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Hitting the bulls eye repeatedly in local darts leagues

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

WINTER is almost upon us. For some, those long, bleak nights may feel like the tightening of a noose, but for darts players around Galway city and county it signals the beginning of yet another adventure.

One of its most notable exponents locally is Padraic Coady, who for the past five years has captained Lafferty’s Bar to a record five-in-a-row of Galway City Darts League titles. In addition, he has also led his side to the Knockout Cup twice – 2009 and 2010 – while a number of Lafferty’s players – Paul Gannon (2009), Pat Lowry (2010) and John Lane (2011) – have also claimed victory in the singles competition for the last three years running.

To say these men are enthusiastic about the sport would be an understatement – no more so than Coady, who has been throwing darts since way back in 1978.

“Ryan’s of Laragh was the first place I threw a dart. I was about 17,” says the Ballyglunin native. “I threw for different places, though, before, eventually in the mid ‘80s, I went to the United States, to Boston.”

It was there that Coady really expanded on his game, taking part in such high profile events as the Minute Man Dart League (MMDL) and the Witch City Open, one of the most popular events for North American and international dart players in the ’80s and ’90s and which returned this year after a decade-long hiatus.

“That (Witch City Open) was held up in the North Shore and the top 20 world ranking players would go to that. It was a big event, with between 1,200 to 1,500 players competing over the weekend. So, we used to pop up there to get a crack at the big lads. On the first night you could pull any of them because it was an open draw.

“From there, I started playing with a team in the States and we won the Minute Man Dart League. We won that in 1999 and 2000. That would be the equivalent, in your group, of the All-Ireland. It took in all of New England.”

In 2001, Coady returned home and on the cajoling of his brother-in-law, Michael Hurney – who owned Grealish’s Bar at the time – he revisited the sport locally again. “We won the City League for his bar in 2004. He was also very interested in the darts, so he got a couple of lads in to play, such as the Crafty Cockney Eric Bristow. I got to play him and I got to beat him . . . with good darts,” adds Coady, with a note of pride.

“That raised my game. A couple of months later I played against Peter ‘One Dart’ Manley in Gort, in Sullivan’s Hotel, and I beat him as well the same day. So, I had a good year of it. That was in 2004. Michael finished up, though, in the pub after that.”

As a result, the father of two took some time out before returning to the sport in early 2007. He pulled together a group of lads who shared his love of the game and began throwing again under the sponsorship of Lafferty’s Bar. “We won the Galway City Darts League that year,” beams Coady. “We said we would stay on and defend the title the following year, and we have been doing that ever since.”

In the interim, he also managed the county’s darts team for two years and last year he took them to the quarter-finals. “On our way, we beat the All-Ireland champions, Cork. Donegal eventually beat us in the quarter-finals and they went on to win the All-Ireland. When we looked back, though, we had a good year because two weeks before that we beat Donegal in a challenge in Ennistymon in the West Coast Classic. So, we had a happy year of it.”

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

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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

images/files/images/x3_Courthouse.jpg

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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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