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Five minutes of madness costs Connacht dearly



Date Published: {J}

Connacht 20

Cardiff 26

Rob Murphy at the Sportsground

LET’S imagine what Eric Elwood’s pre-match check list would have looked like for last Saturday night’s Sportsground clash. Win the scrum battle, check. Secure lineouts, check. Unleash a potent maul, check. Start well, lead at half time, take your kicks. Check, check, check. So, how much did they win by?

Go figure this out. Four minutes of truly awful rugby just after half-time isn’t the sole reason for this rare home reversal, but it can take the lion’s share of the blame. No less than 14 points handed on a plate to a more clued-in and clinical Cardiff side during that period and a 17-6 lead was wiped out.

For the Blues, this was a huge win after an indifferent season up to now. Dan Parks returned at out half but the core of their World Cup contingent, their six Welsh internationals, were given the weekend off. So to come to Galway where the home side had won seven from eight and win from a position of 11 points down at the break, well, this was a good day.

The crowning moment in the contest for the visitors didn’t come during either of those tries from Alex Cuthbert or Casey Laulala, it instead came during Connacht’s ten minute spell with the extra man, when visiting captain Paul Tito saw yellow for killing the ball on the hour mark. The Blues kicked a penalty of their own in that period, while Connacht had just one promising attack which ended with TJ Anderson needlessly isolated.

For Connacht, the question marks are springing up all over the place and the direction isn’t as clear as it was after they sat comfortably in third after four rounds. They’ve lost three-in-a -ow now, sit outside the top half and from next week on, every other team will be at full strength with World Cup hangovers exercised.

There are clearly numerous positions where a set plan in terms of selection has been in place from the beginning of the campaign, but some of those might need revisiting now. In fact the only positions where Connacht probably would probably be wasting their time considering their options are full back, both second rows and number eight – if George Naoupu is fully fit. Everyone else is fair game for review.

To their credit, the pack as a unit played reasonably well in terms of structured play on Saturday. The front row of Brett Wilkinson, Adrian Flavin and the improving Rodney Ah You got to grips with an experienced and sharp trio from Cardiff and in a largely scrappy set piece contest, Connacht weren’t outwitted.

Michael Swift continues to defy logic with the number of hits he puts in and the ferocity he can bring to contact, while Michael McCarthy must be by some distance the best ball carrying lock in the league so far this season. He’s in top form.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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