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Greenfields women make history on the hockey field

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 05-Apr-2012



Dáire Walsh in Belfield

VICE-Captain Neasa McGettigan was the star of the show in Belfield on Sunday as her 57th minute strike from a penalty corner gave Greenfields an historic victory in the ESB Electric Ireland Women’s Irish Hockey Trophy decider over a dogged Omagh side.

This represented a first-ever success for a Connacht team in the competition, and though it appeared for large parts of the contest that extra-time would be required, McGettigan’s solitary goal was enough to secure the Galway City club’s place in the Irish Senior Cup for next season.

Greenfields ventured into this encounter with plenty of confidence having defeated Omagh’s Ulster rivals, Northern Ireland Civil Service, at the semi-final stage (they had also accounted for Old Lady’s, Terenure, as well as Ashton and Bandon of Cork in the previous rounds), but they would have been acutely aware of what Veronica Hawkes’ side had to offer, as they overcame Galway Hockey Club in their penultimate round encounter.

In one sense, Greenfields were at something of a disadvantage for their trip to the capital, as the province of Connacht does not have a water-based pitch like the one in Belfield. However, the squad prepared for this tie by training on a pitch similar to the one that UCD posssess, and they also had the experience of playing at this stage of the competition in the past, having lost out to Catholic Institute of Limerick in the 2010 showdown.

All of these factors meant that Greenfields were well prepared for the challenge of the Tyrone girls, and they looked very assured in possession during the opening moments of the game, when they were pressing Omagh high up the pitch in an effort to gain a stranglehold on the proceedings.

Indeed, Omagh netminder Gillian Adams had to be at her best five minutes in to deny Trish Garrett, who found herself in space just inside the area, but her final strike was swept away to safety by the feet of the Ulster outfit’s shot-stopper.

Greenfields were making an impression in the early stages, though, and in the form of Clodagh Grealy and Alison Ryan, they had two players who were posing real problems for the Omagh rearguard. The girls from the O’Neill County were defending extremely well, however, as they were closing down the space for the Greenfields attack whenever they approached their goal.

The Galway outfit did earn a couple of penalty corners in quick succession on 11 minutes, and though the routine between Áine Collins, Grealy and McGettigan was well-executed, the latter’s final strike was dealt with comfortably by Adams and her defence in the end.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



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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