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Final heartbreak for Athenry again

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Date Published: 10-Dec-2009

ATHENRY’S fervent hopes of a second ever All Ireland Senior club camogie title lay in tatters on the Clarecastle turf after an enthralling final played in atrocious weather conditions on Sunday.

This far and no further shall you go was the stark message from the powerful Cashel side who celebrated a second All Ireland club title in three years – both victories coming at the expense of Athenry.

The four-in-a-row Galway champions must surely be scratching their heads as to what they must do to land the Bill Carroll Cup, a title that has continued to elude them since the club’s one and only All Ireland triumph in 1977. In truth, the only emotion to describe the feeling of the Athenry players, supporters and management following the final whistle was sheer and utter heartbreak.

Unlike 2007, the Athenry women gave every ounce of energy to the cause but, despairingly, just fell short of the winning post, pipped only by a side that must rank up there with the great club teams of Pearses and Granagh-Ballinagarry.

Having survived an epic semi-final against Oulart the Ballagh, the Tipperary champions were in no mood to let the ultimate prize slip from their grasp. A goal to the good inside the final ten minutes, the winners failed to add to their tally, but held on against a late surge spearheaded by Jessica Gill.

Indeed Gill deserves tremendous plaudits for her contribution. Sidelined since early September with cruciate ligament damage, the former All Star single-handedly wiped out the impact of Cashel full back and captain Una Dwyer, who had controlled proceedings inside the forty for well over three quarters of the tie.

It poses the question what if Gill had been fit? But injuries played key roles on both sides and it must be mentioned that

Cashel were without Sinead Millea, as capable a forward as any that stared on Sunday.

The passion and intensity of the exchanges never flagged throughout and though no quarter was neither asked nor given, exemplary sportsmanship prevailed from the first whistle to the last. It was as hard and as competitive a game of camogie played all season.

And while the opening half proved tight and tense, it was to be second fiddle to what came at the turnover. At the end of the first quarter, Athenry found themselves one point to the good, Mairead Morrissey and Laura Linnane traded points before Brenda Kerins and Therese Maher found the target for Athenry. Cashel’s response coming from the stick of Claire Grogan.

Crucially, Athenry gambled in redeploying Regina Glynn from centre to wing back in a bid to curtail the exploits of the towering Claire Grogan. But it became quickly apparent that the All Star corner back was in for a busy afternoon.

In the ensuing passages of play, Therese Maher broke onto a clearance out of defence, galloped through the centre and struck for the top corner, but was denied by a superb save from ‘keeper Helen Breen.

This was just one of a limited number of goal chances presented to both sides, with Laura Linnane and Emily Hayden spurning opportunities. Brenda Kerins and Claire Grogan registered scores before Laura Linnane (45’) and an inspirational effort from Noreen Coen sent Midge Glynn’s charges three points clear.

Critically, though, Athenry failed to build on their advantage, shooting six wides in that first half. Meanwhile, Cashel were making the most of every chance that fell their way, Claire Grogan and Alison Lonergan snipped a pair of points to reduce the deficit to a solitary point at the break.

Little things were going against Athenry – Maher’s missed goal chance and Linanne’s inability to spot Natalie Jordan on the edge of the square when a goal looked imminent.

Cashel, backed by the breeze, came out all guns blazing and by the end of third quarter led by 0-9 to 0-7. Emily Hayden, Mairead Morrissey and Claire Grogan (two) struck points. Clearly rattled, the best Athenry could conjure up was a free from Laura Linnane. Yet, hope sprang eternal and the introduction of Jessica Gill (heavily strapped) brought the largest cheer of the day on 46 minutes.

Gill proved to be the perfect target women, rising high to field superbly within two minutes of her introduction, only to see her ensuing effort dropped by Helen Breen and eventually cleared.

Claire Grogan re-established her side’s three point lead, though Katie O’Dwyer did narrow the gap back to two momentarily before Grogan looked to have sealed the win, converting a free on 52 minutes.

Athenry staring down the barrel of a third straight defeat to Cashel pulled momentum from the grey skies that loomed above to launch a grandstand finish. Brenda Keirns, Sarah Donoghue and Katie O’Dwyer were all causing problems for Cashel and suddenly a defence that had looked so secure for so long began to buckle.

Gaps appeared all over the place and panic bells sounded every time the ball crossed halfway. Athenry had one last chance to rescue the situation, but Gill’s 21’ yard free just rose above the crossbar for a point.

It was to be their final chance and, in truth they were extremely fortunate not to concede an injury time gaol as Stephanie Gannon pulled of a fine save from Emily Hayden.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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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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