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Fans group aims to return Galway Utd to its ÔrootsÕ



Date Published: {J}

Keith Kelly

THE Galway United fans group, which this week announced its decision to split from the club and instead apply to enter its own team into the 2012 Airtricity League, insists it is going back to Galway United’s roots by holding an open public meeting in the Claddagh on Sunday (7pm).

It was in the Claddagh Hall that Galway Rovers – the precursor to Galway United – was formed in 1937, and the Galway United Supporters Trust says that as a sign of its intent to return Galway United to its true community roots, it is delighted to have been offered the use of Claddagh Hall for Sunday’s crucial meeting.

A sense of the support for the move by the fans is the fact that it was Galway Rovers who approached them with the offer of the use of the hall, with the GUST saying it has been “astounded by the messages of support from around the world by Galwegians and football supporters alike supporting their licence application for the 2012 Airtricity League”.

It will use the meeting to outline its plans for a new club – to be provisionally called Galway United Supporters Trust FC – which it hopes will be granted a licence to play in the Airtricity League First Division next season, and it is urging all fans of Galway United to attend Sunday’s meeting.

It has been a tumultuous week for Galway United FC, which began on Monday night with the announcement by the GUST that it was withdrawing its support from the club, and instead going ahead with plans to enter its own team in the League of Ireland.

That announcement was followed on Tuesday afternoon by a statement from the Board of Directors of Galway United FC that, in view of the decision by the GUST, the Board was withdrawing the licence application submitted in the name of Galway United.

In its statement, the Board said that it did not mean the end of Galway United, but rather that “the ensuing 12 months will allow the club to assess strategic and infrastructural changes that are required to be made ahead of an application for the 2013 season”.

The statement goes on to say that “a decision will then be taken as to the best route forward for soccer in Galway and discussions will take place with all stakeholders”, so as things stand, Galway United is still operational, but is not operating in so far as competing in the League of Ireland next season.

That has caused confusion among some Galway United supporters, who are torn between a loyalty for a club which is still in existence, and the desire to see a football club playing in the domestic league which is representative of the city and county.

It is believed that John Brennan – who last month was named as Galway United manager for the 2012 season, having stepped in as caretaker manager towards the end of last season – has thrown his support behind the proposed new entity, as have a number of past players of the club.

The GUST confirmed at its AGM in the city on Monday night that it was ending its agreement with the United board over its day-to-day management of the club, and instead was pursuing its own application for a First Division licence next season.

That move has the backing of the UK-based organisation Sports Direct, a UEFA recognised group which aims to promote greater fan involvement in – and, preferably, total control over – the running of clubs. The fans group says its objective “is to return Galway senior soccer back to its roots as a community club run and directed by its members”.

The news of the split – which does not appear to have been acrimonious – between fans and the club has been met with opposing views this week, with those close to the GUST saying it was the only decision available to it to ensure the club, in some guise, could continue to survive; while others suggest that the move is the death knell for Galway United, and that there is little or no chance of the fan-run club being granted a licence for next season.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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