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County final under threat



Date Published: 29-Oct-2009

Two separate incidents which occurred during the controversial senior hurling semi-final between Loughrea and Mullagh last Sunday week have plunged Galway hurling into a crisis which could yet result in the indefinite postponement of the county final.

The fallout from the semi final, which saw Mullagh lose by one point to a contentious last minute free, relates to unsavoury scenes involving players and selectors from the losing team at the end of the game and an unrelated altercation involving the Chairman of
the hurling Board, Miko Ryan, during the same game at Athenry.

So enraged were the defeated Mullagh club by proposed 48-week bans imposed on three of their players last week that they have lodged two separate appeals to the GAA authorities which could prevent the final between Loughrea and All-Ireland champions Portumna from going ahead on Sunday, November 8.

Meanwhile, an investigation into the alleged incident involving Ryan and a gate man in the vicinity of the turnstiles was undertaken by a County Board management committee last night (Wednesday), following the receipt of a letter of complaint from the gate man at Kenny park.

A senior GAA official confirmed yesterday that the alleged incident involving Ryan would be the sole topic under discussion last night. The incident occurred less than a fortnight after the remainder of an eight week ban was re-imposed on Ryan, following a lengthy appeals process, in relation to another sideline incident during the Leinster championship game between Kilkenny and Galway in Tullamore last June.

Of more immediate significance to the county final, however, is the decision by the Mullagh club to seek to have the fixture declared null and void, given that Ryan chaired a fixtures meeting on the week of the semi-final while he was banned from “all activities within the association” at the time.

Mullagh were enraged by the proposed 48-week bans imposed on players Conor Dervan, john Rafferty, and Davey Glennon (an All-Ireland minor winner at Croke park last month) for allegedly striking referee Christy Helebert with their hurls in the immediate aftermath of the game, which they lost by 0-16 to 0-15.

In his report on the game, Helebert identified three players who allegedly struck him after the final whistle, when players and mentors surrounded him near the middle of the field to protest at the manner of their defeat to their intense local rivals.

“The referee reported three players for assaulting him by striking him with the hurls and we had no option but to follow the rule book by issuing these proposed sanctions,” said a senior GAA official, who did not wish to be named. “We acted only on the referee’s report and 48 weeks is the minimum sanction for striking with the hurls.”

Team selector Pete Finnerty, the respected match analyst with RTE’s ‘Sunday game’, and David Glennon Snr. were both given proposed one month bans and the club was fined €200. Eight week bans were also imposed on Cathal Hardiman and Loughrea’s Nigel Shaughnessy, who were both red carded for striking each other in the first half of the game.

There had been some anger in the Mullagh camp before the fixture ever took place, when the Loughrea club succeeded in having it put back by a week after playing for three weekends in a row, but they agreed to go ahead with the game on October 18.

Both clubs were initially unaware that Ryan was suspended from office when he chaired the meeting to set the fixture for the following Sunday afternoon at Kenny Park, a week after it was originally supposed to take place as part of a double-header with the Gort versus Portumna game. It remains to be seen whether Ryan himself was aware that his ban had been re-imposed.

After the initial hurt caused by losing the game so narrowly and under such controversial circumstances, Mullagh had intended to accept their lot. But all of that changed when news came through of the penalties which were handed down to their players after
Hurling Board officials considered Helebert’s report into the game.

“We were fierce upset to lose by a point, but we said that we would take our beating as we didn’t want to be seen as bad losers,” said Mullagh hurling Club Secretary Francis Keane this week. “We were happy to let it lie.”

Keane admitted …

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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