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Football final fails to take off

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 08-Oct-2009

A CURIOUS affair probably best sums up a somewhat bemusing county final showdown between one team that never looked like losing and the other that never looked like winning — in the end it was if the Gods decided a draw would give both warring factions a chance to come back and do better.

All of the backdrop elements were in place for a classic encounter . . . the old stadium was groomed to perfection, October delivered a resplendent autumnal day, and there was a general consensus that the two best sides in the county had made it through to the county final . . . but despite all that, the drama on offer was more backstreet than Broadway.

Maybe too, grandiose expectations for county final showdowns are more the stuff of fantasy than the grinding reality of trying to stay that point ahead of your rivals when the final whistle sounds.

From an entertainment perspective, the day was saved to some extent by the tightness of the scoring but Corofin won’t be too enamoured by their contribution to that particular scenario, as they frittered away a series of gilt edged chances, which if even half of them had been converted, would have given them a comfortable margin of victory.

Mountbellew-Moylough will take some dogged satisfaction, from the fact that through thick and thin, they stuck to their task at hand but they will also wonder this week if they can find some formula to try and come close to matching Corofin’s vastly superior teamwork, pace, and ability to mop up breaking ball in almost all parts of the pitch, but especially around the fringes of the midfield sector.

Quite incredibly, none of Mountbellew’s six starting forwards scored from play as they found the Corofin defence both quicker and stronger in that first scavenge for possession – whether Cyril Ryan’s side can find an antidote to that ailment between now and the replay is one mighty ask.

The crowd in the region of 5,500 (4,000 paid in), a tad disappointing given the occasion and the fine day (maybe the €20 admission was a touch strong, and there were also sulks about the €5 programme charge), witnessed a grim enough encounter with only very occasional interludes of open play as Corofin seemed destined all day, to just make it over the line.

But the champions of last year could never quite put Mountbellew-Moylough away, and the reason for that was quite simple, as Gerry Keane’s side delivered quite an extraordinary succession of quite shocking wides, especially in the first half when they were lining up like schoolboys at a training session for shots at goal.

Corofin went in at the interval 6-5 up, but the sub-plot tale of the first half was the 9-0 wides tally in favour of the county champions after they had dominated possession for large chunks of the opening 30 minutes.

Mountbellew-Moylough gambled by playing Joe Bergin at full forward in the reasonable enough hope of getting some good early ball into their ‘county man’ but only morsels of possession filtered through to him. After the first 10 minutes of that scenario he really needed to be moved out to the kick-out drop zone where Corofin were dominating.

Corofin swarmed around midfield in numbers with Greg Higgins their focal point for a series of attacks on the beleaguered Mountbellew goal. Aidan Donnellan also worked hard early on, while Damien Burke, Tony Goggins and Alan Burke were voracious in picking up breaks.

The wides though rained in from all angles, backs and forwards included, and quite incredibly as half-time approached the sides were tied at 0-5 apiece, before an Alan O’Donovan ’45’ put Corofin
6-5 ahead at the break.

Even that…

Full report and analysis in the 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

BallinasloeÕs young squad aiming to floor Armagh junior champs

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

A new chapter in the history of Ballinasloe football will be written at Breffni Park, Cavan, on Sunday when Sean Riddell’s young side take on Ulster champions An Port Mor of Armagh in the All-Ireland Junior semi-final (2pm).

It’s the first competitive game outside the province of Connacht in 33 years for Galway football’s ‘sleeping giant’ with the enticing prospect of an appearance at Croke Park on February 9 on offer for the winners of what should be a competitive tie.

Ballinasloe have romped through Connacht since overcoming a couple of tricky hurdles on their way to collecting the Galway junior title, which was their target for the campaign this time last year.

With a return to Intermediate football secured, Riddell’s youngsters really have nothing to lose – while their triumphant march to county and provincial titles has revived memories of the club’s glory days when they contested three Galway senior finals in a row between 1979 and ’81.

Intriguingly, the seniors of St Grellan’s never got to play in Croke Park when they reached the All-Ireland final back in 1980 – they lost by 3-9 to 0-8 to St Finbarr’s of Cork in Tipperary Town.

This team’s progression has provided rich rewards for an abundance of hard work at underage levels in the past ten to 15 years and the current side’s ‘do or die’ attitude was very much in evidence in the cliffhanger wins over Tuam and Clifden in the domestic championship.


They are a well-balanced side who really never know when they are beaten and have an inspirational leader in county panelist Keith Kelly, whose exploits at centre back have been among the key components in their dramatic run to reach the All-Ireland series.

Riddell, who recalls playing senior football with the club during their heyday, is determined to get Ballinasloe back among the county’s leading clubs but, for the moment, he is delighted just to have a shot at getting to Croke Park in a bid to emulate Clonbur’s achievement in winning the title outright last year.

Riddell went to Newry on a ‘spying mission’ to see the Armagh champions overcome Brackaville of Tyrone by 2-9 to 0-11 in November – and was impressed by the quality of the football produced by An Port Mor in the Ulster final.

“They are a nicely balanced side who play good football,” he said. “There was a bit of the physical stuff you’d expect from two Ulster side, but I was impressed by their performance.”

An Port Mor became the first Armagh side to win the provincial junior decider. First half goals from Shane Nugent and Christopher Lennon sent them on the road to victory, before a red card for Brackaville captain Cahir McGuinness eased their progress to the All-Ireland series.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Coalition promised an ocean of reform Ð but the wind has gone out of its sails

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 30-Jan-2013


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