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Heads to roll after latest flop by Galway men



Date Published: {J}

Dara Bradley

THIS was sickening. Absolutely, sickening.

We thought the Galway senior hurling squad had turned a corner after the shockingly inept showing against Dublin in the Leinster semi-final.

But instead they just turned full circle round the Clare and Cork roundabout, heightened expectations en route, and then headed straight back down the road they came from – back to the despair of the Dublin disaster.

Except this time it was worse. Yes, worse than Tullamore.

On Sunday, there was no safety net and no excuses to hide behind – apart from the absence of Alan Kerins, who failed a late fitness test, Galway had a full deck to play with. They had a settled team coming into it, had built a bit of momentum and some confidence; the forwards were scoring freely, midfielders playing with abandon and the defence recovered well from a shaky start against the Rebels.

It was set up for a big Galway performance. And they just flopped. Spectacularly. Again.

And so the All-Ireland famine – and more than likely the managerial merry-go-round – continues. Another year without inter-county hurling in August; another season prematurely ended in failure before Race Week. And another autumn of soul – and manager – searching for Galway hurling.

Sunday’s defeat stretches Galway’s pitiful record against Waterford to 10 losses in 10 championship meetings and this was up there with the worst of the Déise beatings; and must rank alongside previous disasters as one of the Tribesmen’s most pathetic performances of the modern game.

In last year’s quarter-final, Galway lost by a point to the eventual All-Ireland champions, Tipperary. They suffered a similar fate at the same stage the previous year against Waterford. Galway won the Walsh Cup and National League in some style in that time as well. Progress was tangible.

But this season has been a giant step backwards – manager John McIntyre summed it up best when he said in the post-match interview that Galway are further away now from All-Ireland success than they have ever been in the past 20 years. The Tipperary native was spot on.

But what a stinging indictment of his players, of himself and of his management team – his most ardent critics, and God knows he’s accumulated a few of those throughout the county down through the years, couldn’t have been more damning had they stuck the knife in and twisted.

Galway have slid so far down in the chasing pack into mediocrity – behind Dublin, Waterford, Kilkenny, Tipperary, even Limerick – that it’s difficult to see any chink of light ahead. They once again made a mockery of the pre-tournament contenders’ tag and being third favourites to take home the Liam McCarthy Cup.

The Galway fans among the official attendance at Semple Stadium of 33,535, rightly felt disgusted and angry at this 2-13 to 2-23 thumping. They felt frustrated and shocked, too, but mostly anger.

It’s not so much losing that’s the problem, it’s the manner in which Galway’s players downed tools and gave up so early. It was the surrender that annoys the most.

Galway had no gumption for a fight. No backbone. No heart. No courage. No spirit. And once again no desire or will to win. It’s not just that Waterford wanted it more, it just seemed Galway didn’t want it at all. You’d wonder why they bother training so hard all year, making so many sacrifices in terms of family, friends and work, and yet turn-up at Thurles and hurl like they couldn’t give a toss.

Galway were hammered all over the park and lost in every individual duel. Collectively, they were second best in the work-rate and hunger departments. And some of the mistakes were elementary; funny in fact, were the stakes not so high. Trying to figure out why is next to impossible – this Galway group of players are like a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

There was a collective sigh of ‘uh-oh’ among Galway followers when Waterford’s Shane Walsh goaled inside a minute. We knew then that Davy Fitzgerald’s charges meant business; they had a point to prove after hitting rock-bottom in the Munster final and they looked psyched and primed to bounce back.

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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

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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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