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Galway U-21s coast home

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 03-May-2011

FOR the neutrals at Croke Park on Sunday, it might have turned out to be something of an anti-climax with the game effectively over as a contest after 20 minutes but that didn’t take any sheen from the Galway dressing room under the Cusack Stand, shortly before 3.30pm.

There were the usual yelps of delight but there was a deeper satisfaction about going to Croke Park and delivering what must have come close to the complete team performance – a fourth under-21 title had been secured after a 2-16 to 1-9 win over Cavan.

Four years ago, Alan Mulholland led the Galway minors to All-Ireland success – a far tighter affair that day against Derry – May Day in Croke Park, 2011, had to be a more relaxed affair . . . well at least for the supporters.

“Our forwards did a lot of damage in the first half and I was delighted with their movement and pace. But I really wanted our lads to concentrate for the first ten minutes of the second half, not to give anything away soft and not to think that they had the game won,” said Mulholland.

Deep down though, the Galway manager was beaming, although his visit to the Cavan dressing room did bring home to him what the pain of defeat is about. Cavan brought about a completely new challenge to Galway as distinct from the Cork match.

“Against Cork we went into the match with nothing to lose. Cork came with the big reputation and very few outsiders gave us any chance but today we were going into the game as favourites and Cavan had fantastic support behind them. I’m delighted at the way the lads adapted to the challenge and I’m also glad at the turn-out of Galway supporters.

“We knew that Cavan would play a style of game where they would try and get a lot of bodies behind the ball. Our plan was to get quick ball into our forwards and to use the open spaces of Croke Park – it worked very well for us,” said Mulholland.

Penalty save hero Manus Breathnach said that ‘he had taken a guess’ about the side that Barry Reilly was going to send the penalty.

“A lot of right footed kickers will tend to hit the ball to the goalie’s left. I just took one look at him before he took the kick and made up my mind to go the left – it turned out to be a good guess,” said the An Spideál goalkeeper.

Galway captain Colin Forde said that after the first 10 minutes of the match, it was hard to see how there could be much between the teams.

“It really was end to end stuff for the first 10 minutes and the Cavan forwards looked quite dangerous. We were all set for a very tight battle but Patrick Sweeney’s first goal really made a big difference – our forwards really made use of the Croke Park pitch. I thought that they really played well,” said Forde.

Galway Football Board Chairman, John Joe Holleran, asked the Galway players to treat Sunday’s victory as a ‘stepping stone’ to greater things in the future.

“You have shown everyone how Galway can play football. It was a great exhibition of how the game should be played – this is truly a great lift for the game in the county,” said the Chairman.

Seconds later in the Croke Park dressing room when Cavan manager Terry Hyland addressed the Galway team, the pain of defeat was etched all over face, although he was gracious in his remarks.

“You are a remarkable young team but stay with it because those few years pass so quickly – the chance only lasts a very short while,” he said.

And maybe those sober few words, delivered through the pain barrier, might provide the most powerful message of all to the Galway players.

This week though, the taste of success is good and it’s one that Galway will want to hold onto.

For a complete match report see page 23 of this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

More reports and reaction in Thursday’s Connacht Tribune.


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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Archive News

BallinasloeÕs young squad aiming to floor Armagh junior champs

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

A new chapter in the history of Ballinasloe football will be written at Breffni Park, Cavan, on Sunday when Sean Riddell’s young side take on Ulster champions An Port Mor of Armagh in the All-Ireland Junior semi-final (2pm).

It’s the first competitive game outside the province of Connacht in 33 years for Galway football’s ‘sleeping giant’ with the enticing prospect of an appearance at Croke Park on February 9 on offer for the winners of what should be a competitive tie.

Ballinasloe have romped through Connacht since overcoming a couple of tricky hurdles on their way to collecting the Galway junior title, which was their target for the campaign this time last year.

With a return to Intermediate football secured, Riddell’s youngsters really have nothing to lose – while their triumphant march to county and provincial titles has revived memories of the club’s glory days when they contested three Galway senior finals in a row between 1979 and ’81.

Intriguingly, the seniors of St Grellan’s never got to play in Croke Park when they reached the All-Ireland final back in 1980 – they lost by 3-9 to 0-8 to St Finbarr’s of Cork in Tipperary Town.

This team’s progression has provided rich rewards for an abundance of hard work at underage levels in the past ten to 15 years and the current side’s ‘do or die’ attitude was very much in evidence in the cliffhanger wins over Tuam and Clifden in the domestic championship.


They are a well-balanced side who really never know when they are beaten and have an inspirational leader in county panelist Keith Kelly, whose exploits at centre back have been among the key components in their dramatic run to reach the All-Ireland series.

Riddell, who recalls playing senior football with the club during their heyday, is determined to get Ballinasloe back among the county’s leading clubs but, for the moment, he is delighted just to have a shot at getting to Croke Park in a bid to emulate Clonbur’s achievement in winning the title outright last year.

Riddell went to Newry on a ‘spying mission’ to see the Armagh champions overcome Brackaville of Tyrone by 2-9 to 0-11 in November – and was impressed by the quality of the football produced by An Port Mor in the Ulster final.

“They are a nicely balanced side who play good football,” he said. “There was a bit of the physical stuff you’d expect from two Ulster side, but I was impressed by their performance.”

An Port Mor became the first Armagh side to win the provincial junior decider. First half goals from Shane Nugent and Christopher Lennon sent them on the road to victory, before a red card for Brackaville captain Cahir McGuinness eased their progress to the All-Ireland series.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Coalition promised an ocean of reform Ð but the wind has gone out of its sails

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 30-Jan-2013


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