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Fit-again players restored to hurling panel

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 26-Nov-2009

Galway hurling manager John McIntyre has pledged to “raise the bar” to reach the standards set by All-Ireland finalists Kilkenny and Tipperary next year after unveiling his 34-man panel for the 2010 campaign this week.

The panel shows a number of changes from the squad whose season came to an end when they were knocked out of the championship by Waterford in last July’s quarter-final and appears to confirm the end of the inter-county careers of some long-serving players.

Three players who represented the county in the 2001 and 2005 All-Ireland finals are not set to be part of Galway’s plans for the coming campaign, when the hurlers will be aiming to bring an end to a 22-year search for All-Ireland glory.

McIntyre confirmed this week that Galway would be planning for the new campaign without the long-serving Alan Kerins (Clarinbridge) and Fergal Healy (Craughwell), both of whom fielded in those September deciders against Tipperary and Cork at Croke Park.

In addition, David Tierney – who was Healy’s midfield partner in the 2005 defeat to Cork – had informed the team management of his decision to retire from inter-county hurling prior to the announcement of the new panel.

The departures of Kerins, Healy, and Tierney means that only two members of the starting line-up from the 2001 All Ireland final, Ollie Canning and Richie Murray, remain with the panel nine years on.

Others to be let go, who featured in the 2009 squad, include young Clarinbridge midfielder and county u-21 player Eoin Forde, and defenders Brian Costello of Abbeyknockmoy; Kinvara’s Ger Mahon, who was part of the panel for a number of years; and Kilconieron’s Martin Ryan.

Full-back Damien McClearn (Loughrea) had informed the selectors that he could not give the requisite commitment to the county cause, due to work and family commitments.

But Galway followers will be delighted to note the return to the fold of former captain David Collins, who has missed over two years of inter-county hurling since damaging an ankle in a Railway Cup game at Croke Park in October 2007.

The 2005 Young Hurler of the Year is currently in Australia, but the Liam Mellows wing back is due to rejoin the panel at the end of January, having already been given a weights training programme by the team management.

Also back from injury is Athenry defender Ciaran O’Donovan, who suffered a cruciate injury during the Railway Cup final defeat to Leinster in Abu Dhabi back in March, and Ardrahan attacker Iarla Tannian, who also missed most of the past year due to a cruciate injury.

The selectors have signalled a ‘changing of the guard’ with no less than nine new players being added to the panel, including former minor captain David Burke (St. Thomas’), Aiden Harte (Gort), Donal Barry (Castlegar), Pat Holland (Ardrahan), Niall Cahalan (Mullagh), and Eanna Ryan (Killimordaly).

A surprise addition to the panel, perhaps, is RahoonNewcastle defender Tony Og Regan, who featured regularly at full-back during Ger Loughnane’s two years at the helm of Galway hurling. Regan was excluded from the panel during McIntyre’s first year in charge.

Also making a recall is Mullagh centre back Conor Dervan, thanks to his impressive displays in the county championship, once his three month suspension – as a result of the controversial county semi-final against Loughrea – comes to an end in January.

McIntyre said that the management team met with the 2010 panel at the start of this month and gave the players their weight training programme ahead of the ban on inter-county training during the months of November and December.

Players are undergoing the weights programmes either individually or in small groups before the squad gets together early in the New Year.

“The panel is not a closed shop and, as we showed this year, the team management are very flexible in relation to moving out and moving in players,” said McIntyre.

“Naturally, it was extremely difficult to have to inform players who were released from the squad of the bad news, but the door is always open to the possibility of them being recalled, depending on their club form. I would like to thank these players for their commitment to the Galway cause since we took over.”

The Galway boss took encouragement from the recent meeting between the management and players at which plans for 2010 were drawn up. He was pleased by the positive mood within the 34-man panel.

“The tone of that meeting was that both the management and players have to raise the bar to bridge the gap between ourselves and the likes of Kilkenny and Tipperary,” he said.

McIntyre and his selectors had a reasonably successful first year in charge, beating both Clare and Cork in the All Ireland qualifiers after recovering from a shock League defeat to Dublin back in February, but lost out to Waterford by the narrowest of margins after conceding 1-2 without reply in the closing stages of a game they looked set to win at Semple Stadium.

The quarter-final defeat to Waterford, after Galway had led by four points with as many minutes to go, proved to be a shattering end to the season, but the wins over Cork and Clare had given the Tribesmen’s followers some hope that progress had been made ahead of the 2010 campaign.

Galway (panel): J. Skehill, C. Callanan, O. Canning, F. Moore, E. McEntee, D. Joyce, S. Kavanagh, J. Lee, E. Lynch, A. Cullinane, g. farragher, k. hynes, A. Coen, A. Callanan, A. Smith, k. hayes, C. Donnellan, N. healy, j. Canning, D. hayes, j. gantley, N. hayes, C. O’Donovan, I. Tannian, D. Collins, D. Burke, p. holland, E. Ryan, N. Cahalan, A. harte, C. Dervan, R. Murray, T. Og Regan, D. Barry.

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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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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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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