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Fleet-footed Dublin men run the Cats off their feet

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Date Published: {J}

HURLING has been waiting over a decade for its next revolution after the sport’s traditional powers were seriously marginalised during the mid to late nineties. In the interim, the old order has been restored as Kilkenny, Cork and Tipperary have dominated the All-Ireland championship, sharing every title between them since 1998, but perhaps there is a new force about to shake things up this summer.

Already Dublin have created a huge stir by their relentless progress through the National League, culminating in their stunning final defeat of an admittedly injury-hit Kilkenny outfit at Croke Park last Sunday. They simply ran the Cats off their feet as the men in black and amber suffered their heaviest defeat under the marathon reign of Brian Cody. 12 points was the margin in the end as the Dubs’ potent brand of pace, power and teamwork propelled them to a first national title since 1939.

All over the field, the winners’ intensity, work ethic, savage tackling and quality hurling had Kilkenny players on the rack. Not even the concession of a relatively soft Eddie Brennan goal – incredibly, one of the team’s only two scores from play – knocked Anthony Daly’s men off their stride as they went on to establish a significant interval advantage of 0-10 to 1-2.

Wayward free-taking continued to undermine an undisciplined Kilkenny and though Michael Rice and TJ Reid shot early second-half points, they struggled to get any serious momentum going, with several of their team left toiling by Dublin’s strong running, especially from wing back Peter Kelly, midfielder Liam Rushe and excellent centre half forward Ryan O’Dwyer, in particular.

The manner in which Dublin closed out the match in the final ten minutes with a string of unanswered points was equally impressive. Conal Keaney thumped one over from way out the field against the wind, while corner forward Paul Ryan crowned a cracking performance with a glorious effort from off the hurley after twisting and turning his way into space.

Frankly, Kilkenny couldn’t keep up with their opponents and a bad day for them was made worse by the dismissal of Eoin Larkin in the 25th minute. Referee Michael Wadding had no choice and it’s almost certain that the book will also be thrown at defender John Dalton for his involvement in a nasty incident in the dying seconds of the opening-half. The Waterford referee had controversially blown the half-time whistle just before Conor McCormack had rattled the net, only for Dalton’s frustration to boil over moments later as he floored the Dublin scorer.

Another Kilkenny player, Richie Hogan, could also face disciplinary action after an elbow into the head of Joey Boland, ensuring that the vanquished have been labelled as ‘sore losers’ in the wake of Sunday’s league final defeat. It wasn’t just that they struggled with Dublin’s mobility, but many of their longer serving players clearly (and understandably) don’t have the hunger of old. Sure, the hoped-for return of John Tennyson, Henry Shefflin, Richie Power, Michael Fennelly and Tommy Walsh will lift them for the championship, while the squad’s pride has taken a mauling – but what have they got left in the locker?

The mood in Dublin will, in contrast, be much more positive ahead of the Leinster title race and the fact that they coped comfortably with the pressure and hype associated with a league final shows that they are mentally stronger too. Daly has done a fantastic job with them and many observers are now rating Dublin as the biggest threat to Tipperary over the months ahead. Sure, they have a classic banana skin fixture against Offaly at Croke Park coming up, but one anticipates that they will be well grounded for that one, never mind the surge of confidence the Dubs will have got from mauling the Cats.

Finally, it would be remiss not to pay tribute to Galway native Niall Corcoran for his role in Dublin’s resurgence. The Meelick/Eyrecourt man threw in his lot with them after failing to make the cut down here under Ger Loughnane and he hasn’t looked back since. Corcoran typified Dublin’s industry last Sunday with his accurate hand-passing a feature of his game as he repeatedly cleaned up at corner back. Definitely one who got away!

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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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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