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Devon set to accept League of Ireland spot



Date Published: 19-Jan-2010

DROM Soccer Park looks set o host League of Ireland football next season after Salthill Devon convened last night to ratify a proposal to proceed with their application to join the ranks of the First Division.

Devon would become the third club from Galway to be competing in the League of Ireland, giving the county the same representation as the entire province of Munster.

The Salthill outfit was deemed to have won promotion from the Newstalk A Championship when Kildare County was unable to play in the promotion/relegation playoff last November, and are now set to join Galway United and Mervue United in the country’s top two tiers.

Club Chairman Tony Johnstone told Sentinel Sport that the decision to proceed with the application was made following careful consideration of all relevant factors and an extensive cost-benefit analysis.

“After extensive research and some serious soul-searching we have concluded that the decision to apply for League of Ireland status is feasible and is very definitely what we want to do,” he said. “It has always been out desire to compete at the very highest level possible.”

The FAI have inspected Devon’s facilities at Drom and provided the club with a report outlining a number of small infrastructural changes necessary in order to comply with the organisation’s rules, although these are understood to be minor.

“There are still some things to be done arising from the report but we have been given a fair time frame and none are so sizable that they can’t be overcome,” explained Mr Johnstone.

There had been some speculation that Salthill Devon would approach the Galway and District League with a view to renting Terryland Park for ‘home’ games next season as Mervue United did last year. The Chairman dispelled this idea however, and said that this had never been a consideration.

“Renting another ground was never seen as an option for the club,” he said. “We take great pride in our facilities, and it is part of our fundamental philosophy that the first team should be on display there for the kids to aspire to and for our supporters to enjoy.”

The step up to the League of Ireland can involve a degree of financial risk and city counterparts Mervue United are rumoured to have incurred a loss of up to €70,000 during their inaugural season in the First Division. However, Mr Johnstone was confident of securing support for the proposal at the meeting at the Galway Bay Hotel last night.

“We are anticipating support but we are not taking it for granted,” he said. “People will be invited to voice their ideas and everything will be taken on board.”

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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