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Draw is enough to see Mervue Utd take Premier Division title



Date Published: {J}

Mervue United 1

Athenry 1

Mike Rafferty

Mervue United did what they had to do as they collected the point required to give them the Brod Trill Premier Division title for the first time in six seasons after playing out a draw with second-placed Athenry in Fahy’s Field on Sunday morning.

Stephen Larkin’s sixth goal in three games was enough to give Paugie Kilgannon’s charges the opening half lead, but while Barry O’Donovan levelled matters for the visitors just after the restart, his controversial sending off minutes later was to limit the visitors’ ambitions as they went chasing the win required.

However to give credit to the home side, they produced the goods throughout the season and just two losses maintained their top spot in the table for the duration of the campaign.

Sunday’s contest was fraught with anxiety as a fixture difficulty set posers for the administrators, with Athenry less than pleased with the timing of the game. While the kick-off was brought forward to 10.30am, Mark Moran still had to depart the action after an hour in order to make his daughter’s communion.

He was their second front man who had to leave early as hamstring victim Benny Lawless was forced off after just 16 minutes, while Stephen Rabbitte was ruled out as a clash of heads in training resulted in the defender having eight stitches inserted just above the eye, while Mervue were deprived the services of suspended skipper Robert Connolly.

With the strong wind not really aiding either side as it blew across the pitch, it was the home team who held the upper hand from the off.

Both sides were certainly trying to play a closely controlled passing game, but such was the intensity that space was at a premium and players seldom got an opportunity to settle in possession.

Colie Kelly cracked in an opening minute shot that had Kieran Kilkelly scampering down to his right and while clear chances were few and far between, it was the home side which did the majority of the pressing.

They almost opened their account on nine minutes when a Darvin Dowling delivery got a flick from Keith McHugh and the covering Ronan Kinneen knew little of the deflection that took it just past the far post.

Finnerty then cut in along the byline, but the danger was again averted by the vigilant Kinneen.

Little was being seen of Athenry in attack and while four opening half corners presented opportunities, the difficulties presented by the elements left the execution less than perfect. A Crowe free kick flashed wide, while Ryan Griffin dealt with some routine deliveries.

The midfield quartet of Derek McWalter, Stephen Larkin, Seamie Crowe and Gary Delaney seldom had an inch of space in order to influence proceedings and it was without warning the breakthrough arrived on 29 minutes.

Arron Finnerty’s pinpoint cross picked out Dara Ryan, whose lay-off dropped neatly into the path of Larkin outside the box and his side-footed effort left Kilkelly helpless as it nestled in the top right corner for a 1-0 advantage.

Griffin was twice tested as Crowe drilled in a shot, while the custodian had a little  more work to do as he pushed away an Alan O’Donovan free kick.

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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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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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