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Galway gunslingers on target in South Africa



Date Published: {J}

THREE Galway clay pigeon marksmen have just returned from the 2010 World DTL Championships in South Africa, with two of them outgunning rival shooters from across the globe to claim gold medals at the prestigious event.

It’s Thursday afternoon, and Michael Noone’s house in Barnaderg is a hotbed. It’s the typical, warm country home, with the kettle never too far from the boil and the chocolate biscuits just an arm’s length away. For this is a house where neighbours converge, and chat, all while the sound of children playing and laughing produces a heart-tickling symphony in the background.

Today, though, Michael, his nephew Adrian and friend Damien O’Beirne gather to talk about their recent trip to the World DTL Championships in Cape Town, where Michael took gold in the ‘AA’ class, while Adrian, competing in the junior event, secured gold in the ‘C’ class.

Throughout the afternoon, the three gunslingers – all of whom favour the Beretta – are joined by family and friends, with Michael Miskell and Brendan Williams, Chairman and Treasurer of Killererin Gun Club respectively, also calling in to offer their congratulations and good wishes.

This scene is a far cry from Cape Town’s Valley Gun Club, nestled below the Simonsberg Mountain in the lush vineyards of the Paarl Valley region and one of the largest clay-target shooting clubs in South Africa. Indeed, set on 40 hectares of rich countryside, the club boasts of ten trap ranges, two skeet ranges, a universal trench range, two fully automated compact sporting ranges, and a state-of-the-art Olympic trap range. A fitting venue for the 9th World DTL Championships a fortnight ago, one would say.

In any event, the setting did not distract the Galway men from the job in hand. In the 30 degrees plus heat – which had resulted in a bush fire in the vicinity of the club before the event – Michael added 50 first barrels on the third day of the championships to give him a maximum 300 points for the day. In so doing, he rampaged up the field to snatch the gold medal in the AA class, by a single point ahead of England captain Ian Mullarkey.

For Michael – a member of both Killererin and Abbey Gun Clubs – it represented the pinnacle of his shooting career to date. Not bad for a gentleman who fell into the sport almost by accident. “There was a funny way about it,” says Noone. “Christy Quinn and Frank Carroll, probably better known as ‘Doc’ Carroll, they came back to the house one Sunday. There was a shoot in Killererin and they were going to it and I was outside, just firing a few shots.

“Although I had never seen clays or anything before, Christy said ‘come along’. So, I went down and I shot the 25 bird in the cock and hen. I actually won the plaque, and I had never seen clays before.

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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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