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Galway U21s fail to live to high billing in Thurles

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Date Published: 29-Aug-2012

Kilkenny 4-16

Galway 2-15

STEPHEN GLENNON AT SEMPLE STADIUM

THREE Kilkenny first half goals – all scored in a devastating 11 minute period – ended Galway’s reign as All-Ireland U-21 champions when the sides met before a paltry crowd of just over 3,300 at Semple Stadium, Thurles on Saturday evening.

It was not so much the defeat itself, but the manner of it that was most alarming. For their part, Galway were top heavy with senior players – 17 in all – and that few of these stood up and were counted was so utterly disappointing. Indeed, on this evidence, it does not bode well for the All-Ireland senior decider between these two counties on Sunday week.

Of course, the management has argued that the U-21 and senior games have to be treated as separate entities – and, to a certain degree, rightly so – but the truth of the matter is that the Galway set-up this year has been all encompassing by incorporating U-21 and intermediate – all inter-connected.

Consequently, you can’t simply or convienetly dismiss the displays of the other teams because if a Galway brand of hurling is being created and nurtured, then surely this is not something exclusive to the senior grade.

It has to permeate throughout all levels, particularly those involved in the senior set-up, namely U-21 and intermediate, and there has been little to suggest in these respective championships that the magic formula has been found.

In any event, given the recent defeats of the Tribesmen in the intermediate and U-21 grades, you have to think that the aspirations of these two sides have been sacrificed in pursuit of that elusive Liam McCarthy Cup. However, as noted previously, those will be acceptable sacrifices if the Holy Grail of hurling crosses the Shannon in the coming weeks. It all hinges on that.

By the same token, it would be foolish to think that the management – Anthony Cunningham, Tom Helebert and Mattie Kenny – has allowed focus on the All-Ireland senior decider to be tempered or diluted in any shape or form by the U-21 or intermediate fixtures because, if they had, they are allowing Brian Cody’s men to steal a march.

Still, they will be disappointed that several of their key senior players were, by and large, anonymous for long period of this All-Ireland semi-final. No more so than St. Thomas’ forwards, James Regan (deployed to defence for a time) and Conor Cooney, both of whom failed to raise a single flag over the 60 plus minutes.

That said, the leadership required from the established senior players around the park was conspicuous in its absence, although Joseph Cooney, Tadgh Haran, Richie Cummins, Niall Burke, Jonathan Glynn and the hardworking Davy Glennon all had their moments.

Unfortunately, Galway did not need moments. They needed performances.

As it was, the Cats – led by senior players Richie Doyle and Cillian Buckley – came to play a game synonymous with Kilkenny hurling. Skilful, powerful, unforgiving and deadly. By half-time, the Leinster champions held a 3-9 to 0-11 advantage.

And yet, it was Galway who started the brighter. After just 11 minutes, they led 0-6 to 0-3 following scores from Niall Burke (four points, two from play), Davy Glennon and Jonathan Glynn.

Then it all changed. The imposing Glynn seemed to be man-handled in the Kilkenny penalty area – a clear-cut penalty – but referee John Sexton waved away any such appeal. In any event, Richie Mulrooney’s charges turned over the possession and in the ensuing move rampaged down the field and netted the opening goal on 12 minutes. Tight margins.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

images/files/images/x3_Courthouse.jpg

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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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