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Experience is the key as Loughrea edge rough clash



Date Published: 02-May-2012

Loughrea 0-16

Athenry 1-11


Loughrea produced one of their trademark performances, using all their experience in the process, to account for a youthful Athenry side in this teak-tough senior championship first round encounter at Kenny Park on Sunday evening.

Although a number of young players have also broken into the Loughrea starting XV in recent times, the Town has continued to hold onto their core group of exponents and, consequently, have been able to embrace the same principles that secured them a county title in 2006.

No doubt, Loughrea have a superb ability to keep a contest tight, with their defence standing tall to a man, while, up front, they can conjure up scores out of the tightest of situations. Indeed, with the likes of Johnny Maher, Johnny O’Loughlin and now Johnny Coen leading the offensive lines, they have players who can bend and flex a game to their choosing.

This was evident throughout, particularly in the closing quarter when the game had to be won. By this time, Athenry had hauled themselves back into contention after Shane Donohue latched onto a sideline cut from his twin brother David to net the contest’s only goal.

The score put Athenry into the lead, 1-9 to 0-11, heading into the final quarter but Loughrea had been so commanding and efficient in their duties right throughout the tie that, as a result, it was difficult to see them losing this one.

As it was, the versatile Gavin Keary played a captain’s role when hitting the equaliser on 51 minutes and in the closing minutes Loughrea gathered momentum to further outscore their rivals four points to two.

O’Loughlin, substitute Jamie Ryan – a lively addition when introduced – and Maher (play and free) all landed the crucial scores for the Town while wing-forward Sean Glynn and midfielder Mark Hannon were the only two players to offer the ripostes for their side.

Two points may have been the margin in the end but that was simply because Loughrea dictated it so. They never see the merit, really, of indulging in a shoot-out when they have the power, structure and temperament to eke out results. Like it or not, it’s a winning formula.

In any event, there was little to separate the sides from early on. Sean Glynn (free), midfielder Mark Hannon and Shane Donohue all tallied points for a keen Athenry outfit in a lively opening quarter, but these were duly cancelled out by similar efforts from Sean Sweeney, Maher (free) and O’Loughlin.

Athenry could have registered an opening goal as early as the sixth minute when Conor Cannon broke through the Loughrea cover, however, Town custodian Nigel Murray was equal to the effort and repelled the danger.

It was Eamonn Kelly’s charges who got stronger and stronger as the half progressed. Kenneth Colleran and O’Loughlin – operating as a third midfielder, by coincidence or design – kept the scoreboard ticking over for their side and this was an advantage they maintained until the half-time break as Maher (free and play) and Coen traded points with Glynn (three frees) in the closing stages.

In fairness to Athenry, they looked to make good use of the wind early in the second period and quickly overhauled Loughrea’s 0-8 to 0-6 half-time lead. Glynn clipped over two frees on 37 and 38 minutes before Conor Cannon shot the lead score a minute later.

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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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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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