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Archive News

Extra time heartbreak for An Spideal



Date Published: 12-Nov-2009

WHEN heart and full-blooded commitment could not separate them it fell to one calamitous indiscretion by An Spideal to hand the Connacht junior football crown to Mayo champions Kiltimagh at Charlestown on Sunday.


In the dying moments of extra time when they were locked in stalemate, and every last ounce of energy of every player expended, the blunder was understandable. But it denied An Spideal the chance of at least a replay.


The Galway champions had overcome the adversity of a red card sending off in normal time, and the end of a classic encounter was in sight. They were back on level terms, were awarded a sideline kick, and seemed destined for at least a return match on home soil.

But something untoward occurred in the struggle for that sideline ball and on advice from the linesman, referee Frank Flynn reduced the award to a throw-in which was won by Kiltimagh’s lionhearted Tomas Morley.


Calmly, the midfield veteran slipped the ball to Adrian Forkin, and with nerves of steel the corner forward grabbed the winning score from all of 40 yards. That ice cool piece of skill was all the more commendable since Forkin had missed a couple of similar shots a few minutes earlier.


It brought to an end breathless moments of fire and brimstone, with the lead switching hands as two sides exchanged supremacy in a titanic battle that no side deserved to lose. Normal time had ended as dramatically as the game itself. Three minutes earlier An Spideal took the lead with their fifth point in a row, a stirring recovery in the face of cruel adversity.


Trailing by four points seven minutes into the second half, the odds against them had begun to stack up. Worse was to follow when they lost Diarmuid O Droighneain for a straight red card offence. But that setback could not diminish the man of the match inspirational effect that Lorcan O Callarain had already begun to generate in the middle of the field . . . or the support coming from his brother Micheal in the same sector.


An indifferent first half in which Kiltimagh’s smooth transfer of ball, intelligent delivery and fast open wing play, which constituted the perfect foil to the Connemara men’s greater physical strength and man for man superiority, was put aside. New long ball tactics were engaged and steadily An Spideal stamped their authority on the game.


Three points by Brendan Og O Callarain, two from frees, and two by Aodan O Curraoin turned a deficit of four into a lead of one, their first time to hit the front since the 19th minute. You would not have bet on a Kiltimagh win. But significantly, they held their cool.


Micheal Schlingermann, called from the bench at half-time, was a steadying influence. But the wise old head of Tomas Morley, back helping out the defence, held them together. His clever interventions and sweet delivery set up Malee and company time and again.


By the 30th minute the accurate boot of Ciaran Charlton had the Mayo side back on level terms. And two minutes into injury time you would not have bet on their losing when Brian Gallagher rounded off a characteristically quick raid involving the excellent duo of Malee and Charlton with what seemed the winning score.


There was still a minute of injury time left, time enough for one final rescue attempt by an Spideal. And the applause that greeted the confidence and coolness of Maghnus Breathnach as he stroked a 45 over the bar in the last act of normal time was well deserved.


In the breather before extra time, the Galway champions had time to ponder what might have been if only Tomas O Fatharta had buried a great chance in the opening minutes of the match. The full-forward had done well to slip the full back, but then also waltzed around two further defenders until he came face to face with Peter Burke in goal.The ‘keeper’s save was out of this world, however. And in the 11th minute he came to Kiltimagh¹s rescue again in denying O Curraoin.


Extra time was not a consideration then as An Spideal threatened to kill off the game early. But their confidence became unhinged a little when Kiltimagh countered in a necklace of fast, sudden spurts, that yielded frees from which Charlton bagged three vital points. By half-time An Spideal had managed only three, one each by O Fatharta, O Curraoin and Brendan Og, and, surprisingly, they trailed by two.


All that laid the foundation for the tense, nerve-racking struggle that was to follow. Einne O Domhnaill was superb in the Spideal defence. Maghnus Breathnach, Dara Mac an Ri and Liam O Conghaile also worked assiduously.


In the heavy conditions you would have expected less fervour in extra time. But running on reserves of nerve and pluck and resolve there was no diminution in passion or commitment. They tore back into the game giving everything they had. It was tit for tat, and we were pinned to our seats.


Morley set up Keith Lydon for the lead point that lasted into the 42nd minute when Brendan Og reeled in his fifth of the match. That’s how we thought it would end until that lapse of concentration of which Morley and Forkin took full advantage.


Kiltimagh: P. Burke; J. Mulhern, J. Murtagh, P. Larkin; D. Gallagher, C. Heneghan A. Lydon; T. Morley, P. Regan; J. Byrne, S. Malee, C. Charlton (0-6,5fs); B. Gallagher (0-3), N. Lydon, A Forkin (0-1). Subs: M. Schlingermann for Murtagh; R. Malee for Forkin; B. McCarthy for Regan; K. Lydon (0-1) for R.Malee; A. Carroll for D. Gallagher; Regan for Gallagher; Forkin for Carroll.

An Spideal: P.O Maolallaigh; D. O Droighneain, A. Breathnach, L. O Conghaile; M. Breathnach (0-1 Œ45¹), D. Mac an Riogh, E. O Domhnaill; L. O Callarain, M. O Callarain; D. O Maolallaigh, A. O Curraoin (0-3), M. ‘Beag’ O Droighneain; B. Og O Callarain (0-5,3fs), T. O Fatharta (0-1), C. O Droighneain. Subs: O. Breathnach for O Fatharta; D. De Barra for M ‘Beag’ O Droighneain; F. O Tuathail for D O Maolallaigh; E O Droighneain for O Domhnaill. Referee F. Flynn (Leitrim).

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

Teenage Kicks hard to beat Ð unless youÕre Eden Hazard



Date Published: 28-Jan-2013

A receiver has been appointed to Greenstar, which operates Kilconnell dump near Ballinasloe with a staff of approximately 15

The company has a workforce of 800 across the country in collecting waste from 80 thousand households and 12 thousand businesses

It is part of the NTR group which last month (july) published a report stating its subsidiary Greenstar will close its nationwide landfills over the next three years unless prices improve

However in a statement today the board of Greenstar said it wanted to express its disappointment at what it called the ‘unexpected’ move of the appointment of a receiver

The company said it was regrettable that its lenders have chosen to take this action – as the company has not missed any scheduled repayments and is in a strong cash position to continue trading for the foreseeable future

Business Analyst Ian Guider says Greenstar feels there was no need for the banks to take this drastic measure

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Archive News

Galway loses a vibrant voice with the passing of Tony Small



Date Published: 31-Jan-2013

With the passing of Tony Small, Galway has lost a truly vibrant voice. Growing up the son of a tailor in Corrandulla, Tony was reared in a musical house. His brother Jackie was the host of RTÉ 1’s The Long Note, and is also a piper and accordion player of some repute.

Over 30 years ago, Mick Crehan, who runs The Crane Bar, struck up a friendship with Tony Small.

“The first time I met Tony I was playing with an outfit, we were touring around Germany,” he recalls. “Tony was playing with The Wild Geese. They were huge in Germany at that time. There was Tony, Peadar Howley, Norman White, Christy Delaney, Mick Ryan and later Eoin Duignan. They were wild in every way! Tony was a great frontman, a tremendous voice.”

At the time, De Dannan and The Bothy Band were also touring Germany, but as Mick says, ‘The Geese were always top of the bill.’ Tony had a deep affinity with Irish traditional music, but he also put his own spin on it.

“Tony had an extra quality that I find hard to put into words,” says Mick. “He had a vast repertoire of traditional songs and ballads, plus he was writing his own. He had great respect for tradition, but he always added something extra. He bred new life into old songs; he was very innovative.”

“I’d put Tony in the same league as Andy Irvine, who I have tremendous respect for. Andy did things with traditional music that I don’t think have been improved upon. Tony had that type of approach to the songs as well.

Tony Small and Gerry Carthy played the very first gig in The Crane back over 33 years ago. The occasion was re-lived at the beginning of January, when Tony and Gerry played together once more.

“Luckily for Tony, shortly before he died, Gerry was over from the States,” says Mick . “We had a gig here with Gerry, Tony, Jackie, and Sean Tyrell was here, and Johnny Mulhern, and Eugene Lamb, the piper. A fantastic gathering of old buddies.”

Last year, Tony Small released Mandolin Mountain. Recorded in Dingle by Donogh Hennessy from Lunasa, it saw Tony at the peak of his powers.

“It’s definitely his best work,” says Mick. “Nearly all the songs are written by Tony – or re-written. I had the privilege of launching it and writing the notes. There’s a huge variety of stuff on it, there’s philosophical songs, travellers’ songs, rakish songs, very deep songs. I think it gives you a picture of Tony and what he liked, and a very good picture of himself.”

Tony Small took a delight in music that was infectious. In an interview with the Connacht Tribune last November, he reflected on a lifetime’s playing.

“I’m able to sing and I’m able to play a bit,” Tony said. “I’m no virtuoso, but I love doing it. And I love sharing it. I do the best I can. What more can I do?”

Tony Small loved playing music, and had an effect that will endure beyond his lifetime. The Galway music scene has lost a truly gifted player. As Mick Crehan says, “he’ll be really missed.”

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