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Dubs lose their discipline Ð and the match

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

IT’S BEEN AN All-Ireland football championship probably like no other. Upsets and shock results have been the order of the summer as tradition has been largely thrown out the window. The 2010 title race has been all the better for its unpredictability too with the re-emergence of Down, Kildare and Dublin as serious challengers for the Sam Maguire Cup bringing fresh vitality to the quest for ultimate glory.

For nearly the guts of a decade, it’s been the Kerry and Tyrone show. The All-Irelands which didn’t fall the Kingdom way were snapped up by Mickey Harte’s group of tireless workers. Not since Armagh’s mould-breakers of 2002 has any other team got a look in. Mayo, as usual, Cork and Dublin flattered to deceive during that period, but when it came down to winning the silverware in September, it had become a two horse race.

Sligo were the team of this year’s Connacht championship, but still didn’t win it. The same fate applied to luckless Louth in Leinster, but in Munster and Ulster respectively, Kerry and Tyrone were back as top dogs. At that stage, nobody could have imagined that the All-Ireland semi-finals would go ahead without them. Jack O’Connor and Harte both railed against the system of not giving provincial winners a second chance as they struggled to cope with an early championship exit.

Down, the team which had never lost to Kerry in four previous championship clashes, again proved their nemeses in Croke Park, while Tyrone were laid low by a revitalised Dublin. Sure, Kerry were hit by injuries and suspensions, but their battle weary forces were simply unable to cope with the Mourne men’s vitality. A week later, wasteful Tyrone were bundled out by the Dubs who had turned themselves inside out in the space of a couple of months under Pat Gilroy, a dead manager walking just two months earlier.

It was the first time in six years that Dublin hadn’t won Leinster. They had scraped over Wexford after extra time in the opening round, but then their new defensive system of getting as many players as possible behind the ball was ransacked for five goals by Meath in the provincial semi-final. The Dubs looked a beaten docket in every sense of the word, but home draws in the qualifiers against Tipperary and Louth helped them to get them back on track.

Still, hardly any neutral expected them to get the better of a battle-hardened Tyrone outfit in last month’s All-Ireland quarter-final, but with star attacker Bernard Brogan still on fire and the Ulster champions untypically squandering a series of chances, Dublin survived with a late goal from newcomer Eoghan O’Gara clinching the deal. It set them up for a big collision with Cork, a team they had only lost once to in 13 previous championship encounters.

The statistics were strongly in favour of a Dublin triumph and when Brogan fired home a first minute goal last Sunday, you just knew it was going to be another fraught day for Cork in Croke Park. The Rebels may have captured the National League title with some swagger, but they hadn’t really ignited in the championship. The general assumption was that their preparations were geared for peaking later in the campaign having, perhaps, being too ready, too soon for recent campaigns.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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

Ruby ready to rock again and Bob is worth a big flutter in Gold Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 06-Mar-2013

New edge to Galway hurling championship title pursuit

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Archive News

A battle of talent and the ability to pull in public votes

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 11-Mar-2013

Here is a question. And there is no holiday or grand prize for getting the answer. But can anyone name the people who have won The Voice of Ireland and what has become of them?

Over across the water in the UK they have The X Factor and while I hate the concept of it, it has produced a few stars even though they don’t last long in the whole scheme of things.

But The Voice of Ireland seems to generate false excitement with the winner ending up become more anonymous than they already were. And it is costing families a fortune in the process.

While the programme is a ratings winner, strangely, it has resulted in those getting through to the final stages investing huge amounts of money in the hope that they will receive enough votes to get through to the next stages.

So, suddenly, it is not about the voice or the talent involved, it is all about votes and who the participants can convince to pledge their support for them. So it is obvious that talent goes out the window.

It means that someone with half a talent could realistically win the whole thing if they generated enough support behind them. From now on, the judges will be taken out of the equation and it will be left to the public to generate income for some phone operator.

Those who get through to the live performances have to engage in a massive publicity campaign in an effort to win votes which makes this whole effort a pure sham. It is no longer about their ability and just an effort to win appeal.

While the initial process does involve some vetting of the acts, now it becomes a general election type exercise in which the most popular will win the competition and the judges will have no say whatsoever.

It is a bit like the recent Eurosong in which the judging panel across the country voted for their favourite song, which incidentally was the best of a very bad lot, but then this was overturned by the public who chose a relatively crap song to represent us.

But again, this was all down to convincing the public about who to vote for rather than having any bearing on the quality on offer. There are times that genuine talent becomes overlooked because of the need to extract money from the voting public.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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