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Hope in short supply as Galway head to Navan



Date Published: {J}


A LOT of pieces in the Galway footballing jigsaw, that were scattered so disjointedly around McHale Park last Sunday week, will have to be put together again in a drastically revised format at Navan this Saturday evening (7.0), if Tomás Ó Flatharta’s charges are to avoid a summer of club football only.

Galway’s meek 1-12 to 1-6 exit from the Connacht football championship at the hands of Mayo, following hot on the heels of the county’s spring relegation from Division One of the National League, has left morale in the county at a very low ebb. Is it past the point of rescue? . . . the general opinion is ‘yes’ . . . only a win on Saturday evening against Meath in Páirc Tailteann can save the day.

The Galway team will be announced tonight (Thursday) at training in Loughgeorge, and the general consensus among the close observers of the game in the county, is that at least four to five key changes will be on the cards.

The most obvious one is likely to be the return of Finian Hanley to a defensive position after his temporary posting to a midfield role that never suited the Salthill-Knocknacarra clubman. He is now likely to slot back into the full backline where he will ‘dutied’ to pick up one of Meath’s big inside men in Joe Sheridan or Paddy O’Rourke.

It seems likely that Tomás Ó Flatharta and his backroom team will also opt to reconstruct their half backline with Gareth Bradshaw likely to be recalled from his wing forward role to fill the No. 5 shirt, while the return of Milltown’s Diarmuid Blake to the centre back position, also seems imminent. If that scenario emerges, it seems likely that Gary O’Donnell and Greg Higgins will be the players to make way.

The midfield vacancy, left by Hanley’s probable return to defensive duties, is likely to be filled by young Micheál Breathnach’s midfielder, Fionntán Ó Curraoin, one of the stars of this year’s All-Ireland under-21 winning side. He now seems likely to partner Joe Bergin at midfield.

There is also strong speculation that Athenry’s Thomas Flynn, just after completing his Leaving Cert – Ó Curraoin’s midfield partner in the under-21s – could get the start, possibly in one of the wing forward slots with another under-21, Mark Hehir, on the other side. Oughterard’s Matthew Clancy is likely to be picked on the ‘40’ to give a vein of experience to the line.

Closer to goal, Caltra’s Michael Meehan – beset by major injury problems for the past 15 months – could be given the full forward slot in a bid to bolster the strike power of the attack.

It would be something of a calculated risk, given Meehan’s lack of match practice, but along with Padraic Joyce and Cormac Bane, he would complete an inside line of attack with plenty of scoring power.

Whether a potential revamp of that scale can turn around Galway’s fortunes, is highly debatable, against a Meath side playing in front of a passionate home crowd and buoyed up by their 5-8 to 2-8 first round qualifiers win over Louth.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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