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ConnachtÕs sweat pays off in Italy



Date Published: {J}

Benetton Treviso 9

Connacht 11

Rob Murphy

THE Fast Show weather girl would describe it as "scorchio", others might suggest a giant open air oven would be the appropriate analogy. Connacht were put through the mill at the Stadio Monigo on Saturday afternoon and came out the other end with a win that was defiantly brilliant.

That the game was stop-start and sluggish, especially in the first half, should be of little concern as the soaring temperatures of 32 degrees played their part in this most unusual of Pro 12 games. Connacht refused to wilt in the early stage, gradually gained a foothold and then struck for the key scores either side of half time.

The victory didn’t flatter the visitors, they were the more creative and threatening throughout, but a Treviso side shy of 12 World Cup bound internationals had the field position to get the winning scores on a number of occasions, and could have won this.

Their failure to convert was due in large part to a well constructed and diligently executed defensive plan, led by the 80 minute men of Mike McCarthy and Michael Swift. Just how those two were able to summon the energy to storm through Treviso’s five metre line-out in the final ten minutes and force an invaluable turnover is beyond explanation. They should have been out on their feet. They weren’t.

So in the end, Rodney Ah You’s brilliantly taken 37th minute try was the difference. A sharp attacking move off some good forward play in the middle of the field which saw Henry Fa’afili beat two tackles with some incisive footwork and releaseD Matthew Jarvis. The 21 year old former Osprey out-half made 15 metres with some incredible leg drive, setting up the ruck which paved the way for 22-year-old Kiwi to charge over.

If you were to watch just two 30 second clips from the game and hope to grasp the overall narrative, then the aforementioned late defensive stand and that first-half try would cover all the essentials. They were the defining moments of a story that will warm Connacht hearts and for the moment at least, ease some of the nerves ahead of a daunting and yet eagerly anticipated campaign.

If this much-changed and youthful Connacht crop are to match last season’s endeavours and push on in terms of results, then starting well is essential. An away win, (precious and all as they are) is only the opening salvo in a six game stretch where the groundwork will need to be laid. A salvo worth savouring all the same though.

Treviso won eight of 11 here last season while Connacht had won just once on the road in three years in this competition, so even without their Italian World Cup players, the home side were fancied to prevail. Yet from an early stage, it was clear that the sides were evenly matched overall with Connacht gaining a slight edge in set piece play.


For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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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