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Impressive Corofin are capable of going all the way



Date Published: {J}

IN TERMS of prestige alone, it was Corofin’s biggest game of the year . . . in reality, it turned out to be their easiest. The Galway football champions were entitled to anticipate a stiff challenge from Charlestown in last Sunday’s Connacht club showdown but, instead, they romped home with an almost embarrassing ease.

Nothing may have come easy for Corofin in their successful defence of the county title, but Gerry Keane’s charges have found the provincial battleground far less arduous following convincing victories over Glencar/Manorhamiliton of Leitrim and their weekend demolition of the Mayo title holders who proved a major disappointment in their own back yard.

A comprehensive 13 points victory margin tells its own story as Corofin sauntered to the club’s fifth Connacht title and when you consider that they were missing three of their top performers in Kieran Fitzgerald, Michael Comer and Alan O’Donovan, who made a late appearance as a substitute, it underlines the gulf in standard between the best club team in Galway and, supposedly, what was the best team in Mayo.

Maybe, Charlestown had an off day, but there was no excuse for the manner in which they were standing off their Corofin opponents for much of the match. They couldn’t cope with the champions’ pace and movement and only for two brave blockdowns by full back Daragh McMeel in the opening-half, the home team would have been beaten out of sight. Though Aidan Higgins tried hard at centre back, Tom Parsons made a few bursts around midfield, and Richie Haran and Paul Mulligan looked threatening up front, Charlestown were simply out of their depth.

In contrast, Corofin arguably produced their best ever performance outside of Galway’s borders. Freed from the familiarity of the county championship scene, Kieran Comer and company looked really liberated against their Mayo hosts. There was an impressive energy and purpose about them as Corofin easily set up an All-Ireland semi-final clash with St. Gall’s of Antrim who were doing something similar to the Loop of Derry in the Ulster decider in Newry on the same day.

The Galway men certainly hit the ground running in Charlestown. After only three minute they had the ball in the net when Kieran Comer sent the ball low past John Casey. The score summed up Corofin’s ambition as full forward Joe Canney had a point begging to be taken, but kept edging closer to the posts until delivering the killer pass to his team captain.

Facing the elements, they couldn’t have wished for a better start.Corofin were undoubtedly bracing themselves for a big Charlestown response, but it never came.

In fact, the Mayo outfit didn’t manage their first score until the 16th minute – a Paul Mulligan point – and their sporadic attacks lacked the cutting edge of opponents who were much livelier virtually from the throw in. Three Comer frees and a Michael Farragher effort kept Corofin in pole position as they retired 1-4 to 0-4 ahead at the interval with the elements to back them on the resumption.

The match wasn’t dead yet for Charlestown, but they were even worse in the second-half as, this time, their scoring drought extended to 20 minutes.The Corofin defence, well marshalled by Damien Burke and Tony Goggins in the central positions, was giving nothing away cheaply as the Connacht final became even more one-sided. In retrospect, Charlestown’s provincial semi-final difficulties with an average Castlerea team were no accident.

The third quarter one-way traffic only served to underline’s Corofin’s superiority. A back-to-form Comer landed three frees before scoring a cracker from play, while the industrious Canney (two) and Greg Higgins also split the Charlestown posts.

It shouldn’t have been this easy, but the Galway title holders were at the top of their game and they were in no mood to drop the intensity levels either as the versatile Ciaran McGrath, together with substitutes Alan O’Donovan and Shane Monahan, also struck the target. Just on the stroke of normal time, Corofin took advantage of the token defensive resistance to engineer their second goal.

Raiding wing back Gary Sice played a one-two with Canney before first-timing the ball to the net. That score summed up their greater verve and quality against admittedly weak opposition.

On Sunday’s evidence, Corofin are well capable of emulating the club’s history makers of 1998 next Spring by capturing the Andy Merrigan Cup.St. Gall’s, of course, will be far tougher opposition in the All-Ireland semi-final but, for the time being, the men in green and saffron can celebrate another year of high achievement – a scenario which had appeared unlikely after making quite a stuttering start to their defence of the Galway title.

For more Inside Track see page 53 of this week’s Connacht 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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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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