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Galway show true grit



Date Published: 16-Aug-2012

 IF it was never in the DNA of a Galway hurler to edge out a tight battle amid high expectations, it is now. Perhaps the performance lacked the intensity and sheer brilliance of the Leinster final, but that only made it all the more admirable as Galway drew on reserves of character, guts, and determination to see off a gritty Cork challenge in a tense and absorbing All-Ireland hurling semi-final at Croke Park on Sunday.

A team who stormed through a provincial campaign suddenly found themselves battling for championship survival and all of those questions over whether or not they could manage a second ‘big’ performance in a row were answered in a pulsating final quarter in which the Tribesmen closed out the deal to book their first final berth in seven years.

It was the kind of test which will surely stand to Anthony Cunningham’s new-look side. They didn’t tear into the Rebels, they weren’t allowed to; they didn’t rattle the Cork net and, crucially, they didn’t collapse when the pressure was on after the Munster men – revelling in the role of underdogs – had matched them toe-to-toe for the entire first half.

The team who tore All-Ireland champions Kilkenny apart last month took an awful long time to shake off the Cork challenge and the result looked very much in doubt when a superb point from substitute Cathal Naughton inspired a huge Rebel roar and left just two points between the sides with 13 minutes to go.

But the Galway boys never lost their composure, crowding out the midfield and showing a superb work-rate in defence in that key closing stretch. Crucially, they outscored the Rebels 4-1 in that final period, restricting Cork to just one long-range pointed free from goalkeeper Anthony Nash as they fought for possession all over the field.

They also landed three scores in a row at a key stage early in the second half and never lost control after finding themselves on level terms, at 0-11 each, at the end of a first half in which a Cork side with nothing to lose had matched their intensity from the outset.

With the Portumna duo of Joe Canning and Damien Hayes, who landed 0-4 each from play, having the firepower to inflict damage at the other end, the real joy to treasure from this victory came from the superb defensive performances of team captain Fergal Moore, Niall Donoghue, and Johnny Coen.

The announcement before the throw-in that Padraig Pearses wing-forward Cyril Donnellan had failed to recover from his arm injury provided an early blow to the Galway supporters who made up the majority in the attendance of 41,537.

But his replacement, young James Regan, performed admirably in a sector in which both David and Niall Burke – despite three first half wides – turned in fine performances.

All three of the men who started on the Galway half-forward line contributed 0-2 from play.

Galway should take huge heart from beating Cork without having reached the dizzy heights of the Kilkenny game and the performances of Moore, Donoghue, Coen, Canning, Hayes, the Burkes, the

Regans, Tannian and Smith should give the panel great encouragement heading into next month’s final.

A team which began the year amid low expectations and an eye on the future suddenly finds itself weeks away from a shot at glory and the chance to end a 24 year famine. They have ‘won ugly’ now and delivered on expectations. Changed times indeed for Galway hurling!

For a score by score report see ‘No fireworks but hurlers answer all

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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