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Extra time heartbreak for An Spideal

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



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

Judy Murphy



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

Henshaw and McSharry set to field for Irish Wolfhounds in clash with England Saxons

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

CONNACHT’S rising stars Robbie Henshaw and Dave McSharry look set to named in the starting xv for the Ireland Wolfhounds who face the England Saxons in Galway this weekend when the team is announced later today (Thursday).

Robbie Henshaw is the only out-and-out full-back that was named Tuesday in the 23-man squad that will take on the English at the Sportsground this Friday (7.45pm).

Connacht’s centre McSharry and Ulster’s Darren Cave are the only two specialist centres named in the 23 man squad, which would also suggest the two youngsters are in line for a starting place.

Former Connacht out-half, Ian Keatley, Leinster’s second out-half Ian Madigan and Ulster’s number 10 Paddy Jackson and winger Andrew Trimble, although not specialist full-backs or centres, can all slot into the 12, 13 and 15 jerseys, however you’d expect the Irish management will hand debuts to Henshaw and McSharry given that they’ll be playing on their home turf.

Aged 19, Henshaw was still playing Schools Cup rugby last season. The Athlone born Connacht Academy back burst onto the scene at the beginning of the season when he filled the number 15 position for injured captain Gavin Duffy.

The Marist College and former Ireland U19 representative was so assured under the high ball, so impressive on the counter-attack and astute with the boot, that he retained the full-back position when Duffy returned from injury.

Connacht coach Eric Elwood should be commended for giving the young Buccaneers clubman a chance to shine and Henshaw has grasped that opportunity with both hands, lighting up the RaboDirect PRO 12 and Heineken Cup campaigns for the Westerners this season.

Henshaw has played in all 19 of Connacht’s games this season and his man-of-the-match display last weekend in the Heineken Cup against Zebre caught the eye of Irish attack coach, Les Kiss.

“We’re really excited about his development. He had to step into the breach when Connacht lost Gavin Duffy, and he was playing 13 earlier in the year. When he had to put his hand up for that, he’s done an exceptional job,” Kiss said.

The 22-year-old McSharry was desperately unlucky to miss out on Declan Kidney’s Ireland squad for the autumn internationals and the Dubliner will relish the opportunity this Friday night to show-off his speed, turn of foot, deft hands and finishing prowess that has been a mark of this season, in particular, with Connacht.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Drinks battle brewing as kettle sales go off the boil

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 30-Jan-2013

You’d have thought there might have been three certainties in Irish life – death, taxes and the cup of tea – but it now seems that our post-tiger sophistication in endangering the consumption of the nation’s second favourite beverage.

Because with all of our new-fangled coffee machines, percolators, cappuccino and expresso makers, sales of the humble kettle are falling faster than our hopes of a write-off on the promissory note.

And even when we do make tea, we don’t need a tea pot – it’s all tea bags these days because nobody wants a mouthful of tea leaves, unless they’re planning to have their fortune told.

Sales of kettles are in decline as consumers opt for fancy coffee makers, hot water dispensers and other methods to make their beverages – at least that’s the case in the UK and there’s no reason to think it’s any different here.

And it’s only seems like yesterday when, if the hearth was the heart of every home, the kettle that hung over the inglenook fireplace or whistled gently on the range, was the soul.

You’d see groups gathered in bogs, footing turf and then breaking off to boil the battered old kettle for a well-earned break.

The first thing that happened when you dropped into someone’s home was the host saying: “Hold on until I stick on the kettle.”

When the prodigal son arrived home for the Christmas, first item on the agenda was a cup of tea; when bad news was delivered, the pain was eased with a cuppa; last thing at night was tea with a biscuit.

The arrival of electric kettles meant there was no longer an eternal search for matches to light the gas; we even had little electric coils that would boil water into tea in our cup if you were mean enough or unlucky enough to be making tea for one.

We went away on sun holidays, armed with an ocean of lotion and a suitcase full of Denny’s sausages and Barry’s Tea. Spanish tea just wasn’t the same and there was nothing like a nice brew to lift the sagging spirits.

We even coped with the arrival of coffee because for a long time it was just Maxwell House or Nescafe granules which might have seemed like the height of sophistication – but they still required a kettle.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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