Date Published: 10-Sep-2009
AND so the county’s underage hurling conveyor belt continues to throw up an abundance of potential and emerging talent at minor level.
Galway manager Mattie ‘The Minor Magician’ Murphy masterminded another magnificent success for the county on Sunday as his charges produced a heroic display in the lashing rain at Croke Park to pull-off a spectacular skinning of a Kilkenny outfit gunning for two-in-a-row.
Not only did the Tribesmen dethrone the Cats to secure the county’s first Irish Press Cup in four years, they also put paid to Kilkenny’s dreams of a treble of trophies at minor, U21 and senior levels this year.
And if that wasn’t enough to warm the souls across the county’s hurling heartlands, Galway – captained by rising star Richie Cummins who bagged a brace of vital goals – reversed the heartache of last year when Kilkenny committed one of the worst cases of daylight robbery ever seen at GAA HQ when they escaped with an unlikely 3-6 to 0-13 win.
The management may have been trying to play down its importance all week but last year’s defeat was a massive motivating factor. The bitter tang of failure still lurked in the back of the craws of the 2008 survivors. It provided the hunger. Back at the scene of the crime again 12 months on, Galway’s wise young heads wouldn’t tolerate it happening again and hurled out of their skins to avoid it.
Even sweeter again was the manner in which they did it. You couldn’t accuse Galway of robbing this title and it was thoroughly deserved. Galway outclassed Kilkenny in the skill, intensity and heart departments.
More importantly, they showed admirable backbone and mental strength to absorb a barrage of Kilkenny pressure in the second half, to push on with the likes of midfielder Davy Glennon and corner-forward Shane Moloney showing experience beyond their years to score a brace of pressure points each to secure a win. The composure of Glennon and Moloney summed up the difference between the two sides but there were a couple of turning points that swung the match in the Tribesmen’s favour.
Cummin’s goal just before half-time was obviously a boost but Donie Fox’s point 12 minutes into the second half was arguably just as pivotal. Kilkenny burst out of the traps and scored 1-3 without reply after the break but Fox’s expert long-range point brought the Cat’s rhythm to an end and settled Galway who looked to have a bout of the jitters at that stage.
Of course, perhaps the most crucial moment came when Kilkenny missed a very scoreable free that would have left the teams level the in last quarter – had it been converted, Kilkenny may have sowed the seed of doubt in Galway’s minds but instead they grew in confidence to finish the stronger.
Coming into this clash, Kilkenny had annexed three minor titles (2002, 2003, 2008) since the turn of the millennium while Galway also had three (2000, 2004, 2005) and so it was being a real showdown of the two most consistent minor counties of the decade. This 2-15 to 2-11 win confirmed Galway won the battle of the minors this decade.
Murphy has now won five and lost four All-Ireland minor finals in the nine years he has been at the helm on and off since 1992. On Sunday, he steered Galway into claiming their eighth minor All-Ireland title – double the amount of senior titles – and their first minor title since 2005 and the Gort man said it was as sweet as any other.
“The one thing I like to be able to boast about is I got to the nine finals and I’ve won five of them. They are all sweet but this is especially sweet. We had one hand on the Cup last year and they stole it. So this was sweet,” said Murphy, who commended his team’s leaders.
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
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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