Munster and Leinster in the Magners League over the Christmas period.

The good news is Troy Nathan and Jamie O’Hagan have recovered from injury and will be named on the bench on Saturday alongside Johnny O’Connor who returned from injury and started against Cardiff last week.

Giving Naoupa a start ahead of Mike McComish, who will drop to the bench, is expected to be the only surprise when the Connacht starting line-up is officially announced later today (Friday).

John Muldoon will again captain the side in what is the 1,000th European Challenge Cup match ever to take place and starts in the back row, with Ray Ofisa, who came on as substitute for Mike McComish last week, getting the nod ahead of O’Connor.

The front row of Brett Wilkinson, Robbie Morris and Seán Cronin will remain unchanged as will the half backs pairing of scrum half, Frank Murphy and out half, Ian Keatley. Gavin Duffy will start at full-back, with Fionn Carr and Liam Bibo on the wings and Niva Ta’auso – Naoupa’s former New Zealand Highland’s teammate – and Aidan Wynne in the centre.

Warriors Director of Rugby, Mike Ruddock this week declared that Connacht “were the side to beat” if they are to have any hope of qualification.

Ruddock signalled he is keeping one eye on the Premiership crunch tie with Northampton on St Stephen’s Day, and so will probably be rotating his squad for the return leg against Connacht at the Sportsground on Friday.

“We will certainly know each other inside out after these two games, but we have also got a very tough Guinness Premiership fixture just around the corner against Northampton. We will see what happens on Saturday, but there is a chance I will rotate my squad when we go out to Connacht and freshen a few guys up for the Northampton game,” said Ruddock.

But, given that the Warrio

rs are languishing third from bottom of the Premiership and have no hope of automatic qualification to the Heineken Cup, they will, like all English sides, be targeting the Challenge Cup as a means to progressing to the ‘holy grail’ of the Heineken Cup and Connacht will have to be at their best in the two matches to secure the necessary five points.

For more read page 49 of this week’s Galway City Tribune

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy



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

Ruby ready to rock again and Bob is worth a big flutter in Gold Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 06-Mar-2013

New edge to Galway hurling championship title pursuit

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Archive News

A battle of talent and the ability to pull in public votes

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 11-Mar-2013

Here is a question. And there is no holiday or grand prize for getting the answer. But can anyone name the people who have won The Voice of Ireland and what has become of them?

Over across the water in the UK they have The X Factor and while I hate the concept of it, it has produced a few stars even though they don’t last long in the whole scheme of things.

But The Voice of Ireland seems to generate false excitement with the winner ending up become more anonymous than they already were. And it is costing families a fortune in the process.

While the programme is a ratings winner, strangely, it has resulted in those getting through to the final stages investing huge amounts of money in the hope that they will receive enough votes to get through to the next stages.

So, suddenly, it is not about the voice or the talent involved, it is all about votes and who the participants can convince to pledge their support for them. So it is obvious that talent goes out the window.

It means that someone with half a talent could realistically win the whole thing if they generated enough support behind them. From now on, the judges will be taken out of the equation and it will be left to the public to generate income for some phone operator.

Those who get through to the live performances have to engage in a massive publicity campaign in an effort to win votes which makes this whole effort a pure sham. It is no longer about their ability and just an effort to win appeal.

While the initial process does involve some vetting of the acts, now it becomes a general election type exercise in which the most popular will win the competition and the judges will have no say whatsoever.

It is a bit like the recent Eurosong in which the judging panel across the country voted for their favourite song, which incidentally was the best of a very bad lot, but then this was overturned by the public who chose a relatively crap song to represent us.

But again, this was all down to convincing the public about who to vote for rather than having any bearing on the quality on offer. There are times that genuine talent becomes overlooked because of the need to extract money from the voting public.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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