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Galway back in business



Date Published: {J}

Galway 4-25

Clare 0-20



THE words of Neil Armstrong on a July day in 1969 as he set foot on lunar soil, about ‘one small step for man’, sprang to mind shortly after 8pm on Saturday in Pearse Stadium, but now fans of Galway hurling will be waiting for the ‘giant leap’ sequel to follow on, in the wake of this resounding win over Clare in Phase Two of the All-Ireland qualifiers.

It was the last chance saloon for John McIntyre and his hurlers following the disastrous outing against Dublin two weeks previously, but after a lonesome Spring, the long awaited ‘kick’ arrived for Galway with Clare feeling the full power of the backlash.

With 4-25 on the scoreboard and a 17 point winning margin in their backpockets, there could be few quibbles about the manner and margin of this victory – an important first step in morale and confidence building has been taken. Nothing more and nothing less.

Clare did manage to put in a credible performance against Tipperary in the Munster semi-final but long standing doubts about the porousness of their defence and the sharpness of their attack proved to be well founded following their trip across the bay last Saturday evening.

It would be hard to credit a Kilkenny or a Tipperary trailing by 10 points early in the second half and being content to tap over points – when push came to shove, Clare didn’t have the temper or edge to even remotely threaten James Skehill’s goal.

A balmy evening in Salthill with a decent crowd of over 13,000 in attendance, gave this tie a real championship atmosphere and with Galway having two goals on the board within the first 11 minutes, the hearts of the home followers had been wooed early on. In truth, from there on to the end, there was little doubt about the outcome of this tie.

All a long way removed from the lynching mob atmosphere of Tullamore when the frustrations of some of the Galway fans spilled over into raw abuse, and given what they had seen that evening, at least partially understandable if not entirely excusable.

Sport, the mood of supporters, and the nuances of the human mind would fill out the full range of third level theses in psychology, and when the Galway team trotted in at half-time shortly after 7.30pm on Saturday, to a rousing reception from the home crowd – after clocking up 3-13 on the scoreboard – a victory of the minds and hearts had also been secured.

It’s all about balance though, and the identity of the ‘real Galway’ probably lies somewhere between the sheer awfulness of the Dublin performance and the sporadic brilliance of the display against Clare – we’ll have to wait until Saturday evening, and the Cork test, to find out the answer to that conundrum.

Galway had been desperately drained of confidence following the league drubbing by Tipperary, the failure to bounce back against Waterford, the limp championship performance against Westmeath and the Dublin debacle: the side desperately needed a win of any description last Saturday evening.


In the after match chat and interviews, there was a lot of talk about Galway having gone back to basics prior to the Clare match and whatever preparatory programme was put in place, certainly worked. Right from the early minutes, there was a pep in the Galway step, with hands going through thickets of Clare ash to win clean ball.


Instead of the largely individual thrusts into cul-de-sacs that marked the display against Dublin, this time round, Galway integrated far more seamlessly as a team unit, with the players in the better positions more often than not, ‘hit’ with a fast and accurate ball.

There was also, it must be said, a better balance to the team with Shane Kavanagh and Tony Óg Regan backboning a very solid defence while the introduction of Ger Farragher, Iarla Tannian and Alan Kerins into the attack gave the unit a far more menacing gait.

On their day, Galway do possess a decent vein of scoring power – when Damien Hayes and Joe Canning are on their games close to goal, any defence will feel the heat and the Clare backs just couldn’t cope with that threat throughout the match.

There were times it was nearly too easy for the Galway forwards. Too often, they managed to get goal side of their Clare markers and once Damien Hayes hit the net in the 7th minute from close range, a sense of fear seemed to envelope the Banner defence.

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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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