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Corofin crucified by high mistake count in semis

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Date Published: {J}

St. Gall’s 1-15

Corofin 1-11

(After extra-time)

FRANK FARRAGHER IN PARNELL PARK

GENERALS can plan battles for weeks and months but during the heat of action the best laid plans can all be swept aside in unexpected moments, invariably dictated by equal measures of fate and frailty.

Coming up to half-time in this All-Ireland Club football semi-final at Parnell Park on Saturday evening, the Corofin management and followers could be forgiven for thinking that they were in the midst of one dreadful nightmare. By then Corofin trailed by 1-5 to 0-2 but what was really galling for them was the contribution they had made to their own demise.

A goal on a plate had been presented to St. Gall’s, a series of sloppy ball handling mistakes had been made, while at least four simple point chances — including three bread and butter frees — had been spurned. This just wasn’t the way Corofin play football.

Ironically Corofin had put in a Trojan first half effort, but once the malaise of the small mistakes set in, the condition got acutely worse as the first half progressed. Players lost their patience, words were exchanged out of frustration, and it wasn’t until Corofin struck for a slightly fortuitous 29th minute goal, that a semblance of composure returned to their play.

But by then they had a mountain a climb and even when the summit of scoreboard parity was reached just past the mid-way point of the second half, Corofin had exhausted huge reserves of physical and mental energy. They had been to hell and back and the journey had taken its toll.

This week, there can be no quibble about the courage and commitment of the Corofin effort, but they just couldn’t add that vital dimension of keeping mistakes to a tolerable level and they just weren’t nearly clinical enough up front.

Their supporters, who undoubtedly made up the majority share of the 1,500 crowd, rallied with great spirit to the cause and here the sheer unthoughtfulness of the GAA authorities in fixing such a game for a Saturday night has to be highlighted. Obviously, a TV based decision but this game was one for the clubs, and the families that make them up.

Corofin were also dealt a mortal blow in the first exchange of injury time action when Meath referee, Cormac Reilly, sent off Gary Sice for what he adjudged to be a second yellow card offence. In all objectivity though, it was an extremely harsh decision by an official whose decision making all night — for both sides — veered from the awful to the bizarre.

Referees really have to be able to distinguish between the malicious and the genuine physical contact that is a central part of the game of Gaelic football. As refereeing models go, Monaghan’s Pat McEnaney seems to have the best ‘handle’ on what to let go in the physical cut and thrust that is the essence Gaelic football.

That inconsistent refereeing apart though, Corofin though must no look no further than their own first half mistakes for the cause of their exit from the club championship.

They could have thought with a reasonable degree of expectation to have benefitted from their semi-final defeat of last year to Kilmacud Crokes, but when the jitters set in during the first half last Saturday night, it was as if Corofin never had been here before.

On a day of normal Corofin service, they might have expected to go in at the interval a few points in front, rather than having being relieved at only facing a three point deficit following Kieran Comer’s 29th minute goal, after a huge sideline free from Alan O’Donovan. However it did look a square ball all the way.

Corofin had battled hard to win a decent chunk of possession around the midfield area despite the strength of Aodhán Gallagher and Sean Burke, but they endured a serious of catastrophic moments in the two worst areas of the pitch — in front of their own goal and close to the opposition posts.

St. Gall’s 14th minute goal came after a Tony Goggins short pass close to his own small square was intercepted by Kieran McGourty and his first time pass to brother C.J. was dispatched to the net with the minimum of fuss. Another point was ‘given’ to St. Gall’s after a short kick-out was adjudged to have been picked off the ground — in two moments of mayhem, four points had been presented to the Ulster champions.

The agony for Corofin was no less acute at the other end of the pitch. They blasted nine first half wides with Kieran Comer (twice) and Alan O’Donovan missing frees from virtually in front of the posts. There were many other slip-ups through the half but yet Comer’s flicked goal had left them a sprig of hope. At 1-5 to 1-2 when the interval whistle sounded, Corofin were still in with a shout.

The goal and the half-time break helped to settle Corofin down. The spontaneous recriminations ceased, players settled on the ball, while Kieran Comer and Alan O’Donovan gradually regained their confidence to kick five points between them which brought Corofin back to evens at 1-7 apiece as the match entered its final 12 minutes.

Two players at either end of the pitch most poignantly captured that spirit of recovery. Kieran Fitzgerald made a series of inspirational clearances while Joe Canney showed some real turbo power when moving onto low ball pumped in from the midfield sector.

St. Gall’s had lost centre back Anthony Healy for a second yellow just before Donovan’s levelling point in the 48th minute, another harsh enough sidelining, but it all added up to the momentum of victory apparently having switched over to Corofin.

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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