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Humiliating loss for hurlers

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

Dublin 0-19

Galway 2-7

STEPHEN GLENNON

IN O’CONNOR PARK

IF the anger and hurt vented by supporters exiting O’Connor Park, Tullamore on Saturday evening is anything to go by, no matter what happens in the All-Ireland qualifiers, it could be years before confidence is restored in Galway hurling following this harrowing Leinster semi-final loss to Dublin.

And, in truth, that is the precipice Galway hurling stands over this week. Take the emotion out of it – the initial shock, not so much at the defeat but at the lacklustre performance – and Galway have not only lost ground on the likes of Tipperary and Kilkenny, but they have plummeted down the pecking order of top tier counties.

How far they have fallen, the qualifiers will tell, but at the moment they look an outfit devoid of ideas, devoid of heart, devoid of courage. In one fell 70-minute swoop, the perceived progress made in the previous two years under boss John McIntyre and his management set-up has been culled in the most unmerciful fashion.

The killer is, though, that it was not so much a case of Dublin sharpening the blade and pointing it in the right direction on Saturday, but more that Galway threw themselves upon their own sword. This was a meek, meek effort from the men in maroon and white. Mouse-like.

Of course, the management – too slow in making the changes – and, in particular, the players have come in for some severe criticism over the past few days. And rightly so. When a player pulls on the jersey, he does so not wholly for himself. That jersey represents something. It represents his club, his community. It represents tradition. It represents every single Galway supporter who made the journey to Tullamore and paid the admission fee and who DO have a God damn right to feel angry.

It means that you are part of something greater than yourself. It means that you are nothing more than a cog in a machine. It means that you shed every selfish fibre that exists in your body and what you do, you do together. That concept seemed to be well and truly lost on the Tribesmen on Saturday.

So, while the management and players may feel slighted by the ire directed at them this week – they may even feel it is unwarranted given the sacrifices they believe they make – in truth, it is nothing more than they deserve. And if they cannot accept it and understand it, then that arrogance – which is wholly unfounded without an All-Ireland senior medal in their back pocket – will ultimately define this current crop of players, no matter how honest or committed they may think they are.

In any event, after the disjointed, disorganised and shambolic championship displays against Westmeath and Dublin recently, it is time for Galway hurling to go into some sort of rehab and take stock of itself. Yes, let’s all have the pot at the management and players this week – bandy around words like ‘disgraceful’ and ‘embarrassing’ – but a larger issue exists in terms of Galway’s ability to compete in the championship arena.

Sometime, between the early ‘90s and present day, Galway hurling lost something of itself without really knowing it. In any event, Galway do not have the tools at the moment to challenge for honours and, for that, the clubs – indignant in the belief that they are being treated as second class citizens, particularly when it comes to fixtures – and, indeed, Galway Coaching & Games Development – which does do Trojan work in Galway – must take some responsibility for that. For they are at the coalface of Galway hurling.

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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Archive News

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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