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Devon and Mervue Utd on their guard



Date Published: {J}


Flashback images of a black weekend in late April/early May will be prevalent in the minds of the Salthill Devon and Mervue United players as they face daunting ties against Derry City and Shelbourne on Friday and Saturday respectively.

In the corresponding Airtricity First Division fixtures earlier in the season, Salthill Devon suffered a humiliating 7-0 defeat to Derry, while Mervue United collapsed on a scoreline of 4-0 away to Shelbourne. Eleven goals conceded between the two, it was one of the bleakest ever weekends for League of Ireland football in the city.

Consequently, memories of those harrowing defeats should prompt – and demand – some sort of a retort. Devon Head Coach Emlyn Long – who takes his charges, on the back of a first League win, up the Brandywell to face First Division runaway leaders Derry this evening (7.45pm) – agrees.

“We do, but the other thing we have to remember is that we were also on a high going into that game (7-0 defeat), after scoring the late equaliser against Mervue, and Derry ran away comfortably with the win. Here we are on a high again, and that point will have to be driven home to the lads. We didn’t show up on the day for that game and Derry just put us to the sword.”

Long says that Devon will have to be much more focused this time around, particularly with the game in the Brandywell, although he is the first to admit that Salthill will have it all to do against the League leaders. “They are a quality side and the couple of recruits they brought in – a player from Celtic and a young lad from Newcastle – during the season shows they are a side with ambition.

“In fact, I would say they would not be out of place in the top three in the Premier Division. So, it is a massive, massive test. We showed, though, that we were very up for the match against Mervue last weekend – we were physical and we were hungrier – but it is no good producing performances like that and not being able to do it when you travel to places like the Brandywell. So, we have to be prepared to do the same against Derry this weekend.”

In addition to the automatic suspension of Victor Collins – who received two yellow cards against Mervue – Devon do have injury concerns, with defenders Breen Geraghty (ankle) and James Whelan (hamstring) both in a race to be fit for this one. “I would say they are 50/50 at the moment,” says Long.

Should they fail to make it, Devon may have to rush back Sean Murphy, who has been struggling with a knee injury. They are also continuing to monitor striker Mikey Gilmore, after he had a slight reaction to his cartilage injury when undertaking a late fitness test before the Mervue game on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Mervue United – who will be looking to lift themselves following their loss to derby rivals Salthill last weekend – must face a Shelbourne outfit that inflicted a crushing 4-0 defeat on them the last time they met.

“That was our biggest defeat of the season, so we know it is going to be a tough game,” says Mervue manager Tom French. “Obviously, we are going to have to work on tightening things up.

“Not only that, though, the performance against Salthill was very disappointing. We weren’t up for it and we just went through the motions in that game. So, our performance was very disappointing in terms of attitude and application. It means that, for us, every game from now until the end of the season is a cup final.”

French’s only injury concern ahead of this one is midfielder Mike Tierney, who is struggling with a foot injury. Tierney could only manage 20 minutes against Salthill, although he did subsequently return to training on Tuesday night. The player’s fitness was to be further monitored when United took on English League Two side Port Vale in a friendly yesterday evening.

Kick-off in the Mervue United v Shelbourne Airtricity fixture at Terryland Park on Saturday evening is 7pm.

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

BallinasloeÕs young squad aiming to floor Armagh junior champs



Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

A new chapter in the history of Ballinasloe football will be written at Breffni Park, Cavan, on Sunday when Sean Riddell’s young side take on Ulster champions An Port Mor of Armagh in the All-Ireland Junior semi-final (2pm).

It’s the first competitive game outside the province of Connacht in 33 years for Galway football’s ‘sleeping giant’ with the enticing prospect of an appearance at Croke Park on February 9 on offer for the winners of what should be a competitive tie.

Ballinasloe have romped through Connacht since overcoming a couple of tricky hurdles on their way to collecting the Galway junior title, which was their target for the campaign this time last year.

With a return to Intermediate football secured, Riddell’s youngsters really have nothing to lose – while their triumphant march to county and provincial titles has revived memories of the club’s glory days when they contested three Galway senior finals in a row between 1979 and ’81.

Intriguingly, the seniors of St Grellan’s never got to play in Croke Park when they reached the All-Ireland final back in 1980 – they lost by 3-9 to 0-8 to St Finbarr’s of Cork in Tipperary Town.

This team’s progression has provided rich rewards for an abundance of hard work at underage levels in the past ten to 15 years and the current side’s ‘do or die’ attitude was very much in evidence in the cliffhanger wins over Tuam and Clifden in the domestic championship.


They are a well-balanced side who really never know when they are beaten and have an inspirational leader in county panelist Keith Kelly, whose exploits at centre back have been among the key components in their dramatic run to reach the All-Ireland series.

Riddell, who recalls playing senior football with the club during their heyday, is determined to get Ballinasloe back among the county’s leading clubs but, for the moment, he is delighted just to have a shot at getting to Croke Park in a bid to emulate Clonbur’s achievement in winning the title outright last year.

Riddell went to Newry on a ‘spying mission’ to see the Armagh champions overcome Brackaville of Tyrone by 2-9 to 0-11 in November – and was impressed by the quality of the football produced by An Port Mor in the Ulster final.

“They are a nicely balanced side who play good football,” he said. “There was a bit of the physical stuff you’d expect from two Ulster side, but I was impressed by their performance.”

An Port Mor became the first Armagh side to win the provincial junior decider. First half goals from Shane Nugent and Christopher Lennon sent them on the road to victory, before a red card for Brackaville captain Cahir McGuinness eased their progress to the All-Ireland series.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Coalition promised an ocean of reform Ð but the wind has gone out of its sails



Date Published: 30-Jan-2013


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