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Exciting climax on cards to Galway football title race



Date Published: {J}

Dara Bradley

AN unforgettable Galway senior club football championship that was dogged by delays through appeals and replays comes to a climax in the county final this Sunday in Tuam Stadium (throw-in, 3pm) with an intriguing North Galway derby between the kingpins of the modern era, Corofin, and the traditional powerhouse and most successful Galway club, Tuam Stars.

Corofin, in their fourth final in-a-row, are bidding to secure their 14th county title and 11th Frank Fox Cup since 1991; while the challengers, Tuam, are seeking to return to the glory days of old and take their first county title since 1994.

That year, Tuam defeated Corofin to claim their 24th title but 12 months later Corofin got their own back, when dethroning the champs to win 2-8 to 0-11 with the help of a penalty save from ‘keeper Martin McNamara.

When Corofin were gunning for an unprecedented three-in-a-row of senior crowns last year and ultimately fell to Killererin at Pearse Stadium, the widespread theory was that Corofin were a tired team and hadn’t the legs for another tilt at glory.

That jibe has no doubt spurred them on this year and – while they have been far from impressive in their march to the final – Corofin will be anxious to dispel the charge that they are ‘passed it’. Before writing them off we must remember, too, Corofin lost by just two points and were unlucky with a few decisions on the day. They’ll have no added ‘three-in-a-row’ pressure this year either.

Corofin are far from a spent force but they haven’t set the world alight this year: They just about got over Micheál Breathnach; struggled against Barna and needed extra time; struggled again in their draw with Claregalway before pulling-away in the replay.

They did have a fairly comprehensive victory over Milltown in the semi-final although there must now be question marks over the quality of the opposition on the day. But that’s what Corofin do: stutter all the way to the final and then grind out narrow victories in the county showpiece.

They are the bookies’ favourites but it’s been five weeks since their last outing, and manager Brian Silke, in his first year in charge, admits it has been difficult to keep the lads’ motivated and focused because of not knowing when they would be out in the final. The decision to agree to play the semi-final early appears to have backfired.

“It has been difficult mentally and physically. We’ve had over 100 training sessions since January and then you end up playing in the mud in October. It’s a joke but it’s not just a Galway problem, it’s countrywide. The draws meant the final kept changing – we thought it would be Sunday and then it was the following Sunday and then the next, so it’s been difficult,” said Silke. The fixtures problem meant Corofin could have just one challenge match in the past five weeks, against Mullingar Shamrocks.

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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