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Courage and effort can’t mask lack of quality for Galway



Date Published: {J}

Kerry 0-16

Galway 0-8


at Fitzgerald Stadium

Even in the days of plenty, Galway struggled desperately to reap any harvest return from the fields of Kerry, so last Sunday’s trip to Killarney in more straitened times barely carried a feather of expectation.

Alas, that’s the way things turned out at Fitzgerald Stadium in the Allianz National League tie as Kerry sauntered to a double scores victory over a Galway side not short of courage or honesty, but desperately lacking in quality and purpose.

It’s now four straight defeats out of four for Tomás Ó Flatharta as Galway seem destined to stay rooted at the bottom of the league table, and with All-Ireland champions Cork next on the list this coming weekend, there is little sign of any respite.

There were genuine concerns in the wake of the Mayo match that Galway could face annihilation in Killarney, but in fairness they were dogged and resilient even if it was strikingly obvious after the first 25 minutes that their cause was doomed.

Kerry don’t use up any spare fuel when they know that they’re going to be first past the chequered flag, and there was a notable easing of the foot on the throttle early in the second half when they had sailed into an 11-3 lead.

This coincided with a spurt of Galway enthusiasm that yielded four points without reply but the Kerry crowd of around 3,000 never had to breathe too heavily – they knew that the counter surge was always going to come and the ‘Gooch’ was on fire whenever the ball came his way.

The display of Colm Cooper was probably worth the admission money alone. He slithered his way around the Galway defence, jinking and turning into space before invariably kicking points with either his left or right foot. All done with perfect balance and poise.

Beside him, Kieran Donaghy was like a giant basket gathering up any loose balls that came his way, always willing to pick out a colleague in a better position and often that was the ‘Gooch’. Cooper – Kerry’s captain this year – ended up with eight points, five from play, to inflict most damage on the Galway defence.

Ironically his marker, Alan Burke got on a fair bit of ball and did everything humanly possible to try and limit Cooper’s influence, but on his day, the Dr Crokes player is virtually impossible to curtail.

Likewise, Colin Forde did a reasonably decent job in keeping tracks on Donaghy but the big man from Tralee is a handful for any defender – he is the type of player that Galway are crying out for . . . big, mobile, able to play football and not afraid to score either.

Galway played with the aid of the stiffish diagonal wind, and as in their three previous ties, Tomás ó Flatharta’s side started with a reasonable degree of zest, sharing six points with Kerry over the course of the first 13 minutes.

Cormac Bane (free), Eoin Concannon and Gary Sice – thundering upfield from the centre back position – all hit the target for Galway but yet by the time the interval whistle sounded, Kerry had stormed into an 8-3 lead.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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