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Galway get the job done



Date Published: 01-Jun-2010

MAYBE not the red hot performance that some maroon supporters might have expected — indeed on occasion the display loitered on the cool side of lukewarm — but yet by the time the sun had set on Nowlan Park last Saturday evening, a fair wedge of scores separated the hurlers of Galway and Wexford.

This was a solid rather than a spectacular offering from Galway with a decent level of commitment in evidence through their defensive and midfield sectors, but there will be concerns over both the lack of scoring sharpness and ball winning power in the attacking division.

Wexford did put in a decent effort and Galway will reflect this week on the powerful displays of their central defenders, Keith Rossiter and Darren Stamp, but Colm Bonnar’s charges lacked the forward dynamite of a Henry Shefflin or a Ben O’Connor to cause real bother.

The home of Kilkenny hurling is a fine stadium but the field is no Semple Stadium and space was tight for both sets of forwards — throw in a referee opting for blow rather than flow and the result was a rash of frees which yielded the biggest chunk of scores for both sides.

Less than 8,000 supporters turned out for this history making clash – although it looked like more – and while there was championship commitment from both sides, this Leinster quarter-final clash had at times that feel of a summer barbecue on a wet evening.

There was though an old adage about Bill Shankly’s famous Liverpool side being able to win matches without playing particularly well and Galway will extract a fair measure of quiet satisfaction from an 11 point margin of victory on an evening of hard graft rather than any sublime attacking skills.

Galway have developed into a tight defensive unit with Shane Kavanagh and Tony Óg Regan giving the backline a very stable core while there was real fire along the flanks from Donal Barry and especially Declan Collins.

Ger Farragher is also settling into his midfield orchestration role with deceptive ease — the Castlegar clubman was the dominant influence between the 65s – and although he suffered from the curse of the night in missing easy chances from play, his overall striking and vision proved invaluable to Galway, while his free-taking was impeccable.

Further forward though, there will be some midnight oil burned in trying to get a better balance in attack, both in the personnel and positional departments. Galway just don’t win enough ball dropping in their half forward line, although a notable exception to this was Damien Hayes’s second half work-rate, fittingly rewarded through the creation of their second goal.

In the inside line Joe Canning sporadically threatened but Rossiter proved a tough nut to crack while Aidan Harte got into some good positions but didn’t finish well – in the other corner Joe Gantley could make no impression against Lar Prendergast.

The lingering residue this week from Galway’s attacking thrust was one of a lack of sharpness, most pronounced in the avalanche of wides through both halves — such waste against Wexford was an irritant but against ‘a Kilkenny’ it would be akin to signing your own death warrant.

For the full match report see pages 30 & 31 of this week’s Connacht Sentinel

See also:

Galway set to appeal Smith suspension – Page 32


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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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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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