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Galway get the job done

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



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

Judy Murphy



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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Ruby ready to rock again and Bob is worth a big flutter in Gold Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 06-Mar-2013

New edge to Galway hurling championship title pursuit

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A battle of talent and the ability to pull in public votes

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 11-Mar-2013

Here is a question. And there is no holiday or grand prize for getting the answer. But can anyone name the people who have won The Voice of Ireland and what has become of them?

Over across the water in the UK they have The X Factor and while I hate the concept of it, it has produced a few stars even though they don’t last long in the whole scheme of things.

But The Voice of Ireland seems to generate false excitement with the winner ending up become more anonymous than they already were. And it is costing families a fortune in the process.

While the programme is a ratings winner, strangely, it has resulted in those getting through to the final stages investing huge amounts of money in the hope that they will receive enough votes to get through to the next stages.

So, suddenly, it is not about the voice or the talent involved, it is all about votes and who the participants can convince to pledge their support for them. So it is obvious that talent goes out the window.

It means that someone with half a talent could realistically win the whole thing if they generated enough support behind them. From now on, the judges will be taken out of the equation and it will be left to the public to generate income for some phone operator.

Those who get through to the live performances have to engage in a massive publicity campaign in an effort to win votes which makes this whole effort a pure sham. It is no longer about their ability and just an effort to win appeal.

While the initial process does involve some vetting of the acts, now it becomes a general election type exercise in which the most popular will win the competition and the judges will have no say whatsoever.

It is a bit like the recent Eurosong in which the judging panel across the country voted for their favourite song, which incidentally was the best of a very bad lot, but then this was overturned by the public who chose a relatively crap song to represent us.

But again, this was all down to convincing the public about who to vote for rather than having any bearing on the quality on offer. There are times that genuine talent becomes overlooked because of the need to extract money from the voting public.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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