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Greg gets Samba call

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Date Published: {J}

Keith Kelly

Galway soccer star Greg Cunningham is in line for a dream international debut after he was named in the 23-man squad for the Republic of Ireland’s friendly with Brazil in the Emirates Stadium in London next Tuesday, March 2.

Irish manager Giovanni Trapattoni named his squad for the game yesterday, and alongside the names of Shay Given and Kevin Kilbane – who are in line to break Steve Staunton’s record of 102 caps – and record goalscorer Robbie Keane is that of Greg Cunningham (19), now of Manchester City and formerly of Mervue United and Cregmore FC.

If he sees action next Tuesday, Cunningham will become the first Galway player since Eamon Deacy to win an international cap, and he will do so against illustrious opposition – Brazilian manager Dunga has named a strong squad for the game, with the likes of Dani Alves of Barcelona, Kaka of Real Madrid and Adriano of Flamengo included in the squad, along with a former team-mate of Cunningham, a certain Robinho.

Speaking to Sentinel Sport yesterday, his father Billy said he was “very proud” of his son and was delighted that the hard work Greg has put in has been rewarded with inclusion in the senior international squad.

“It is massive for him, I was talking to him this [Monday] morning and he said it was just great to be involved and he said he hopes to justify the decision to include him in the squad.

“I know Marco Tardelli [Irish assistant manager] and a couple of scouts from the Irish side have been over watching him a couple of times, and I suppose the fact Roberto Mancini [the Manchester City manager] and Trapattoni are both Italian probably helped as well.

“In fairness to Manchester City, they have been very good to him, from Mark Hughes and Glyn Hodges in their time there to Mancini, Brian Kidd and Andy Welsh, the reserve team manager, but a lot of credit has to go to the lads in Galway here as well.

“The likes of Dave Mullally, Jimmy McIlroy and Bartley Barrett brought him into the U12 Galway Town team when he was only 9 and they kept pushing him and pushing him to keep his head down and keep working.

“It was the same with Johnny Walsh at Cregmore, and Jimmy Howley and Jarlath Connolly at Mervue, they all helped him develop, they all deserve great credit. Everyone still looks after him – when Patsy Devlin goes over to Manchester United matches he always gives Greg a ring to see if he wants to meet up, so he is always in touch with home which is great, and Manchester is so near as well.

“He got lucky I suppose in that he won the U14 national title with Mervue, beating four Dublin teams along the way, and that would have given him exposure.

For more, read page 32 of this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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

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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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