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Galway hang on to claim another league win

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Date Published: {J}

Galway 1-22

Offaly 1-18

by STEPHEN GLENNON

IT may not have been pretty but, in the end, a patched up Galway stumbled over the finish line to claim their third National Hurling League victory against a full-strength Offaly outfit in front of a paltry attendance at Pearse Stadium on Saturday.

Once again, there were positives and negatives from this one, but with Galway expected to be restored to their full complement of players – particularly with the return of the Portumna contingent – in the coming weeks, you would have to feel that preparations for the championship only begin in earnest from here on in.

Certainly, there is a great deal of work to be done. Consistency over the 70 minutes is still a problem, although the management will be satisfied with the manner in which their charges kept the scoreboard ticking over throughout this contest. The concentration levels proved adequate, with those lengthy barren periods, a feature of their opening three League games, not an issue on this occasion.

Also, Galway have yet to embrace a discernible pattern of play this season. Fair enough, Galway used the League to good effect to build a side that was, ultimately, feared in last year’s championship, but you would have hoped that the squad would have matured more than they seem to have in 2010.

That is not to say progress has not been made. They are still further ahead where they were this time last year – three wins from their opening four League games – but they still seem to lack that bit of nuance and bite while they have yet to show that they have a killer instinct when it comes to putting teams away. For instance, having led 1-13 to 0-8 at half-time against Offaly, Galway should have just killed the game off in the second half. Instead, they were outscored 1-10 to 0-9 in the latter period.

That does not come down to what players are available or unavailable, per se, but a state of mind within Galway hurling. Ask any general hurling supporter outside the county, and most will say that Galway have excellent, ‘wristy’ hurlers, but they don’t impose themselves in enough games. And, in recent years at least, when they have had the big result within their grasp, they, too often, do not have the necessary self belief to kill the game off. Their defeats to Kilkenny and Waterford in the 2009 championship are perfect examples of this. The recent loss to Tipp in the League is another.

While 2009 NHL Division 2 champions Offaly are not at the level of these teams, they still could have snatched something from this game in the closing stages. Having reduced the deficit to four points by the 64th minute, Joe Dooley’s men subsequently had a couple of goals chances to slash Galway’s lead to a point.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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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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