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Kernan pulls the plug



Date Published: 05-Aug-2010

HERE we go again. The search for a new Galway senior football manager begins this morning following the resignation of Joe Kernan earlier this week – less than 11 months after he was appointed.

The Armagh man, who was unveiled with such razzmatazz as Galway manager at Tuam Stadium last September, formally tendered his resignation to the Chairman of the football Board, John Joe Holleran, with a letter which arrived by post on Tuesday.

And a tug of war between Galway’s Football Board and the Sligo County Board could ensue in the coming weeks over the bookies’ front-runner to replace Kernan, current Sligo manager and Killanin man Kevin Walsh – the Chairperson of the Sligo County Board has expressed his confidence to Tribune Sport that Walsh will remain with the Yeats County for a third year in 2011.

Kernan, Holleran and at least two other senior football Board officials met as planned at Ionad peile na Gaillimhe, Loughgeorge last Thursday night to review Galway’s progress under the Crossmaglen man this season, which ended in a very disappointing home defeat to Wexford in the All-Ireland qualifiers.

Given that both the football Board and Kernan had indicated that they did not wish to part company for at least another year, there was some surprise –although no real shock – in GAA circles in the county that he had stepped down.

Tribune Sport understands that Kernan outlined at the meeting that he wanted to stay on as manager for another year and the Board were also anxious that he would remain in place but there was one insurmountable obstacle to that happening – Kernan’s trainer and fitness, strength and conditioning coach.

Kernan insisted that the two men who he brought with him should remain on – keeping the backroom men in place was his ‘line in the sand’ – but it is understood the football Board had concerns in relation to the cost of Kernan’s ancillary backup.

It is understood players were generally happy with the training and conditioning personnel, although the football Board was hoping to appoint fitness and training from within Galway, leaving genuine surprise among senior players this week at Kernan’s decision because they were expecting that he would be retained for another year at least.

If Kernan had brought success – or at least shown signs of real progress and potential – and possibly led this team to an All-Ireland quarter-final, resources may not be an issue but the football Board couldn’t justify keeping his backroom team when the expertise was available locally.

Holleran did not return calls ahead of a meeting of the Board and club representatives at Loughgeorge on Wednesday night where the resignation was due to be formally relayed to club delegates and the fallout debated.

Kernan also refused to be drawn on the matter either until the message was announced at the Board meeting. “I can say nothing until after the meeting tonight,” Kernan told Tribune Sport yesterday.

He added, “I told the football Board I wouldn’t be talking to anybody until after the meeting. In fairness to the football Board we said we wouldn’t talk – we went into the job with good will and we’ll go out in good will.”

Kernan’s appointment was seen by many as a major coup for Holleran who – anxious to secure an All-Ireland title during his five-year tenure as Chairman – headhunted and persuaded him to come west to Galway.

But in a county with such a proud footballing tradition as Galway, there were always going to be a large chunk of followers who had doubts about the appointment of an outsider, and particularly an Ulsterman, who implemented a style that grated with purists.

For the full report and analysis see page 56 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

Super Mac steps in again



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013


The Supermac’s logo will appear on the Galway senior footballers’ jersey for the first time against Derry this weekend after the Irish fast food giant was announced as the new title sponsor of the county’s GAA teams.

For 22 years, Supermac’s has featured on Galway hurling jerseys but with the County Board determined to have ‘one jersey, one crest, one sponsor’ for its flagship teams, Supermac’s have once again answered the county’s call.

Although Supermac’s have signed up on a two-year deal initially, there is an option for the partnership to continue for up to five years . . . which, should it do so, it is believed, could see Pat and Una McDonagh’s company invest in excess of €1 million in Galway GAA.

Speaking to the Sentinel yesterday afternoon, Supermacs Managing Director Pat McDonagh was unwilling to talk numbers but said it was by far and away Supermac’s “biggest ever sponsorship” deal.

In addition to the Supermac’s logo being carried on hurling and football playing gear – from minor to senior – its subsidiary company Papa John’s Pizza will feature on all underage jerseys.

“That is still within the Supermac’s brand but that is the name that will go on the underage teams,” said Pat McDonagh.

“It is initially a two-year deal with an option to go to five years. We are delighted this process has come to a conclusion at this stage after lengthy negotiations. So, we will be launching the new jersey – the new football and hurling jersey – and this will be worn by both teams this year. Hopefully, that will be ready next Sunday.”

There were fears in some quarters that with a main sponsor sought to support both codes, Supermac’s may have lost out on the deal to a multi-national, and that not only rankled with a number of officials loyal to the McDonagh family but with proud GAA Gaels across the county.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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Archive News

Macnas set off to explore the world



Date Published: 31-Jan-2013

Macnas gets 2013 off to an exciting start with performances in China next month in February and Australia in March.

‘Chaosmos’, a newly devised piece, will premiere at the Chaoyang International Spring Carnival in Beijing from February 10-15 while the Boy Explorer heads to the WOMAdelaide festival in Australia from March 7-11.

Initiated in 2002, the Chaoyang International Spring Carnival is a highly anticipated event taking place over the Chinese New Year Holiday period with an attendance of more than 400,000 visitors. This year Ireland has been awarded ‘Country of Honour’ by the Festival; with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs Macnas have been invited to showcase Irish Street Theatre and celebrate Chinese New Year in an uniquely Macnas way. ‘Choasmos’ is an exciting, ethereal performance with vivid and stunning costumes, bespoke imagery, stilting beasts, masked performers, musicians, suitcases, lotions, potions, a music box and a bag of curiosities.

The well-travelled Boy Explorer continues his Quest for Brilliant Ideas Down Under with an appearance at Peter Gabriel’s International Music and Arts Festival, WOMADelaide, in South Australia. The Boy will rub shoulders with music legend Jimmy Cliff as well as some of the world’s leading music performers and over 15,000 visitors each day. Although he tested his sea legs on a trip to Scoil Ronáin on Inis Mór in December, this is the Boy Explorer’s first time going overseas and casting his net further afield.

It is an extremely exciting time for the company, with so much new work in the offing and as many requests to present at home and abroad. “This will be one of the most exciting years in the long history of the company,” says Sharon O’Grady, General Manager of Macnas. No doubt the rest of the year will hold many more exciting appearances and tours for one of Ireland’s busiest performance companies.

For the most recent news follow Macnas and The Boy Explorer on Twitter, @Macnasparade or @boyexplorer, and on Facebook or check out for more information.

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