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Archive News

Corofin’s experience to prove vital



Date Published: 20-Nov-2009

AS mid-winter sporting expeditions go, it’s probably as tough as it gets . . . a Galway club team travelling into the backyard of the Mayo county champions with the hope of pilfering a Connacht title.

Corofin though have been through the hoops many times before and they won’t be fazed by their trip to Charlestown on Sunday (2pm) for a joust to the death with the home side.

As with the vast majority of Galway-Mayo clashes, it’s a pretty safe bet that little will separate the sides on Sunday – Corofin did struggle to overcome the challenge of Mountbellew in the Connacht final and they had a few dodgy moments early on against Manorhamilton, but they still came out the right side of both results.

Corofin will again have to plan without the services of their stalwart defender Kieran Fitzgerald – out with a recurring hamstring problem – while another inter-county defender, Michael Comer, is a long term absentee with cruciate ligament problems.

For another club, such losses could be catastrophic but Corofin are well layered with back-up talent and especially in defence where they have plenty of options to fall back on.

On the better news front for Corofin, top scoring forward Alan O’Donovan has resumed light training following an ankle injury which forced him to retire halfway through the county final, and although he may not start, he will be available for call-up from the bench.

Charlestown also have their own injury troubles with inspirational midfielder, David Tiernan, definitely ruled out due to a broken bone in his ankle suffered in the victory over Castlerea, wing forward Richard Haran is also on the doubtful list.

The Mayo champions are a strong physical side but they really went to the wire before beating Roscommon champions, Caslterea-St. Kevin’s after extra-time in the semi-final. Castlerea, by all accounts, should have won that semi-final over the course of normal play, but Charlestown showed remarkable resilience to pass the extra-time endurance test.

It mightn’t have been pretty, but in the end they chiselled out a remarkable victory. Corofin will know full well that they face a gruelling physical battle if they’re to succeed on Sunday, but they’ll take reasonable solace from the 2-13 scoreline they clocked up against Manorhamilton, with all of their forwards scoring from play.

Even on a bad day, Corofin still create a fair quota of chances and while they were at their worst in the first half of the drawn county final against Mountbellew – in terms of frittering away the easiest of chances – they have been far more economical in their two games since then.

Corofin’s 10 point winning margin over the Leitrim champions was a tad flattering but when the Galway champions started to move the ball in the second half, they slipped very easily into a rhythm and flow that Glencar had no answer to David Morris, Damien

Burke, Tony Goggins and Gary Sice backbone a strong defence – Aidan Donnellan and Greg Higgins, are a settled midfield pair – while in attack Kieran Comer, Joe Canney, Ronan Steede, Ciarán McGrath, Alan Burke and Micheál Burke jelled well together in the Connacht semifinal.

Manager Gerry Keane said that the prize of a Connacht title would be a massive motivation for his side but he added that all were well aware of the scale of the task they faced.

“Charlestown are a strong and powerful side and any day of the week it’s a big ask to travel into Mayo and come away with a win.

“But the mood is very good in our camp – Martin McNamara has done a really great job on the training ground with them – and this is a match that we’re really looking forward to.

“We know that we struggled a bit early on against Manorhamilton but on the positive side we ended up scoring 2-13 with all of our forwards scoring from play. This is a massive match for us but it’s a challenge we feel up for,” said Keane.

A mighty battle looks to be store and while Charlestown might be hoping for an edge at midfield where inter-county star Tom Parsons is likely to be a big influence, Corofin have the knack of swarming in on breaks around the fringes of kick-outs.

Corofin are looking a bit more settled in attack over recent matches and while they could at times struggle to cope with the sheer physical power of the Mayo champions, Gerry Keane’s side might just have the overall mobility and footballing savvy to see them through, but it will be some battle.


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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