Date Published: 14-Jan-2010
ALTHOUGH it looks as if sporting organisations will be able to run a schedule of fixtures this weekend, after recent sub-zero temperatures ground the country to a halt, two club teams with very real All-Ireland aspirations have had to all but put their title preparations on ice.
Reigning All-Ireland club kingpins Portumna and back-to-back Connacht champions Corofin have both been battling the elements in preparation for their respective All-Ireland semi-finals jousts against Dunloy and St. Gall’s (both Antrim) in February.
“We are doing our best,” said Portumna manager Johnny Kelly. “We are very lucky that the soccer club here in Portumna built an Astroturf last year, so we have been using that to do some physical training and a small amount of ball work.
“We have had no game, even among ourselves, yet though. We were supposed to play NUIG last weekend, but it didn’t go ahead. We even tried to get it played in Parteen, but it didn’t work out.
“The weather has also made it difficult for our players to travel to training. They have had to come from all over the country, which hasn’t been easy, even for the lads coming from Galway City,” the Portumna manager added.
This was a sentiment also expressed by Corofin boss Gerry Keane, who added: “It has been awful frustrating. We have been working away in the gym and doing some work on the Astroturf in Belclare and that is getting us by.
“The thing is, we just don’t know where we are at until we get back on the pitch. We won’t know how good we are or how much we have improved until we get back on the grass,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, there were some concerns that if the Connacht FBD League – which has already been delayed a week – did not go ahead as scheduled on Sunday due to inclement weather conditions, then, it may have to be scrapped for 2010 as the National League begins with the meeting of Galway and old rivals Mayo on the first weekend of February.
While Galway Football Board Secretary Seamus O’Grady was optimistic games could be played this Sunday, he pointed out: “If it didn’t go ahead, I would presume that they would have no option but to scrap it, but, as of now, it is going ahead next weekend.
“Of course, it will take a few days for the pitches to thaw, but it is hoped that the pitches will be playable by Sunday,” O’Grady added.
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
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
Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013
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.