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Finnegan the hero for Gort U-21 hurlers



Date Published: {J}

Gort 1-14

St. Thomas’ 1-10

John McIntyre

In Ballinalsoe

THE Galway Hurling Board may have broken the mould this year by completing the U-21 A championship before the end of April, but it still made no difference to the poor record of St. Thomas’ in recent county finals as the club’s under-performing charges again failed to do themselves justice on the big day.

It didn’t help, of course, that Saturday evening’s opponents at Ballinasloe have a tradition of winning championships and Gort’s latest crop of young hurlers certainly held their nerve in the hectic closing stages with goalkeeper, Kris Finnegan, emerging as the hero of the hour.

No, he didn’t stop a bullet in the dying seconds, but rather sent an injury time 65 straight between the St. Thomas’ posts to secure a hard earned but probably deserved victory as Gort retained the title they had only secured last December against their South Galway neighbours.

This repeat of last winter’s decider had offered St. Thomas’ a strong opportunity of revenge, but having hit the front with a majestic David Burke point from the left wing in the 57th minute, they were unable to close the deal with a previously subdued Keith Killilea and Finnegan snatching the spoils for Gort with late points.

This was a slow-burning affair fought out in front of a decent crowd and with Duggan Park’s tight confines contributing to an awful lot of bunching, the first-half action was largely forgettable as Gort, with the influential Richie Cummins pointing four frees, establishing a 0-7 to 0-4 interval advantage.

The highlight of that opening-half was a wonderful long range point from wing back Jason Grealish, who was later forced to retire with an injured ankle, in the 18th minute while the strong running of Albert Mullins also stretched a St. Thomas’ defence where centre back Donal Cooney took a while to get going.

Ironically, Cooney made his first major contribution when surging upfield to pick off a cracking score after a David Burke pass in the 20th minute, but it still couldn’t compensate for St. Thomas’ troubles up front in the first-half with not one of their six forwards registering a score.

It was left to midfielder Burke to account for their three other points up to half-time, two of which came from frees. Gort weren’t faring much better, but Cummins’ frees together with a 65 from Grealish and a Mullins point from play gave them the initiative on the scoreboard at half-time after both teams were guilty of some wayward shooting.

Initially in the second-half, it appeared that Gort were going to win with something in hand. Points from Cummins (two) and another Grealish 65 left them 0-10 to 0-4 up despite facing the breeze. St.Thomas’, however, were thrown a lifeline when a long Patrick Skehill free was eventually finished to the net by Justin Cunningham in the 38th minute.


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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