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Delegates give the thumbs up to new championship plan

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: {J}


THE new look Galway senior and intermediate hurling championships – as proposed by Galway Hurling Review Group – received the overwhelming support and backing of delegates at the Board’s annual convention in the Raheen Woods Hotel, Athenry last Thursday.


In the end, there was little opposition to the motion, although some clubs did express their concern regarding certain aspects of the proposal, which sees the number of teams contesting the senior grade go from 20 to 21 – so saving Kinvara from relegation.

Indeed, this was one of the few contentious issues surrounding the adoption of the new format, as Killimordaly delegate Gabriel Creaven argued that there should be a play-off between Kinvara and his club – the 2011 beaten intermediate finalists – for the remaining spot in the senior grade.

However, in anticipation of such a move, CEO of Galway GAA John Hynes said that after seeking and taking advice on the matter, the proposed amendment – seconded by David Glennon of Mullagh – had to be ruled out of order on the grounds that it was creating an extra competition that had not been legislated for under the 2011 format.

Another concern expressed by Carnmore delegate Hilda Murray regarded the number of teams – five in all – fighting relegation and she wondered, having spoken to players, if there was an opportunity for the top team in this section to re-enter the championship at some point.

Gort delegate Dermot Flaherty’s concerns also related to relegation. He said given the nature of the proposed championship structure, the first two rounds, in effect, were relegation battles in themselves. He believed this would only compound the “stress and strain” of what was already an arduous process.

In addition, another point made by the Gort delegate – and a valid one at that – was regarding the increase in the number of teams from 20 to 21. Flaherty highlighted that there was no mechanism to reduce this number – you can only relegate and promote one team per year – after its two-year term, should the proposed format not be a success.

However, by and large, the majority of delegates were in favour of it.

Kilbeacanty chairman and delegate Pat Lynch, who proposed the motion, outlined the thrust of the new structure, which will only see the intermediate champions – for example, Moycullen this year – entering the championship in round three, or the group stage. Consequently, the intermediate holders are exempt from the relegation process in their first year and, so, are guaranteed a minimum of two years in the higher echelon of Galway hurling.

Meanwhile, in the first round, the other 20 teams will play each other in an open draw format, with the 10 winners progressing to a group stage – four groups of four – and the 10 losers of the first round would then play off in a subsequent series of games.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy



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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



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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