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Defiant footballers lift gloom



Date Published: {J}

Galway 1-15

Tyrone 0-14

by Declan Tierney

WHEN tough guy Arnold Schwarzenegger made his famous quote about strengths and where they come from, he could well have been referring to the current situation with Galway football which has now become a mishmash of incredible lows tempered by relative highs.


“Strength does not come from winning”, he said. “Your struggles develop your strength.” This is certainly appropriate when it comes to Galway football’s indifferent season which took yet another twist on Sunday against Tyrone at Tuam Stadium when they dug incredibly deep to keep Mickey Harte’s side at arm’s length.

Galway struggled against Mayo, Cork and Kerry in the league so far and yet have produced some morale building performances. There is no doubt that this current Galway team will struggle again before the league campaign is through, but yet they have provided their supporters with some much needed comfort.

It was a win that was a combination of Galway’s spirit and Tyrone’s inability to sustain any momentum. Tyrone have now lost four of their five league games and it was easy to see how this could have happened.

They now play a shorter passing game than before – even with a wind at their backs – and could not capitalise on Galway’s barren spell early in the second half when the home side went scoreless for an incredible 16 minutes.

But from a Galway perspective, the manner in which they steadied the ship and then went on to put the game beyond Tyrone’s grasp spoke a lot about the character of this much maligned side who, like Tyrone, came into the game with a number of injuries up front.

This aside, Galway showed tremendous battling qualities and particularly in the first half when they played into a strong breeze and there were times when they spent long periods pressurizing the Tyrone goal when, realistically, much of the action should have been at the other end.

A Matthew Clancy goal after four minutes significantly proved one of Galway’s most important score as it was the one which Tyrone could not overcome as it proved to be the difference between the sides for much of the match.

Indeed this was Clancy’s – a kind of veteran at this stage of his football career – best days for Galway in recent years even if he had a quieter second half, but there was no disputing Joe Bergin’s influence and his movement to around the centre of the field was one of the reasons why Galway held out.

It is no secret that Bergin would prefer to play up front for Galway – and his two magnificent points from play were testament to this – but when it came to winning ball around the middle of the field, he proved to be the home side’s only answer in this regard.

One of the incredible statistics about this game is that Galway won it without coming anywhere near to winning the midfield exchanges. In fact, it was Bergin who won the only clean possession in this area throughout the whole match.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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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