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Corofin’s experience to prove vital

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



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

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

Rory takes on fresh challenge as lauded DruidMurphy returns

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 03-Apr-2013


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After twenty years Sarah lands dream role in Druid

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 04-Apr-2013

 Sarah Lynch has been living and breathing Druid Theatre since she wangled a job as a runner fresh out of college two decades ago at age 20. After holding down just about every role imaginable there – from company manager to director to stage manager – her appointment as general manager to one of the country’s most prestigious theatre companies last October seemed almost inevitable.

Because once she had tasted the fruit of Druid she was going nowhere . . . and going everywhere. Sarah’s tenure at Druid since 1998 has brought her on a journey that has reached just about every corner of the globe and almost all the islands off Ireland in between.

After graduating from Limerick with a degree in French and English Sarah spent a stint teaching in a secondary school. But it immediately became clear that wasn’t the road for her.

“One thing I was always certain of was I’d be involved in the performing arts, whether on stage or off stage or behind it. The immediate reaction of the audience is such a buzz,” she grins.

Her earliest memory was of her grandfather, Bud Clancy, on stage with his trumpet and dance band. “I must have been three or four because he died shortly after that. But it never left me. I got bitten by the bug. I started playing the trumpet. A friend of my grandfather taught me how to play and I was with the Limerick brass and reed orchestra known as the Boherbuoy Band, I was just a kid with all these adults.”

She learned to play other brass instruments such as the French horn and cornet before turning her hand to the guitar and song-writing. “I taught myself guitar. Sometime I tinker on the piano and I think that’s my next instrument. I love percussion. You can’t get me off a drum kit for love or money. Many is the night I’ve made a fool of myself on one of those,” she laughs.

In 2010, Sarah released her debut album, Letter to Friends, which was launched by playwright Enda Walsh, whose short play, Lynndie’s Gotta Gun, she had directed as part of the 2008 Galway Arts Festival.

The collection of songs was produced by Wayne Sheehy, a musician she had met when opening for Juliet Turner on Turner’s Burn the Black Suit tour.

“I could probably have done it ten years ago but for the manic schedule with Druid and touring so much,” she reflects. “I haven’t done much with it since. I used to play gigs in the Róisín Dubh. The bigger twin is theatre at the moment. The bigger twin bullies the other twin. You don’t get much time to do music.”

After fleeing the classroom, Sarah knocked on the door of a former college mate, Andrew Flynn, now with the Galway Youth Theatre, who kindly offered up his couch. He also managed to get her a job as a runner – the person who does everything from making tea to helping with props – on a Druid production of As You Like It.

“I remember working with Mark O’Halloran, I had great fun with him. There was Helen Norton, it was Maeliosa Stafford directing. He’s coming back to the Druid after ten years to star in Tom Murphy’s A Whistle in the Dark. He left me as a runner, now I’m general manager.”

Much of Sarah’s time behind the scenes at Druid has been spent on the road. In 2009 alone, Druid toured to Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA presenting 364 performances in 26 venues.

Indeed so much of life has been out spent living of a suitcase that she gave up her base in Galway to move back in with her family in Caherdavin, on the Galway side of Limerick city.

The tour of the Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh was so long the crew were instructed to pack two suitcases, one with summer clothes, the other winter gear, as they would be spanning the seasons. Her job now entails a lot of commuting, but driving is where she gets a lot of thinking done.

Sarah’s decision to apply for the more home-based job of general manager was one she made discreetly while on the Druid Murphy tour around the US. She had to undergo her interview in between shows at the Lincoln Center in New York. It was the most nerve wrecking experience of her life, she admits.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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