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Election night fever



Date Published: 10-Dec-2009

ACTINg hurling Board Chairman Stephen Cahalan has pulled out of the race to find a permanent successor to former supremo Miko Ryan ahead of tonight’s annual convention at the Raheen FIoods hotel in Athenry (7.30pm).

Cahalan, who has filled the position since Ryan resigned under a cloud of controversy at the end of October, told Tribune Sport this week that he would not be seeking the job due to personal commitments.

“The reason I have withdrawn is that I just don’t have the time to put into it,” said the Mullagh clubman, who has been Vice Chairman for the past four years. “I was under a lot of pressure from clubs to stay on, but there is more responsibility involved and I felt I would not have the time.”

Cahalan’s decision to withdraw from the race has left a straight contest between Joe Byrne (Kinvara) and Jimmy Cooney (Sarsfields) for the vacant post, which Ryan held for 13 years prior to his departure on October 28 last.

However, Cahalan is seeking re-election as Vice Chairman, a position which is expected to go to a vote in a contest featuring Pat Moore (Turloughmore), Joe Connolly (Ballinderreen), and Noel Turley (Meelick-Eyrecourt).

There will also be huge interest in the contest for Secretary, with incumbent John Fahey (St. Thomas’) facing a challenge from former Galway manager Jarlath Cloonan (Athenry) in a vote featuring two delegates from every hurling club in the county.

In his fifth annual report to the Convention, Fahey calls for greater unity within Galway hurling in the wake of some unsavoury incidents during the year.

“Unfortunately, during the year a number of incidents took place which in a simple line should not happen,” he says. “We should strive to work as a team, respect the others’ participation, and put the interest of Galway hurling before all others.”

Fahey highlights the fact that inclement weather conditions resulted in games being called off on 11 weekends in 2009, with the weather sometimes wiping out the entire programme of games in the county. But he also laments the willingness of the Board to call off games for other reasons.

“We had too many games postponed, firstly by the delegate Board and secondly for the flimsiest of reasons which, unfortunately, we as administrators yielded to,” he said.

For Fahey, the highlights of the year were undoubtedly the All-Ireland winning successes of the county minors in September and Portumna in March, while he says supporters, management, and players are still wondering how the seniors lost out to Waterford by the narrowest of margins in the All-Ireland quarter-final.

While he has “no doubt” that having to play three championship games in as many weekends, in which players picked up injuries, had played a part in ending Galway’s championship hopes, Fahey welcomes the increased number of games brought about by the controversial move to Leinster which came into effect in 2009.

Indeed, Fahey’s address to delegates highlights the fact that the county seniors played 18 competitive games in 2009, beginning with a Walsh Cup fixture against Offaly on January 18.

He says that the huge interest in the ‘flagship’ domestic senior hurling championship was evident in the number of motions relating to its structure which the delegates will have to consider this evening.

“We will have some lively debate,” he says. “Whatever about the structure we adopt, if we are to continue to develop the game in our clubs we must not eliminate teams from competition too early in the year.”

For more on the Hurling Board convention see page 56 of this week’s 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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