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Duffy on the wing as Connacht take on lowly Dragons



Date Published: 22-Nov-2012

Dara Bradley

CONNACHT captain Gavin Duffy will line out in the unfamiliar left wing position as he starts his first game tonight (Friday) since September, as RaboDirect Pro 12 action returns with an away clash with Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade (7pm).

Duffy, who scored a try against Treviso in round eight with a seven minutes cameo role from the bench last month, has been sidelined with injury for several weeks. Duffy is more accustomed to the full-back position but during his injury absence, youngster Robbie Henshaw has excelled in that role and he retains the number 15 jersey for the trip to Wales.

Eric Elwood had a mini forward crisis to contend with this week having been shorn of the services of Mike McCarthy, who is included in the Ireland squad that faces Argentina in Dublin on Saturday, and John Muldoon, who will be sidelined for up to three months after damaging knee ligaments in Ireland’s rout of Fiji at Thomond Park over the weekend.

The head coach is also without George Naoupu, who is still struggling with an ankle injury, forcing Elwood to field back-row and second-row partnerships that have enjoyed little game-time together.

How effectively Michael Swift and Mick Kearney, and Andrew Browne, Willie Faloon and Eoin McKeon, gel tonight will go a long way to determining how competitive the visitors will be. Elsewhere, hooker Ethienne Reynecke is named among the replacements following his return from injury this week while winger Matt Healy, who is also named on the bench, could earn his first cap for the province.


As Connacht prepare to embark on the second ‘tranche’ of games of the 2012/2013 season, it is perhaps timely to take stock, and look at the progress or otherwise, to date compared with last year.


Connacht are in a slightly worse league position at this stage of the campaign this year, compared with the same stage last season, which eventually ended in an all-time high league finish.

In the first tranche of eight games last season, Connacht won three matches and received three losing bonus points in their five defeats, and so had accumulated 15 league points heading into the busy November to January schedule.

This season Connacht have accumulated 14 points from their first eight matches – three wins, one with a try bonus, and a losing bonus leaving them in eighth place – but they’ve also picked up a win in October in the Heineken Cup and so are arguably in better shape now than last year.

At this stage in 2011, Connacht were also two defeats into what turned out to be a record breaking losing streak that stretched to 14 losses on the trot. Connacht cannot countenance a similar ‘whitewash’ of games in the middle chunk of this season; and it won’t happen.

Outside of the festive season inter-provincials against Leinster and Munster, in which anything can happen, Connacht’s other four league games before the January break are against the Dragons (twice), Edinburgh and Zebre, matches that are all eminently winnable.


For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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