Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Archive News

Glory beckons for Galway champs



Date Published: 14-Mar-2013


They may be one of Galway’s youngest GAA clubs but St Thomas’s will be hoping that they can continue on the proud tradition of local teams in the All-Ireland club hurling series when they take on Kilcormac/Killoughey of Offaly in Croke Park on St Patrick’s Day (2pm).

Formed in 1968, St Thomas’s – the amalgamation of Kilchreest and Peterswell – was only 12 years old when Castlegar claimed the county’s first All-Ireland club crown in 1980. Since then, Kiltormer (1992), Sarsfields (’93 and ’94), Athenry (1997, 2001 and 2001), Portumna (2006, ’08 and ’09) and Clarinbridge (2011) have all achieved club hurling’s highest honour and, now, St Thomas’ have the opportunity to do the same.

It’s amazing the voyage St Thomas’ have been on in recent years, winning county ‘A’ championships at U-16 and minor levels in 2006 and 2008 and translating these into U-21 and senior titles in 2011 and 2012 respectively. It’s as if the journey to this present moment in time has been planned with military precision.

In many respects, it probably has and you only have to take a look back at the team-sheets from those underage finals to see the process at work. Goalkeeper Patrick Skehill has been a constant while the likes of Cathal Burke, Sean Skehill and Donal Cooney – a long term injury victim going into the All-Ireland final – have emerged as top-class defenders.

All-Star David Burke has formed the midfield partnership with Cian Kelly on those underage teams while, in attack, Conor Cooney, James Regan, Bernard Burke and Anthony Kelly have all made the transition from underage to senior look seamless.

In addition, the conveyor belt of talent has continued with the emergence of the likes of brothers Darragh and Eanna Burke – two of the six Burke brothers in the set-up – and teenager Shane Cooney, who really has grown into a formidable young man over the Winter period.

Of course, this is all well and good but if you don’t have a solid foundation, then senior success can become as elusive as a feather on a gale force wind. In this respect, captain Robert Murray, veteran defender Enda Tannian and Sean Burke all offer a calming influence in the defence.

Further afield, St Thomas’s can boast of the experience of Kenneth Burke – who has recovered from a shoulder injury – in midfield and former Galway star Richard Murray in attack.

Great credit must go to the club – and, in particular, the management team of boss John Burke and selectors Justin Flannery and Jimmy Kelly, now in their sixth year – for gelling the inexperienced with the experienced into an impressive working unit in a relatively short period of time.

Aside from that U-21 success in 2011, when they accounted for Loughrea, the signs were already there that St Thomas’s were a coming force when they reached the county senior semi-final that same year and most felt it was just a matter of time before the breakthrough would come.

That it duly arrived in 2012 speaks volumes for the ambition of this group of players who laid the previous year’s ghost to rest with a 1-16 to 1-15 semi-final replay victory over Gort before disposing of Loughrea in their historic county decider.

Richard Murray netted all his side’s goals in the 3-11 to 2-11 win and it was just reward for the talented former Galway player who, to some extent, carried the club, along with brother Robert and the evergreen Enda Tannian, on their shoulders on route to winning the county intermediate title in 2004 and in the early years of the club’s subsequent promotion to the senior ranks.

However, this St Thomas’s side no longer depend on the few and with the emergence of such talented hurlers like the Skehills – Patrick and Sean – and the Burke brothers – all six of them – St Thomas’s have become a top class outfit in the mould of Sarsfields, Athenry and Portumna.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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

Continue Reading

Archive News

Galway have lot to ponder in poor show



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013




GALWAY’S first serious examination of the 2013 season rather disturbingly ended with a rating well below the 40% pass mark at the idyllic, if rather Siberian, seaside setting of Enniscrone on Sunday last.

The defeat cost Galway a place in the FBD League Final against Leitrim and also put a fair dent on their confidence shield for the bigger tests that lie ahead in February.

There was no fluke element in this success by an understrength Sligo side and by the time Leitrim referee, Frank Flynn, sounded the final whistle, there wasn’t a perished soul in the crowd of about 500 who could question the justice of the outcome.

It is only pre-season and last Sunday’s blast of dry polar winds did remind everyone that this is far from summer football, but make no mistake about it, the match did lay down some very worrying markers for Galway following a couple of victories over below par third level college teams.

Galway did start the game quite positively, leading by four points at the end of a first quarter when they missed as much more, but when Sligo stepped up the tempo of the game in the 10 minutes before half-time, the maroon resistance crumbled with frightening rapidity.

Some of the statistics of the match make for grim perusal. Over the course of the hour, Galway only scored two points from play and they went through a 52 minute period of the match, without raising a white flag – admittedly a late rally did bring them close to a draw but that would have been very rough justice on Sligo.

Sligo were backable at 9/4 coming into this match, the odds being stretched with the ‘missing list’ on Kevin Walsh’s team sheet – Adrian Marren, Stephen Coen, Tony Taylor, Ross Donovan, David Kelly, David Maye, Johnny Davey and Eamon O’Hara, were all marked absent for a variety of reasons.

Walsh has his Sligo side well schooled in the high intensity, close quarters type of football, and the harder Galway tried to go through the short game channels, the more the home side bottled them up.

Galway badly needed to find some variety in their attacking strategy and maybe there is a lot to be said for the traditional Meath style of giving long, quick ball to a full forward line with a big target man on the edge of the square – given Paul Conroy’s prowess close to goal last season, maybe it is time to ‘settle’ on a few basics.

Defensively, Galway were reasonably solid with Gary Sice at centre back probably their best player – he was one of the few men in maroon to deliver decent long ball deep into the attacking zone – while Finian Hanley, Conor Costello and Gary O’Donnell also kept things tight.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Continue Reading

Archive News

Mervue United advance to the quarter-finals of U-17 FAI Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

On a weekend when the vast majority of the action fell by the wayside due to the inclement weather, Mervue United U-17 struck late to snatch a winner in Donegal as they qualified for the last eight of the FAI U-17 Cup following a success over Swilly Rovers.

Local League action saw just three games survive as OLBC notched a second half winner to defeat Hibernians to move into third position in the Premier League.

In the lower Divisions, table toppers Mervue United B and Moyne Villa continued on their merry ways with away wins over Bohemians and Naomh Briocain.

Swilly Rovers 0

Mervue United 1

In a game that was switched to a playable pitch in Fanad, Mervue United took a long time to assert their authority before striking late to give the home side no chance to respond.

The 89th minute winner was created by an Andrew Connolly flick on following a Ryan Manning thrown in and Schoolboy International Conor Melody made space for himself in the box before firing past Caolan Bolton.

It was no less than the visitors deserved against a young home side, but they had to work extremely hard for their victory.

While Anthoine O’Laoi missed a good first half opportunity, just a long range Manning free kick tested Bolton otherwise. Substitute John Migel Soler almost made an instant impact on the resumption, but was denied by a smart save.

Connolly, O’Laoi and Paul Healy all threatened a break though for the visitors, before a fine-tuned Melody eventually saved the day and secured the Mervue passage.

Mervue United: P Healy, Barry, Bailey, P Healy, Carroll, Melody, Assagbo, Manning, Cunningham (Soler), Connolly, O’Laoi.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads