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Galway camogie in trouble as top officials pull out



Date Published: {J}


GALWAY camogie has been rocked by the shock resignations of two senior officers from the County Board Executive. Both Assistant Secretary Pauline Mitchell and Treasurer Angela Moran tended their letters of resignations to a County Board Meeting in the Lough Rea Hotel and Spa on Monday night, although these letters were not read to the meeting itself.

It is believed the executive officers involved had become disgruntled with the way the affairs of the board were being conducted, stating there was no longer a working relationship between the top table officials, citing the lack of transparency when it came to the workings of the Board.

For her part, Mitchell had sought to air her concerns regarding the running of the Board at an executive meeting in late January, but this verbal request was denied. She subsequently submitted a written request, via email, requesting an executive meeting, noting that there were “a number of issues which require clarification before the camogie season commences”.

This request was again denied in a written reply on Saturday, January 30 from Chairperson Geraldine McGrath, who outlined she had both family and other camogie commitments to attend to the following week.

Emails – in which both factions outlined their grievances with each other regarding a number of issues, including insurance claims – were subsequently exchanged over the ensuing hours, resulting in Mitchell and Moran tendering their resignations that same day.

In her letter to the Chairperson, Mitchell believed her position as Assistant Secretary and Insurance Officer had been “undermined”, adding: “It is apparent that my position with the County Board is no longer tenable. You obviously no longer have confidence in my ability to carry out my duties, so please accept my resignation from the Board.”

Later that same evening, Treasurer Angela Moran also submitted her resignation, noting it was “very disappointing” to read a fellow officer’s request for an executive meeting had been refused. “I personally, had a lot of things I wanted aired and discussed. I am not happy with the way the Board and executive is functioning,” she said.

Chairperson Geraldine McGrath – who herself had believed she was also being “undermined” by other officials in her correspondence – declined to comment on the resignations, noting that there were ongoing issues to be addressed.

She hoped, though, the image of Galway camogie would not be tarnished by the resignations and asked people to remember that there were “two sides to every story”.

Speaking to the Tribune this week, Mitchell – who did not attend Monday night’s meeting – said she was disappointed her letter of resignation was not read out to the delegates. “I had sent the correspondence to the County Secretary (Anne Kearney), the letter of resignation, and it outlined the reasons why I was standing down. However, it was not read out. I don’t know why and the delegates were left in the dark as a result,” she added.

The Killimor woman and former County Board Secretary said: “We had written to the Chairperson and Secretary requesting an executive meeting, so we could air our views and concerns, but this meeting was not granted. The Chairperson refused to sit down and listen to the issues. If there are problems, and you can’t resolve them, then you are not going to have effective officers on the board.

“All I wanted was a meeting to discuss the problems we were having – very real problems – and this I didn’t get. After that, what option was left open to me? You have to have regard for yourself – I had to stay true to myself – and that is why I resigned.”

Clearly frustrated, Mitchell continued: “My other big concern is the image that the Board is portraying. We should be a young, vibrant organisation trying to promote our sport. I think the members there no longer portray that image of Galway camogie.

“I didn’t want to resign; I love camogie. I didn’t want to go.”

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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