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Kernan pulls the plug

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



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

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

Ruby ready to rock again and Bob is worth a big flutter in Gold Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 06-Mar-2013

New edge to Galway hurling championship title pursuit

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A battle of talent and the ability to pull in public votes

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 11-Mar-2013

Here is a question. And there is no holiday or grand prize for getting the answer. But can anyone name the people who have won The Voice of Ireland and what has become of them?

Over across the water in the UK they have The X Factor and while I hate the concept of it, it has produced a few stars even though they don’t last long in the whole scheme of things.

But The Voice of Ireland seems to generate false excitement with the winner ending up become more anonymous than they already were. And it is costing families a fortune in the process.

While the programme is a ratings winner, strangely, it has resulted in those getting through to the final stages investing huge amounts of money in the hope that they will receive enough votes to get through to the next stages.

So, suddenly, it is not about the voice or the talent involved, it is all about votes and who the participants can convince to pledge their support for them. So it is obvious that talent goes out the window.

It means that someone with half a talent could realistically win the whole thing if they generated enough support behind them. From now on, the judges will be taken out of the equation and it will be left to the public to generate income for some phone operator.

Those who get through to the live performances have to engage in a massive publicity campaign in an effort to win votes which makes this whole effort a pure sham. It is no longer about their ability and just an effort to win appeal.

While the initial process does involve some vetting of the acts, now it becomes a general election type exercise in which the most popular will win the competition and the judges will have no say whatsoever.

It is a bit like the recent Eurosong in which the judging panel across the country voted for their favourite song, which incidentally was the best of a very bad lot, but then this was overturned by the public who chose a relatively crap song to represent us.

But again, this was all down to convincing the public about who to vote for rather than having any bearing on the quality on offer. There are times that genuine talent becomes overlooked because of the need to extract money from the voting public.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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