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Huge test for Moycullen



Date Published: 30-Dec-2009

THE new year starts with a bang for the basketballers of Moycullen as they welcome Blue Demons to NUIG on Saturday.

Demons are the reigning Cup and League champions and boast some of the best talent Irish basketball has to offer, ably assisted by American Joshua Johnson who earlier in the season scored 44 points in a game.

However Moycullen will view the game as a great chance to cause a major upset. The previous contest between the sides in October proved a much closer affair than anyone had predicted.

In just their second ever Superleague game, Moycullen nearly beat the champions in Cork. On that day, Blue Demons survived by just 10 points in a game that hung in the balance until late in the fourth quarter.

Since then both teams will feel they have improved and will be looking to better the previous scoreline. Blue Demons have welcomed back their court leader, Shane Coughlan, from injury. Coughlan makes the whole Demons team tick and his absence from games early in the season made the Demons offense somewhat stale and predictable.

One man thankful of Coughlan’s return is Joshua Johnson, who has produced increasingly impressive stats as the season has developed.

Moycullen instantly became a play-off calibre team when they signed Nate Fritsch in November. Now they have a consistent roster and players are learning their roles.

In that 10 point defeat to Demons in October, Moycullen got very little contribution from Simon Harris, who they released in favour of Fritsch. The addition of Fritsch is a key reason why that 10 point gap can be closed seeing as he has already scored 30 plus points in multiple games during his brief Moycullen career so far.

Moycullen’s achilles heel so far this season has been that, at times, there has been an over-reliance on their two top-scorers, Cian Nihill and Nate Fritsch. While these two players will need to produce big games once again, Moycullen will require other players to step up and be a threat offensively if they are to bring down the champions.

In their three wins this season, a third player on the roster had an outstanding display. Dylan Cunningham against UCD, Mindaugas Kurchenkovas against Ulster Elks and James Loughnane against Hoops. Saturday is another perfect opportunity.

While Demons are loaded offensively, they can be suspect when defending the ball. If Moycullen can keep the game low scoring and tight going into the closing stages, the home advantage could be enough to push them over the finishing line.

Whatever the final scoreline, it should be a fantastic game of basketball. Both teams have new coaches this season and as the season enters its second half, they are finally starting to learn their individual roles and develop team identities.

Both teams will feel they have come a long way from their first encounter, Saturday will will tell just how far that really is.

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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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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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