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End of the road for hurling and football champs

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Date Published: {J}

IT nearly always creates a stir when champions fall and there was no shortage of debate after the eclipse of Galway’s senior hurling and football title holders in the space of 24 hours last weekend. Portumna and Corofin have been the dominant forces on the local GAA scene, but both teams were only a shadow of their best days as their battle weary limbs were simply unable to ‘lift it’ when they needed to in opposition to Loughrea and Killererin respectively.

Frankly, despite the bookmaker odds being strongly in their favour, it came as no great surprise that the title stranglehold of both clubs has been finally broken. Neither Portumna or Corofin could cope with the energy and hunger of their rivals, and though they got close enough on the scoreboard in the end, it doesn’t reflect the superiority of the winners in each case. The Loughrea hurlers and Killererin footballers both deservedly carried the day.

It may have failed to live up to expectations, but the county football final contained no shortage of goalmouth drama, highlighted by Alan O’Donovan’s futile injury-time attempt to blast the ball past an army of Killererin players. Instead, the Corofin free-taker inexplicably ballooned the ball wide and, within seconds, streetwise Killererin were celebrating the club’s sixth ever county championship.

There was no fluke about the result either. Despite facing the elements, they led by 1-5 to 1-2 at the interval and though Corofin regrouped to edge in front during the third quarter, the men from Barnaderg never panicked with their instinctive class up front proving the telling difference in the end. They sent over the last four points of the final from Ger Butler, Man of the Match Nicky Joyce (2) and Padraic Joyce to comfortably avenge last year’s quarter-final defeat.

Ultimately, Corofin’s failure to score over the final 23 minutes, including five of injury time, summed up their attacking woes on the day. Only the excellent Michael Farragher really troubled the Killererin defence and it was his goal in the 26th minute which brought the champions back into the contest when they trailed by 0-4 to 0-2.

Kieran McGrath’s point effort had come back off the post, but the alert Joe Canney secured possession to set up Farragher for a well taken goal even if of fortunate origin.

But symbolic of Corofin’s fortunes, they were quickly in trouble again as Nicky Joyce rose highest near the opposition square to fist a Butler delivery to the net. It would have been even worse for Gerry Keane’s men at half-time only for goalkeeper David Morris producing a fine reflex save to deny Butler. Jonathan Keane did eventually split the posts as Killererin’s superiority was reflected in a three point interval lead.

In big trouble, it represented a huge challenge for Corofin to drag themselves back into the contest given all the mileage on the clock, but they stormed out of the starting blocks on the resumption with two points from Farragher and a superb effort from substitute Thomas Costello quickly bringing the teams level. It got even better for Corofin when O’Donovan steered over a 38th minute free to give them the lead for the first time in the match. They had the momentum now, but were utterly unable to drive on.

Instead, Killererin managed to regroup. Full back Colin Forde, Daniel Mannion, and Thomas Hughes were standing up to be counted, while playmakers Padraic and the tireless Tommie Joyce gradually re-established their influence on the exchanges. They were also the more mobile outfit with Butler, Keane and Michael Boyle full of dash in the Corofin half of the field as the challengers greater attacking guile began to prove decisive.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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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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