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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

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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