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Galwegians take the spoils



Date Published: 08-Dec-2009

GALWEGIANS recorded their second consecutive League win to move right back into contention in AIL Division 1b following a hard fought and deserved victory away to Ballymena on Saturday.

Although suffering a defeat away to Division 1a side Dolphin last Sunday, ’Wegians came into this game in confident mood following their excellent victory over Division 1b leaders Old Belvedere a fortnight ago. And they got off to a dream start at Eton Park when they opened the scoring after just five minutes. Following a penalty kick to the corner, a lineout drive saw their powerful No. 8 Ati Olive power his way over the line for the game’s opening try.

Centre Dave Clarke was wide with the conversion leaving the Blues just 5-0 to the good, but it was to prove a short-lived lead. Following a spilt restart, Ballymena put their first few attacking phases together, and some sloppy Galwegians defence allowed their out-half and Ireland Under-19 international Luke Marshall send in flanker Andrew Kerr to score an equalising try. It was a soft score to concede, and Ballymena scrum half David O’Hara inflicted maximum damage when his successful conversion put the hosts 7-5 in front.

A penalty from O’Hara soon after stretched the advantage to 10-5, but ’Wegians served notice of their intentions when they levelled the game midway through the half. It began with a break by top-scorer John Cleary, who started this game at full-back following the loss of Mark Butler to injury last week.

And when Connacht Academy member and another IrelandUnder-19 international Tiernan O’Halloran chipped ahead and regathered, lock forward Liam Scahill was on hand to finish off for an excellent try.

Clarke was again off-target with the conversion to leave it tied at 10-all, however the Northerners regained the lead courtesy of a second penalty from O’Hara. But not to be outdone, the Blues pegged them back before the break, with O’Halloran once again to the fore as the Clifden native landed a neat drop-goal to leave the half-time score at 13 all.

The second-half proved a very tense affair, with both sides going in search of the points. ’Wegians made a change on 55 minutes when winger Barry Lee was forced to retire, and he was replaced by Rob O’Beirn who slotted in at full-back, allowing Cleary return to his customary wing position.

O’Beirn put in an impressive performance and he bagged the winning score when he landed a penalty on the hour mark to put ’Wegians in front for the first time since the seventh minute of the game.

Ballymena tried to launch everything at the Blues in the final quarter, but they were frustrated by a solid and determined ’Wegians defence who refused to buckle.

Both sides had a player sent to the sin-bin late on, with the home side’s lock forward Darryl O’Kane and ’Wegians’ prop Ja Naughton each missing out on the final action. But neither side was able to make any further impression on the scoreboard, and referee Dudley Phillips’ final whistle signalled a third successive victory for ’Wegians over their Northern rivals.

This victory sees the Blues jump up to third place in the League table, and it also sets up an intriguing encounter in their next game when they host second-placed Young Munster at Crowley Park on Saturday (2.30pm kick-off).

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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