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Dublin footballers fail to live up to the hype Ð again



Date Published: {J}

THE general perception that Dublin’s hunger – never mind their current rude health – would be more than enough to carry the county to a tenth National Football League title proved well wide of the mark in Sunday’s showdown at Croke Park. Victory instead went to the more composed team, the men who knew how to win big matches better.

Dublin had entered the league final as favourites and that public standing was understandable. Pat Gilroy’s squad had cut a dash in coming through their Division One campaign undefeated with their zonal defence and high octane attack coming in for widespread praise. Regular 6am training session had set the tempo for the season and Dublin bore all the hallmarks of a team going places.

Though they didn’t capture last year’s Leinster title – who will ever forget the blatant miscarriage of justice inflicted on the Louth footballers in the 2010 provincial decider against Meath – for the first time in six years, Dublin regrouped excellently in the qualifiers and fought their way to the All-Ireland semi-final only to lose their nerve (and the match) by a point to eventual champions Cork.

They had looked in control only to blow it down the home stretch.

The Dubs indiscipline, especially in giving away needless frees, ultimately cost them victory, but it was a learning curve for Gilroy and his lieutenants who had hit the ground running in 2011.

Despite running the rule over 30 players during the league, Dublin established a high consistency of performance and only a draw against Galway – they lost Alan Brogan early on due to a red card – in their final group match prevented them from pulling off a seventh consecutive victory.

They had even beaten Cork along the way and were being openly talked about as potential All-Ireland champions this year.

And when they led by 2-12 to 0-10 five minutes into the sec

ond-half at Croke Park last Sunday, you would have been tempted to put your house on Dublin landing a first National League title since 1993. They had got off to a great start with a fifth minute goal from Mossy Quinn after Bernard Brogan had done the spadework and with centre forward Kevin McManamon kicking points for sport, they retired 1-10 to 0-10 ahead at the break.

Mind you, it was unrealistic to expect that Dublin were going to have it all their own way against the reigning league champions and with the likes of Paddy Kelly finding the range, the Rebels were still bang in the contest only to wobble badly in early minutes of the second-half. Brogan broke through for Dublin’s second goal and with McManamon tacking on his fifth point of the contest, they had put themselves in the driving seat.

Injury-hit Cork had already lost Paul Kerrigan, John Miskella and Fintan Gould in the opening-half and, frankly, it was difficult to envisage a way back for Conor Counihan’s squad. Sure, Brogan had to retire with an injured hamstring soon afterwards but the Dubs were still in pole position. Gradually, however, Cork eroded the deficit with a rousing point from wing back Noel O’Leary typifying their resilience on the day. Still, with the game in its final quarter, Dublin were five points ahead.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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