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Cunningham keen to develop winning Galway brand



Date Published: {J}


NEW Galway senior team manager Anthony Cunningham believes the landscape of Galway hurling has to change if the county is to be successful at senior level and, to this end, he is advocating that the club championships be run in tandem with inter-county games.

Cunningham insists that the championship structure – as it stands – along with the prolonged Summer break in the local senior and intermediate competitions have impacted greatly on the respective performances of Galway’s most talented players at both club and inter-county level.

“I think the players are there, the hunger is there and players want to go on and continue to develop and win,” says the new Galway boss. “However, for the young players in particular, they have to show a bit more when they go out and play club senior and intermediate hurling.


“So, we will probably be looking for the club championships to be played in tandem with the inter-county set-up. The landscape has to change on the club scene and on the county scene and I think we need everybody rowing in the one direction.”

No doubt, the St. Thomas’ man’s views on the club championship will endear him to everyone associated with club hurling in the county, but he insists, again, things have to change. “I mean, it is now almost 25 years since the Liam McCarthy was won by Galway and there must be common threads that are not helping the cause. I think the club championship is one of them.

“There are a lot of days and weekends that they [the Board] can play these games and they are going to have to push on with that and we look forward to working with them on that. There is a lot of good work being done by the Review Group at the moment and we are looking forward to endorsing it and working with as much of that as we can.”

“What I also would be saying – and I go to a lot of the matches, and so do the lads [selectors Tom Helebert and Mattie Kenny] – there are a lot of meaningless matches played in the championship. If you win a match now, you are almost guaranteed that you are in the preliminary quarter-finals. That is a very unhealthy situation because there are a lot of clubs going through the motions. I don’t think the players are getting the cut and thrust of championship hurling, which they should be.”

For now, though, Cunningham, Helebert and Kenny continue to apply themselves to the finer details, such as establishing their backroom team while they are, of course, also in the process of drawing up a panel for 2012, although it will be a number of weeks before it is announced.

While Cunningham notes that a core set of players will be retained from the 2011 squad, he says there will be changes, with a bigger emphasis now put “on the transformation of minor and U-21 players to senior.” He believes addressing that huge concern is central to building a successful team.

Allayed to this, he agrees it is now time for Galway to hurl to their strengths and not wholly focus on reacting or adopting the styles being nurtured by frontrunners Kilkenny and Tipperary. “We will be pushing hard to impose our own coaching style on the set-up and we will have a Galway style of play,” stresses the former All-Ireland senior medal winner.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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