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Fairytale glory for new South Galway outfit

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 03-Dec-2009

PERHAPS destiny had a part to play; that in the same month as the GAA celebrated 125 years of existence, a team named in honour of the man behind the association’s foundation should capture a title following this dramatic minor B hurling final in Duggan Park, Ballinasloe on Sunday.

Michael Cusack himself would have no doubt approved of this cracking tussle between two committed, skillful sides, both of whom were created to revive hurling among the youth of their areas. The fledgling amalgamation of Kilbeacanty and Beagh, in only its second year, prevailed on this occasion, holding on under intense late pressure to seal a one-point win.

On a chilly, blustery day this game was a credit to both sides and had supporters in the packed stand on their feet on many an occasion to witness the intense duels. In the end, Michael Cusack’s barnstorming finish to the first half, in which they turned a four-point deficit into a two-point advantage, was the game’s defining period.

In the warm-up Michael Cusack’s manager Kevin O’Grady had implored his forwards to pick a corner when going for goal and Eamon Skehill, although a midfielder, certainly heeded this advice to a tee in the 26th minute when he powered forward and drove a blistering shot to the top corner of the net.

Within a minute, Enda Craddock had fired over a classy point to bring the sides level and in their next attack, another goal was forthcoming when Aidan Fahey’s ground stroke from close range beat Kilnadeema- Leitrim ‘keeper Paul Howard. Despite having

looked like running away with the contest early on, Kilnadeema-Leitrim were suddenly behind and were unable to overturn the sudden swing in fortunes.

It was all so different in the opening ten minutes as Kilnadeema-Leitrim raced into a four-point lead with star forward Dara Herlihy to the fore. Eamon Skehill had opened the scoring with a free for Michael Cusack’s, but Kilnadeema-Leitrim were soon on top with

Herlihy converting two frees before setting up Gary Curley, whose sharp strike made it 0-3 to 0-1.

Curley and Herlihy combined again to force another successful free before Padraic Stapleton added a fine score when he cleverly robbed Michael Cusack’s Thomas McKeown, who was about to clear downfield. Indeed throughout the game, the high standard of blocking and hooking was noticeable from both sides as the players threw themselves wholeheartedly into the battle.

Kilnadeema-Leitrim looked likely to open up a game-winning lead, but two things quickly happened to change the course of events. Within a minute, Michael Cusack’s fired in a tonic goal to restore faith in their abilities as Brendan Burke’s cross-field ball from right to left fell invitingly for Adrian Touhey to fire to the net.

Added to this, Kilnadeema- Leitrim bafflingly decided to move Herlihy into right corner forward, where before he had been doing damage in the half forward line. Michael Cusack’s Jarlath Donoghue quickly switched corners to mark him, and although Herlihy added the next score with a free, his influence quickly began to dissipate.

With Enda Hughes and Jason Kelly growing in stature in the Michael Cusack’s half back line, they got back on level terms through points from Skehill and Adrian Touhey. As the intensity rose, the crowd rose to acclaim it, and although there may not have been a score for seven minutes, it was still gripping stuff.

Shane Lawless finally broke the deadlock with a wonderful point for Kilnadeema-Leitrim and the same player clinically found the net on 24 minutes after being set up by Curley. Michael Cusack’s replied in some style, though, as Skehill triggered their scoring burst before Herlihy concluded the half’s scores with a fifth free.

Within seconds of the restart, Cusack’s almost grabbed a fourth goal when Adrian Touhey bolted clear but was denied by a tremendous flying save from Howard. Skehill obliged from the ’65 and quickly added two frees to open up a five-point lead, while

Steven Diviney had to perform similar heroics to deny Herlihy at the other end.

As the tension mounted Cusack’s were guilty of some uncharacteristic wides while Adrian Tuohey was denied what would have been a fabulously- worked goal by Martin Costello’s timely hook. Another Herlihy free cut the gap to four before Kilnadeema-

Leitrim grabbed a lifeline through a goal from half back-turned-forward Mark Kelly.

Only four minutes remained when Kelly had another chance which would have levelled the scores, but this time his effort was weak and in a flash Michael Cusack’s had the sliotar at the other end where Shane Casey lobbed over a vital score. A goal chance was then spurned before Mark Kelly pointed in the final minute, but Michael Cusack’s held on through a surprisingly short period of injury time to claim victory.

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

Moment of truth for Galway U21s

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 01-May-2013

 Dara Bradley

FOUR matches, four victories, one after extra-time, a Connacht title, four goals and 56 points scored, four goals and 30 points conceded, a heap of wides from their opponents, sinews strained, buckets of sweat and blood spilled.

It’s been one hell of a roller coaster campaign for the Galway U21 footballers but all that will be forgotten come 7pm on Saturday evening at the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick when they cross swords with Cork for the honour of being crowned Cadbury’s All-Ireland champions.

Six weeks ago as Galway set out on their 2013 U21 journey against Sligo in Tuam, the May Bank Holiday weekend final was always the target. They took each game as it came and now it has come down to this – 60 minutes of football to decide who the best U21 team in the land is.

And while there were times along the way when Alan Flynn’s charges looked like they’d fall off the wagon, against Mayo, against Roscommon and again against Kildare, Galway showed resilience and mental strength to time and again bounce back and defy the odds. Often down, never out. It is that perseverance that will stand to Galway in the heat of battle this weekend.

Cork has won an All-Ireland at this grade more times than any other county since the competition’s inception in the 1960s. The most recent of their 11 titles was won in 2009, and they’ve claimed a three-in-a-row of Munster titles with a defeat of Tipperary last month.

Interestingly, five players – Alan Cronin, Jamie Wall, John O’Rourke, Tom Clancy and Damien Cahalene, the son of former inter-county player Niall – that are expected to start this Saturday lined out in each of the last three Munster finals, so they have experience of playing in the pressure cauldrons.

Galway aren’t as experienced. True, a couple of players already have a All-Ireland medal from 2011 – a year Galway beat Cork in the semi-final – but there are a lot of young guns in the panel. Of the squad of 33, about 19 of them are young enough to play U21 next year as well, while eight or nine of the starting 15 will be eligible next year, although you wouldn’t think it given the levelheadedness they’ve displayed throughout the past six weeks.

Galway had plenty to spare over a hapless Sligo outfit in Tuam the first day out, winning by 16 points, which didn’t flatter them, but old rivals Mayo in the following game at the same venue was a different story. After a tense and tight hour of fare, Galway took the spoils after showing immense character to dig it out by two points in a dogfight, 0-9 to 0-7.

Fighting qualities were needed again in the Connacht final in Hyde Park against Roscommon – Galway were minutes from being knocked out of the championship when a heroic comeback, three points in as many minutes from Kilkerrin/Clonberne’s Shane Walsh, rescued extra-time, a period which Galway never looked like losing.

The Tribesmen took their chances when they presented themselves, a trait that also saw them knock-out Kieran McGeeney’s highly rated and much fancied Kildare outfit in a thriller at Tullamore a fortnight ago.

The Lilywhites were wasteful, true, but that’s their problem, and Galway just had too much natural footballing class to take their chances and emerge with a deserved five points, 2-10 to 2-5 victory, despite 19 wides from the vanquished.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

GalwayÕs U-13 and U-16 sides both through to national finals

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 14-May-2013

Mike Rafferty

It proved to be a very successful weekend for Galway Schoolboy soccer as two representative sides qualified for national finals at the end of the month.

It was drama all the way in Eamonn Deacy Park on Saturday afternoon as the U-13 side drew 1-1 with the Midlands League, but came through the dreaded penalty shootout to prevail by 5-4.


Meanwhile the U-16 side had to travel to Cork, where they emerged 2-1 winners following a very impressive performance. For the second game in succession, it was the goals of the Connolly brothers that proved crucial to both team’s success.

Andrew lines out with the U-16 side and he notched both their scores in terrific away win, while younger brother Aaron was on target for the U-13 side and also converted the winning spot kick.

Mervue United captured a third consecutive Connacht Youth Cup with an impressive 4-1 win over Castlebar Celtic in Milebush on Saturday.


Galway League 1

Midlands League 1

(AET-Galway won 5-4 on pens)

A low scoring contest might indicate few chances, but one has to credit two outstanding defences whose splendid covering and marshalling of the front men was a joy to watch.

Galway’s Oisin McDonagh and Adam Rooney never put a foot wrong in central defence, while full-backs Byron Lydon and Matthew Tierney were equally efficient in defence, and getting forward with regular forays.

Further afield, they matched the visitors in terms of intensity and creativity and in the second half in particular should have pulled away from a Midlands side that won the U-12 national title last year.

The visitors certainly offered the greater attacking threat in the opening half, but found home custodian Mark Greaney in top form. Galway’s best chance fell to Joshua Quinlivan, but he pulled an effort wide of the target.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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