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Heartless hurlers crushed

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

Waterford 2-23

Galway 2-13

CIARAN TIERNEY at Semple Stadium

BEING here before does not make it any easier. The Galway team with no heart, no passion, no leaders – as has been claimed so often in recent times – are out of the hurling championship before Race Week for the sixth consecutive season after a bitterly disappointing drubbing by beaten Munster finalists Waterford at Semple Stadium on Sunday.

For the third year in a row, hopes have been dashed at the quarter-final stage and betting slips are being torn up before the first horse even takes to the parade ring at Ballybrit. Only this time there was no need for post-mortems into what might have been, so devoid of spirit was the performance and comprehensive the defeat.

In the previous two years, the men in maroon have been beaten at this stage by just one point. There were recrimations and regrets. On Sunday, though, there was only resignation and despair among the supporters leaving Thurles. No arguing with a ten point defeat, incredible as it seemed against a team which had suffered a 21 point annihilation by Tipperary last time out.

The history books now show that Waterford have a 10-0 championship record against the Tribesmen, adding to the widely held belief that the men in maroon do not have the appetite for big games. The tag of unbackable 1/3 favourites seemed to be a huge burden on Galway shoulders in Thurles as they produced a listless performance which seemed unthinkable in the wake of the wins over Cork and Clare.

Harsh reality began to sink in about five or six minutes into the second half, after Davy Fitzgerald’s men had come out and blitzed the Tribesmen with five scores in a row. All around the field individual battles were being lost by men in maroon and there was no sign of the leadership or passion required.

At half-time, Galway had only trailed by two points (1-9 to 1-7) and the game still seemed to be there for the taking. Surely, they were going to come alive at some stage. Galway followers expected their team to come out fighting and get their act together for the second half, but instead their challenge crumbled like a pack of cards.

The selectors were quick to make the changes, bringing in both Cyril Donnellan and Kevin Hynes within eight minutes of the re-start, but it seemed as though the heart had gone out of the side and they had little or no belief in their ability to win this tie. Even with 20 or 30 minutes left on the clock, and plenty of time to rescue this mission, brittle and soft Galway seemed to be heading for the exit door again.

At a time when Galway needed inspiration, all of the endeavour was coming from the Déise as Pauric Mahony fired over three frees – conceded by a Galway defence under severe pressure – along with scores from lethal full-forward Shane Walsh and a rejuvenated Eoin Kelly, who had been left out of the Munster final line-up.

By then, it was 1-14 to 1-7 and already it looked as though there was no way back for a side lacking in inspiration. It’s a damning indictment of the Tribesmen that Joe Canning was the only one of the starting forwards to find the target in the second half, the other scores coming from a Tony Og Regan ‘65’ and substitutes Barry Daly and Aiden Harte.

Of even more concern was how little pressure Galway put on rival full-back Liam Lawlor, manning a sector in which Waterford have clearly struggled this season. Canning spent much of the game further back the field and the kind of low, fast ball into the full-forward line which can cause havoc never materialised for the Tribesmen.

Instead, they just lost their way. A needless handpass led to the concession of a routine free which young Mahony gleefully slotted between the posts and, when Canning hit Galway’s first score of the second half, rampant midfielder Kevin Moran unleashed a wonderful point on the run for an instant reply at the other end.

This was some day for the Waterford half-back line, whose dominance of their sector set the foundation for a massive win. Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh and veteran Tony Browne were immense, while Kevin Moran dominated midfield. No wonder these guys are legends in their county, players who can come up with the kind of passion which Galway seem to have lacked for years.

John Mullane, fed by Mahony, took advantage of loose marking to extend Waterford’s lead and Mahony tapped over another free after corner back Fergal Moore hauled Maurice Shanahan to the ground, picking up a yellow, as the Waterford man bore down on James Skehill’s goals.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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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