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Hurlers have much to prove



Date Published: 12-Jul-2007

IF one was to judge by the prevailing mood in the county right now, Antrim might as well do us all a favour by beating Galway at Pearse Stadium on Saturday (3PM) to avoid an embarrassing All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Kilkenny next time out.

It’s extraordinary the extent to which the optimism which greeted Ger Loughnane’s appointment as Galway manager has evaporated in the wake of the disappointing performances against Laois and Clare.

His public pronouncements that he is prepared to walk away have hardly boosted the fragile confidence of the Galway players — and airing dirty laundry in public has only added to the pain of the Ennis defeat for everyone involved.

“There’s every possibility that Antrim could do one over us, especially if we play with anything resembling the style and the approach we displayed against Laois and against Clare,” said the manager.

“Obviously, the fault has to rest with me as well. Maybe it needs somebody else to get the message through. I don’t know, but I’ll be making a decision after next Saturday. If I see that again, there’s not a hope that I’ll hang around. It would be counter-productive.”

Still, a defeat at home to Antrim would be unthinkable. Galway have never lost to the Saffrons in the championship and their most recent meeting, a 3-25 to 0-12 win at the Stadium in mid-February, was supposed to herald the start of a glorious new era.

Of course, Antrim shocked Galway with a one point win in the corresponding NHL game in Belfast a year earlier, but they should not be in the same class as the Tribesmen.

They had ten points to spare over Laois last weekend, recovering from a poor start to win by 1-23 to 1-13, but Laois had a man sent off early in the second half of that game.

And while Antrim pushed Clare to the limit a fortnight ago, before losing by 3-21 to 2-15 thanks to a late flurry from the Banner, let’s not forget that four Clare players were suspended following the ‘Semplegate’ affair.

Midfielders Karl McKeegan and Brendan Herron are class performers and, given Galway’s woes in this sector so far, the starting line-up of the maroon midfielders will be of huge concern to the home fans.

Wing back Ciaran Herron, wing forward Michael Herron, Johnny McIntosh, and Paddy McGill should be well able to punish Galway if they get chances to make an impression on the scoreboard.

“We want to go there and take a step further,” said joint Antrim manager Terence McNaughton. “We have got to start competing with every team we meet.”

Loughnane and his selectors have delayed naming their team until late in the week, with Mark Kerins and Fergal Healy both expected to be available.

“Next Saturday will tell an awful lot, whether there is any character whatsoever in this team,”said Loughnane. “If you are a player on this team and you came in after a performance like that (against Clare) and you put on a Galway jersey next Saturday, wouldn’t you have a lot to prove?”

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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