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Fitzgerald boost as Corofin face difficult hurdle

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: {J}

Dara Bradley

STALWART defender Kieran Fitzgerald has recovered from a recurring hamstring injury, giving Corofin a lift as they prepare for a mighty battle with St Gall’s of Antrim in the AIB All-Ireland Club Championship semi-final showdown at Parnell Park, Dublin on Sunday (2.30pm).

The inter-county star, who was absent for the Galway champion’s Connacht semi-final and final wins over Glencar Manorhamilton and Charlestown, is reportedly ‘flying it’ in training, and his return will boost Corofin who are attempting to make it to the St Patrick’s Day final for the first time since winning the All-Ireland in 1998.

“Having Kieran (Fitzgerald) back is a big boost for us,” Corofin manager Gerry Keane told Tribune Sport this week. Keane is expected to announce his starting 15 after training late Thursday night although he could possibly delay it until Saturday to assess the availability of two of his regular defenders.

Corner-back Gary Delaney is described as having a “fifty/fifty” chance of recovering from a calf strain and his absence would be a big blow while Gary Sice’s ankle injury is expected to be healed. Corofin will certainly have to plan without the services of inter-county defender, Michael Comer, who is a long term absentee with cruciate ligament problems.

Fitzgerald will add steel and experience to an already tight defence, which is backboned by ‘keeper David Morris, Tony Goggins, Gary Sice and Damien Burke, who has also recovered from Gilmore’s groin. Aidan Donnellan and Greg Higgins will renew their partnership at centre-field while captain Kieran Comer, Joe Canney, Ronan Steede and Alan Burke can provide the firepower up front.

The match was scheduled to be played in Mullingar but was subsequently switched to Parnell Park – a field that is about 15 feet narrower and 15 feet longer than Tuam Stadium, which is similar in size to Mullingar – but Keane has no complaints.

“Our preference would have been Mullingar or Longford but I suppose in terms of geography, Parnell Park is probably right. We were up in Parnell Park last Sunday week and had a kick about; we have no complaints about the venue or the pitch,” he said.

The long lay-off – they haven’t played a competitive match since the Connacht final in November – is another factor thrown into Sunday’s mix, but again, Keane won’t be using it as an excuse.

“We have improved a lot since the start of the championship when we lost to Michéal Breathnachs and went to extra time with Carraroe. I hope we are peaking at the right time but we haven’t played competitive football since November so you just don’t know how the team will respond.

“The cold weather at Christmas was very frustrating because we just couldn’t get out on a pitch but it’s the same for both teams. We had (a quarter-final) in London January last year but to be honest I thought that was more of a hindrance. It has been a long lay-off but we feel we’ve done a lot of good things and prepared well.”

St Gall’s are serious contenders this year and have been installed as slight favourites with the bookies to reach the final against the winner of the other semi-final between Clare’s Kilmurry-Ibrickane and Portlaoise, which takes place in Limerick on Sunday.

For more, read page 52 of this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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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Archive News

Ruby ready to rock again and Bob is worth a big flutter in Gold Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 06-Mar-2013

New edge to Galway hurling championship title pursuit

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Archive News

A battle of talent and the ability to pull in public votes

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 11-Mar-2013

Here is a question. And there is no holiday or grand prize for getting the answer. But can anyone name the people who have won The Voice of Ireland and what has become of them?

Over across the water in the UK they have The X Factor and while I hate the concept of it, it has produced a few stars even though they don’t last long in the whole scheme of things.

But The Voice of Ireland seems to generate false excitement with the winner ending up become more anonymous than they already were. And it is costing families a fortune in the process.

While the programme is a ratings winner, strangely, it has resulted in those getting through to the final stages investing huge amounts of money in the hope that they will receive enough votes to get through to the next stages.

So, suddenly, it is not about the voice or the talent involved, it is all about votes and who the participants can convince to pledge their support for them. So it is obvious that talent goes out the window.

It means that someone with half a talent could realistically win the whole thing if they generated enough support behind them. From now on, the judges will be taken out of the equation and it will be left to the public to generate income for some phone operator.

Those who get through to the live performances have to engage in a massive publicity campaign in an effort to win votes which makes this whole effort a pure sham. It is no longer about their ability and just an effort to win appeal.

While the initial process does involve some vetting of the acts, now it becomes a general election type exercise in which the most popular will win the competition and the judges will have no say whatsoever.

It is a bit like the recent Eurosong in which the judging panel across the country voted for their favourite song, which incidentally was the best of a very bad lot, but then this was overturned by the public who chose a relatively crap song to represent us.

But again, this was all down to convincing the public about who to vote for rather than having any bearing on the quality on offer. There are times that genuine talent becomes overlooked because of the need to extract money from the voting public.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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