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Hurlers end six year quest for a title triumph

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Date Published: {J}

Galway 1-22

Dublin 1-15

STEPHEN GLENNON

at Parnell park

GALWAY hurlers claimed their first piece of senior silverware since 2004 when producing a dominant second half performance against a plucky Dublin outfit to secure the Walsh Cup title at Parnell Park on Sunday.

While the Walsh Cup will no way generate the level of expectation that the National League win of 2004 did, there were, nonetheless, a number of reasons for Galway supporters to be optimistic leaving the Dublin venue.

For one, it was imperative the Tribesmen left with a victory as this was – by and large – the same side that will represent the county in their up and coming National League fixtures against Limerick (away), Waterford (home), Tipperary (away) and Offaly (home).

True, the college-tied John Lee, returning David Collins and injured duo Fergal Moore and Niall Healy should make their return in the ensuing weeks, but Galway will still be without the quality and guile of their plethora of Portumna players.

Secondly, a tournament victory – even one in a competition as low profile as this – validates the work being done by the players and management behind the scenes and, clearly, they are moving in the right direction.

Indeed, one of the most notable attributes of a number of Galway players is how much they have bulked up physically this year, with the gym work initiated under the Ger Loughnane regime and continued by John McIntyre and his management team finally paying dividends.

Two players who certainly looked to have benefitted were midfielder Ger Farragher and full-forward Joe Gantley.

Although sharpshooter Farragher contributed nine points from midfield, six from placed balls, he proved himself, time and again, to be strong in the challenge and under the high ball and astute in his shooting and distribution. No more could be asked of a midfield player.

In top physical condition, Joe Gantley has begun to realise his potential on the inter-county scene. Consequently, his confidence is high at the moment while his touch on Sunday was immaculate. In many respects, this competition has given the Beagh man an opportunity to stake his claim and a tally of 1-3 from play against Dublin has definitely strengthened his cause.

His total could have been more had a 32nd minute effort not been disallowed by referee James Owens, who judged Gantley to have picked the ball off the ground. It appeared to be a dubious decision but, then again, so did a number of decisions made by officials over the 70 minutes.

As it was, Gantley’s goal on 14 minutes was pivotal in stoking the Galway fires on the day. Pearses’ Cyril Donnellan, who picked up a hand injury and had to be replaced in the first half, provided the possession for Gantley, who snapped the ball, shrugged off a couple of challenges and then lifted the Dublin net.

The goal, which nudged Galway 1-2 to 0-4 ahead, was the perfect riposte to four consecutive scores from Dublin sharpshooter Alan McCrabbe. In the following quarter, neat points from Aonghus Callanan, Aidan Harte, Niall Cahalan and four from Farragher – including a beauty from a sideline cut – left Galway 1-9 to 0-10 to the good at the interval.

For their part, Dublin adopted the tactic of crowding the middle of the park, so suffocating Galway’s quick ball to their forward unit, while also creating plenty of space for their own offensive players at the opposite end.

For more, read page 53 of this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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

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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

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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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