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Failure of U-21 hurlers worrying ahead of the big one



Date Published: 29-Aug-2012

THERE were bad tidings from Thurles on Saturday evening. A Galway under 21 hurling team top heavy with survivors from last year’s triumphant squad and players with inter-county senior championship experience utterly failed to justify their exalted reputation when coming up well short in a high stakes encounter against Kilkenny.

Only two outstanding individual goals from Davy Glennon and Joseph Cooney saved the Tribesmen from a really heavy defeat, but the overall disappointing Galway display and the manner in which Kilkenny cut holes through their defence left supporters with an even greater sense of foreboding ahead of next month’s senior showdown between the same two counties.

Psychologically alone, this was an important match to win for Galway and with 17 senior panellists involved with the Under 21s, they appeared to have the artillery to fend off the Kilkenny challenge, but they flattered to deceive in Semple Stadium and can have no complaints about the outcome with several key performers failing to deliver.

Given that the Galway senior management were also over the U-21s – with a little help from Portumna’s Johnny Kelly – it placed even greater significance on the result, but the champions just didn’t fire after an encouraging opening in which they opened a 0-6 to 0-3 lead with Niall Burke picking off a couple of excellent points.

Gradually, things started to go downhill. The Galway midfield and defence were starting to have their limitations exposed and were basically over-run as Kilkenny struck for three goals in a devastating 11 minute spell. Ollie Walsh, whose shot ought to have been saved by Fergal Flannery, John Power and Ger Aylward all found the net to lay the foundations for thoroughly deserved seven point victory.

There was far more cutting and method to Kilkenny’s hurling and though Fergal Flannery really ought to have saved Walsh’s opening goal, there was no doubting Kilkenny’s superiority. They didn’t stand on ceremony either and Galway struggled to cope in the physical exchanges. Jonathan Glynn, however, was a notable exception, repeatedly winning hard ball and landing two fine points to boot in the opening-half.

By the 22nd minute, Galway midfielder Padraig Brehony and Jason Grealish, who is hardly a natural corner back in the first place, had been called ashore as the team management tried to stop the rot and though pointed frees from Burke (two) and Tadhg Haran, who tried hard, had reduced the deficit from ten to seven by the break, we all knew they now faced a nearly impossible task to overhaul the Cats.


When Power rattled the Galway net from a 21 yard free soon after the resumption, Kilkenny were never going to be caught. By the 48th minute, they were 4-11 to 0-13 ahead and coasting, only for the title holders to launch a spirited comeback out of nothing. Glennon completed a brave run with a booted effort past goalkeeper Dylan Walsh before a 50 yard surge from Cooney ended with a perfectly placed shot to the far corner.

With Burke and Haran raising white flags, suddenly Galway were only three points adrift, with momentum behind them, and seven minutes left on the clock. True to form, however, Kilkenny lifted the siege and, as if to emphasise their superiority, they were able to sufficiently regroup for Kevin Kelly (free), Power, Aylward and Walter Walsh to close out the game with late points.

Given there was so much hope attached to these young Galway hurlers, Saturday’s disjointed effort offered few consolations. Most of them came off second best in their personal duels although Jonathan Glynn must now be pressing for a starting slot on September 9 after a really noteworthy display, typified by his ability to win aerial battles. Cooney could come into the reckoning too after some impressive moments, most notably for that cracking second-half goal.

Few of the rest came through unscathed. Niall Burke, however, did pick off three classy points from play and that is his primary function, while Glennon, Haran, Richie Cummins, early on, had their moments, but the Galway backs just couldn’t cope with the pressure. Daithi Burke did improve as the game progressed, but the damage was already done.

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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