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Keary’s late goal keeps Loughrea treble on the cards

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 12-Nov-2009

A WELL-taken Neil Keary 55th minute goal proved decisive in turning the tide for Loughrea in this highly entertaining Pier Head Restaurant Minor ‘A’ hurling championship final at Duggan Park, Ballinasloe on Sunday.

As the game entered its final minutes, St. Thomas’ looked on course to win back-to-back titles, but then a superb run and a great handpass inside by Johnny Coen, sprung from full-back to operate in midfield, set up the prolific Keary for his side’s third and all-important goal late in the game.

By this time, St. Thomas’ had led 1-14 to 2-9, but once Loughrea hit the front with Keary’s netbuster, they were not going to be denied. In the final five minutes, Leo Keary’s charges outscored the reigning champions three points to one, with Keary (2) and substitute Raymond McMahon tallying for the victors, while full-forward Anthony Kelly posted the sole riposte for Thomas’.

It was a thrilling end to what was a thoroughly enjoyable and skilful hurling decider. In many respects, Loughrea concluded the contest as they had started, racing into a 1-3 to no score lead in the opening seven minutes. Points from Patrick Hoban and Keary (free) settled the challengers early, before Keary bagged his first goal on six minutes.

A powerful shot from Hoban brought the best out of Thomas’ goalkeeper Patrick Skehill, who repelled the initial effort. However, he could do little to prevent the on-rushing Keary from pulling first time to the net for the opening goal of the contest. When Keary added a point a minute later, it looked as if champions Thomas’ were in danger of being whitewashed.

Perhaps they sensed it themselves, but in the ensuing minutes they finally jumped to life, rattling off four unanswered points through Cian Kelly, the excellent Conor Cooney (2) and Gabriel Egan in a six-minute spell to reduce the arrears to two at the end of a whirlwind first quarter.

However, just as St. Thomas’ were getting some sort of a foothold on the game, Loughrea ambushed the champions once again. A sweet cross-field ball from centre-forward Hoban created the opening for Conor Quinn, who was on hand to steer the sliotar to the Thomas’ net on 16 minutes.

Again, though, Thomas rallied, hitting 1-2 in the ensuing three minutes. First, Cooney struck over a great point, before Egan clipped over his second shortly after. Then, on 22 minutes, Cooney delivered in a probing ball, which eluded several players on both sides, before Stephen Murray latched onto it and dispatched the sliotar with the crispest of ground strokes to the Loughrea net.

It was no more than St. Thomas’ deserved as they had created the greater number of scoring chances, but incredibly they hit eight wides in this period compared to Loughrea’s one. As it was, Loughrea entered the interval in the lead, 2-4 to 1-6, after Keary tapped over a 29th minute free.

Nevertheless, there was plenty of speculation at the break on the outcome. St. Thomas’ were the reigning champions – they had the experience to see this one out – but a gritty and equally as stylish Loughrea now had the wind at their backs, and this was sure to be an advantage.

By the 41st minute, though, it was St. Thomas’ who had edged in front for the first time in the game. Despite points from Loughrea duo Daniel Quinn and Coen in the opening two minutes, Thomas’ rattled off similar efforts through Cooney (three frees) and Anthony Kelly to take a 1-10 to 2-6 lead.

A Patrick Hoban point sought to disrupt St. Thomas’ momentum, but further efforts from Cian Kelly and Anthony Kelly and Cooney strengthened the reigning champions’ stranglehold on the cup. Points from outstanding Loughrea centre-back Paul Hoban and Keary (free) again looked to break St. Thomas’s run, but Martin Fahy’s charges hit back again with a James Regan point on 54 minutes to maintain their two-point advantage.

However, then came player of the match, Keary’s second goal – Loughrea’s third – on 55 minutes and the dynamics of this contest changed as the victors outscored their opponents three points to one in the final five minutes or so.

For Loughrea, this victory – their sixth at this level in all – marked the 30th anniversary of their last minor win way back in 1979 and completed the second of a possible treble this year. Already with the Junior ‘A’ and minor titles in their back pocket, Loughrea now have the opportunity to add the senior crown to their collection this Sunday. What an achievement that would be.

Key to the minor victory, though, was All-Ireland minor winner Neil Keary, who tallied an impressive 2-6 on the day. He was ably assisted by the two Hobans – Paul and Patrick – while Johnny Coen played his best hurling when released from the confines of full-back. Of the remainder, Peter Quinn, Alan Cormican and Daniel Tully were also to the fore in a solid team performance.

For St. Thomas, defenders Darragh Burke and Cathal Burke, player of the match contender Conor Cooney and Anthony Kelly did well, while Cian Kelly, captain James Regan and Gabriel Egan also toiled diligently on the day.

Loughrea: A. Madden; G. Rooney, J. Coen (0-1), D. Tully; A. Cormican, Paul Hoban (0-1), P. Quinn; S. McCormack, I. Hanrahan; C. Quinn (1-0), S. Sweeney, D. Africano; D. Quinn (0-1), Patrick Hoban (0-2), N. Keary (2-6, 0-3 frees). Subs: R. Mahon (0-1) for Africano (55 mins.)

St. Thomas’: P. Skehill; P. Caulfield, S. Skehill, E. Daly; D. Burke, C. Burke, P. Connors; C. Cooney (0-7, 0-4 frees), C. Kelly (0-2); M. Gleese, J. Regan (0-1), S. Murray (1-0), P. Brady, A. Kelly (0-3), G. Egan (0-2).

Referee: C. Browne.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy



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

Henshaw and McSharry set to field for Irish Wolfhounds in clash with England Saxons

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

CONNACHT’S rising stars Robbie Henshaw and Dave McSharry look set to named in the starting xv for the Ireland Wolfhounds who face the England Saxons in Galway this weekend when the team is announced later today (Thursday).

Robbie Henshaw is the only out-and-out full-back that was named Tuesday in the 23-man squad that will take on the English at the Sportsground this Friday (7.45pm).

Connacht’s centre McSharry and Ulster’s Darren Cave are the only two specialist centres named in the 23 man squad, which would also suggest the two youngsters are in line for a starting place.

Former Connacht out-half, Ian Keatley, Leinster’s second out-half Ian Madigan and Ulster’s number 10 Paddy Jackson and winger Andrew Trimble, although not specialist full-backs or centres, can all slot into the 12, 13 and 15 jerseys, however you’d expect the Irish management will hand debuts to Henshaw and McSharry given that they’ll be playing on their home turf.

Aged 19, Henshaw was still playing Schools Cup rugby last season. The Athlone born Connacht Academy back burst onto the scene at the beginning of the season when he filled the number 15 position for injured captain Gavin Duffy.

The Marist College and former Ireland U19 representative was so assured under the high ball, so impressive on the counter-attack and astute with the boot, that he retained the full-back position when Duffy returned from injury.

Connacht coach Eric Elwood should be commended for giving the young Buccaneers clubman a chance to shine and Henshaw has grasped that opportunity with both hands, lighting up the RaboDirect PRO 12 and Heineken Cup campaigns for the Westerners this season.

Henshaw has played in all 19 of Connacht’s games this season and his man-of-the-match display last weekend in the Heineken Cup against Zebre caught the eye of Irish attack coach, Les Kiss.

“We’re really excited about his development. He had to step into the breach when Connacht lost Gavin Duffy, and he was playing 13 earlier in the year. When he had to put his hand up for that, he’s done an exceptional job,” Kiss said.

The 22-year-old McSharry was desperately unlucky to miss out on Declan Kidney’s Ireland squad for the autumn internationals and the Dubliner will relish the opportunity this Friday night to show-off his speed, turn of foot, deft hands and finishing prowess that has been a mark of this season, in particular, with Connacht.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Drinks battle brewing as kettle sales go off the boil

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 30-Jan-2013

You’d have thought there might have been three certainties in Irish life – death, taxes and the cup of tea – but it now seems that our post-tiger sophistication in endangering the consumption of the nation’s second favourite beverage.

Because with all of our new-fangled coffee machines, percolators, cappuccino and expresso makers, sales of the humble kettle are falling faster than our hopes of a write-off on the promissory note.

And even when we do make tea, we don’t need a tea pot – it’s all tea bags these days because nobody wants a mouthful of tea leaves, unless they’re planning to have their fortune told.

Sales of kettles are in decline as consumers opt for fancy coffee makers, hot water dispensers and other methods to make their beverages – at least that’s the case in the UK and there’s no reason to think it’s any different here.

And it’s only seems like yesterday when, if the hearth was the heart of every home, the kettle that hung over the inglenook fireplace or whistled gently on the range, was the soul.

You’d see groups gathered in bogs, footing turf and then breaking off to boil the battered old kettle for a well-earned break.

The first thing that happened when you dropped into someone’s home was the host saying: “Hold on until I stick on the kettle.”

When the prodigal son arrived home for the Christmas, first item on the agenda was a cup of tea; when bad news was delivered, the pain was eased with a cuppa; last thing at night was tea with a biscuit.

The arrival of electric kettles meant there was no longer an eternal search for matches to light the gas; we even had little electric coils that would boil water into tea in our cup if you were mean enough or unlucky enough to be making tea for one.

We went away on sun holidays, armed with an ocean of lotion and a suitcase full of Denny’s sausages and Barry’s Tea. Spanish tea just wasn’t the same and there was nothing like a nice brew to lift the sagging spirits.

We even coped with the arrival of coffee because for a long time it was just Maxwell House or Nescafe granules which might have seemed like the height of sophistication – but they still required a kettle.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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