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Galway quick to finish job



Date Published: 22-May-2012

 IT was all over after 20 minutes. A devastating opening period of fast, open and attractive football by the Tribesmen burst Roscommon’s bubble at Hyde Park on Sunday; there really was no way back from 2-6 to 0-2 down, regardless of the 50 minutes remaining on the clock.

Galway fell asleep for the middle chunk of the first round Connacht championship match, Roscommon rallied a bit, but once the cool heads of Padraic Joyce and Michael Meehan – both received a rapturous reception, particularly the Caltra man who has been cursed with injuries for the past three years – entered the fray, the Tribesmen sealed the deal in some style.

“No, we’re going to get totally carried away now,” quipped manager Alan Mulholland sarcastically in the wake of the 14 points, 3-15 to 0-10, victory when it was suggested Galway will have to keep their feet firmly on the ground, given the inadequacy of their opponents.

Roscommon were poor, very poor. The usual hostile reception reserved for the maroon and white jersey at Hyde Park never materialised.

The atmosphere among the home support was muted, nervy even. The attitude of the team was the same: The Rossies were a yard or two off the pace of the game from the throw-in and paid the ultimate price for failing miserably to match Galway’s high intensity.

The Roscommon players were subdued, the in-your-face doggedness and tight, aggressive marking wasn’t there; and Galway took full advantage of the spaces. Galway just blitzed the home team, with man-of the match Paul Conroy and Mark Hehir netting early.

“Every team tries to start well. How or what did we do to start well? I don’t know but I just know that this team is sick of being beaten, particularly by a point. That’s been the case in the last two or three years, we’ve lost important games by a point. One way to eradicate that is to be more than a point ahead with a few minutes to go and it’s great that we had that cushion towards the end,” said Mulholland.

Whereas Roscommon were poor in every department, you couldn’t find much to fault with Mulholland’s charges. The full-back line, with championship debutants Kieran McGrath and Keith Kelly in the corners, was the area identified beforehand as possibly being a weak link but it performed solidly, backboned by captain Finian Hanley who led by example, against a high profile attack that included Senan Kilbride and Donie Shine, who admittedly didn’t perform to their standards on the day.

Apart from a few worrying moments when Cathal Cregg made some threatening runs, centre-back Johnny Duane was a rock while Gareth Bradshaw and Gary O’Donnell did all that was asked of them defensively and offered a real threat going forward, too.

The early injury to Michael Finneran was a blow to Roscommon but that can’t take away from Joe Bergin’s towering performance at centre-field, one of the Mountbellew/

Moylough man’s best displays for his county in the championship in a few years.

Gary Sice was menacing at wing-forward, chipping in with 1-3, and Paul Conroy, the St James’ clubman, was in absolutely devastating form. The city man used his physicality to dominate the aerial battled on the edge of the square where he had full-back Niall Carty in all sorts of bother. His goal, after claiming a long-ball from club mate Duane, was pure class – his nose for the net was instinctive, and it’s a shame you couldn’t bottle it.

All in all it was great to see Galway back playing with a bit of flair and passion. Galway badly needed this win, to boost morale among the supporters and to restore some confidence to the players as well.

But Mulholland acknowledged afterwards, it’s only one win and Sligo, managed by former Galway footballer, Kevin Walsh, in the semi-final on Saturday, June 9, at Pearse Stadium, offers a tougher test.

“We know Kevin (Walsh) is waiting in the wings with Sligo. Kevin knows Galway football better than I know Galway football, probably, so it’s going to be hell for leather against them and we’re going to have it all to do to beat Sligo the next day but, look, we’re going to draw confidence from this. We’re not going to say ‘look, we have to pretend that we didn’t play well’, it was fantastic to play well and hopefully we build on that and play better the next day – that’s the challenge,” he said.

For a full match report and photos see pages 30 & 31 of this week’s Sentinel

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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