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Galway city clubs seeking perfect lift off



Date Published: {J}

Keith Kelly

WE’VE had the New Year, the Chinese New Year, and the start of the national leagues in the GAA world, but for a dedicated niche of sports fans, the ‘real’ new year only starts this weekend – the kick-off of the League of Ireland, which has been rebranded as the Airtricity League.


It will be a historic season in Galway, which will have three clubs playing in the league this year – Galway United in the Premier Division, while in the First Division, Mervue United – debutants themselves last year – will be joined by Salthill Devon for their first year in the national league.

Galway’s representation is the same level as the provinces of Munster (Limerick FC, Waterford United and Cork City FORAS Co-op) and Ulster (Finn Harps, Derry City and Monaghan United), and opinion is split between those who think the inclusion of Mervue and Salthill shows ambition on behalf of the clubs, and those who think it is folly to be spreading resources so thinly in a city and county not renowned for coming out in numbers to support their various representative teams.

Galway United get their season underway tonight (kick-off 7.45pm) with a trip to Richmond Park to face a St Patrick’s Athletic side they beat in all four meetings between the sides last year. Pat’s will be looking to build on their 1-1 draw with Linfield in the Setanta Cup last weekend, with Alex Williams grabbing the goal for the Dubliners.

The line-up that night featured former United players Shane Guthrie and Vinny Faherty, who both moved to Richmond Park in the off season, and the latter says he is looking forward to coming up against his former side.

“I’m excited about playing Galway, I enjoyed my two and a half seasons there and I’ve still a lot of good friends there, the likes of Derek O’Brien, Cian McBrien and Seamus Conneely. The important thing for me on Friday is that Pat’s get three points from the game and while I’d love to get on the score-sheet, it’s all about the team getting off to a winning start,” he said.

There will be a couple of former Pats players in the United ranks as well, with Barry Ryan and Derek O’Brien both having spent time at Inchicore. However Bobby Ryan, who joined United from Pats last week, is unavailable as he serves a one-match suspension carried over from last season.

Alan Murphy is ruled out through injury, but Jason Molloy has come through training this week without any problems, while the eye injury picked up by Stephen O’Donnell in the friendly with Limerick two weeks ago has cleared up and he is set to start tonight.

“We’re looking forward to the game, we have been on a two-day camp in Enfield and will travel from there to the match. We have been working on a few things, and held a few team meetings. Everyone is just waiting to get going, and hopefully we can get a positive result,” United manager Sean Connor told Tribune Sport yesterday.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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