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ConnachtÕs luck is out on night to remember



Date Published: {J}

Keith Kelly

THE tears that fell – and fall they did – were of despair rather than delight. David took on Goliath, and while he loaded the sling, he just missed with the shot as Goliath marched on to the Amlin Challenge Cup final against Cardiff.

What Friday did give is a taste for a big-match atmosphere on College Road. The buzz started building around 6pm when College Road was closed off to through traffic. Hordes of green jerseys started milling around Eyre Square at one end and the Hunstman at the other.

They were joined by ticket touts, with two positioning themselves about 200 metres either side of the gates. They coughed out the “anyone buying or selling tickets” line as their eyes darted left and right, checking for the peaked caps and luminous yellow jackets whose wearers would end their little cottage industry.

“There isn’t much of a bite,” one said when asked how was the demand for his service, “and I’m only marking them up a tenner, nothing much,” he said, his generosity knowing no bounds, before he slithered off down the road after hearing the crackle of a Garda walkie-talkie nearby.

Across from the main gates, the house of hurling legends Duggan were bedecked in Connacht flags, showing that sport knows no boundaries, further evidence of which was to be found inside, with people in Munster and Leinster jerseys, a couple of English soccer jerseys, and one guy proudly sporting his Roscommon GAA jersey.

Connacht Branch CEO Gerry Kelly was milling around, making sure everything went without a hitch as fans streamed into the ground both via the main entrance and beside the car-park.

“I’m really looking forward to it. Am I nervous? I’m always nervous, but look around, this is a great night for Connacht and did we ever think we’d see it,” Kelly said before moving on to another item on his checklist.

The teams were going through their warm-up routines on the pitch, the Toulon players indulging in one move that looked a mix of the Hokey Cokey and Ring A Ring A Rosey, and the first loud cheer of the night went up as the Connacht squad jogged back towards the dressing rooms along the touchline.

“Enjoy it” were captain John Muldoon’s last words to his team before leading them onto the pitch in the company of Sean Costello (8) from Kilcolgan, who was the Connacht mascot on the night. It was a night when the name ‘Sean Costello’ got you places, as the tenor of the same name had earlier given a rendition of The West’s Awake on the half-way line, which surely brought back memories of Croke Park and September 1980 for Joe Connolly.

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

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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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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.

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