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First Division derby on the cards



Date Published: 22-Jan-2010

LOCAL rivals Salthill Devon and Mervue United are on course to cross swords in the League of Ireland this season as both clubs press ahead with their applications to play in the first Division in March.

The decision for Salthill Devon to proceed with their licence application was made at a general meeting of club members on Monday night, while Mervue United officials are meeting with the FAI next Wednesday to discuss the club’s budget before their licence is renewed for the coming season.

Devon Manager Emlyn Long told City Sport that the proposal to continue with the process of applying for first division status was welcomed across the board on Monday and given unanimous support. “There was a good turnout at the meeting and everything went well,” he said. “There were some concerns raised about the possible financial implications of promotion but there was no dissent as such, and the proposal received support right across the board.”

He said that great effort had gone into devising a viable financial model for the season ahead however, and the committee were confident of making the step up in level a success.

“This isn’t just a pie in the sky; the committee have been looking at areas like this since November,” said Long. “We’ve come in under budget for the last two years in the ‘A’ Championship and we’re an amateur club with no wage bill so we’re confident of making it work.”

Unlike Salthill Devon, who will play their home matches at Drom Soccer park, Mervue United will continue to incur the expense of renting Terryland park for their ‘home’ fixtures this season. The eastside club have applied to Galway & District League for permission to continue renting the stadium, while no immediate plans are in place to develop their own grounds at Fahy’s Field.

Club Secretary Declan McDonnell acknowledged that playing home games at Terryland park was “costly” in the short-term, but explained that it was a prudent decision in the long-term.

“There is a report from the FAI due out at the end of the season that could change the structure of the first Division and conceivably reduce the number of teams,” he said.

“We don’t want to be in a scenario at the end of the following season where we’ve spent €150,000 modifying Fahy’s Field to first Division standards and not be playing in the first Division.”

Salthill Devon are to make a number of minor alterations to Drom following an FAI report on the facilities, but Long said that “none of these are insurmountable” and they don’t expect to encounter difficulties in bringing the grounds up to FAI standards.

He said he is anticipating a baptism of fire during Devon’s inaugural season in the League of Ireland, but that there is huge hunger and excitement among the players.

“I know from talking to Johnny Glynn last year that the physical demands are huge in the first Division due to the number of games compared to junior football,” he said.

“We’re looking at 33 games in the League and participation in three cup competitions, but we’ve got a good squad here and we’ll be adding to it from the very successful u-20 team and the players are very excited about the prospect.

“We’re looking forward to clashing with Mervue again,” he added. “We met them twice in Cup competitions last year but they’re always good games, a great occasion with big rivalry on the pitch but we all shake hands afterwards.

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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