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Former kingpins take on current top dogs



Date Published: 08-May-2008

THE new format of the Galway senior hurling championship, which sees 16 of the 20 teams go through to the knock-out stages, may have taken some of the ‘bite’ out of the group stages but there are still some mouth-watering tussles on offer when the third round of action sees eight games take place this weekend.

Local pride should ensure that there is plenty of interest in the tussles between neighbours Carnmore and Turloughmore at Pearse Stadium, and the South Galway showdown which sees Clarinbridge take on Kinvara at Ballinderreen.

But the tie of the round is probably the clash between All-Ireland champions Portumna and former kingpins Sarsfields. Intriguingly, the Shannonsiders have never beaten Sarsfields in championship hurling, but – given the champions’ blistering current form – it would be a shock if that record does not come to an end at Ballinasloe on Sunday.

Time was when Sarsfields seemed to have a ‘hoodoo’ over the Border men. Back in 2002, when Sarsfields beat Portumna in a county semifinal, some of the vanquished side’s older players slumped to the ground in despair, thinking that they would never make the coveted breakthrough.

How things have changed since then. As it transpired, that run to the final was the dying kick of a truly great Sarsfields side, while Portumna have reached every county final since, winning three and going on to be crowned All-Ireland champions on two occasions. It’s hard to see Tony Ward’s young side stopping the champions this weekend, but team spirit has never been in short supply around New Inn and Bullaun.

That game is followed by a rematch of last year’s county Intermediate final, with Tommie Larkins – on a high after their surprise win over Clarinbridge a fortnight ago – expected to make it two wins from two outings when they face Padraig Pearses. Suddenly, a side which has yo-yoed between the two grades can become one of the first to make the knock-out stages.

2006 county champions Loughrea, beaten by St. Thomas’ first time out, are in the throes of an injury crisis ahead of their showdown with Ardrahan, while the most competitive game of the weekend could be the Saturday evening showdown between Gort and Castlegar.

St. Thomas’ face another tough task against Athenry at Loughrea, while city club Liam Mellows and Ballinderreen will both be seeking their first win when they face up at Athenry.

For a preview of each match see this week’s Conncaht 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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