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Kernan’s welcome in Tuam was a bit triumphalistic



Date Published: 18-Sep-2009

IT was something of an unprecedented fanfare as newly installed Galway senior football manager Joe Kernan was introduced to loyal followers at Tuam Stadium on Sunday.
Kernan received a warm welcome from the crowd in excess of 5,000 who flocked to the venue for the two senior football championship semi-finals.
His much publicised appearance in Tuam Stadium probably added to the attendance as he was approached by hoardes of well wishers who congratulated him on his new appointment.
However, the scene on the pitch when he was interviewed over the public address was more akin to a victory celebration when a low key start to his managerial term might have been more advisable.
It was remarked upon by many supporters that the same triumphalism was not in evidence when Liam Sammon or indeed his two predecessors, Peter Forde and double All-Ireland winning manager John O’Mahony were appointed to the top football post.
Kernan sat in the front of the stand flanked by Football Board Chairman, John Joe Holleran on one side and County Board Chairman Gerry Larkin on the other as he witnessed two relatively poor matches.
The enthusiasm which surrounded his introduction to the large attendance had certainly waned long before the second match between Salthill and Corofin had finished as most of the crowd made their way home long before the end.
It probably wasn’t Kernan’s best introduction to Galway football as neither game produced a high standard of football although the clash between Mountbellew and Caltra was probably the more intense.
In this match, the new Galway manager would have been impressed with Joe Bergin’s performance up front for Mountbellew. He played the first half at full forward and created his side’s opening goal as well as a couple of points.
He moved out to the half forward area for most of the second half when he contributed three marvellous points from play while Cathal Kenny at midfield and corner forward Sean Sweeney also impressed for Mountbellew.
The second match was dire viewing with Corofin always having the upper hand. Interestingly, Corofin played with nine natural backs – three in the half forward line – but still carved out a simple win in the end as the Salthill challenge crumbled without trace.
Kernan would have been impressed by Joe Canney and Michael Comer up front for Corofin while Greg Higgins put in another solid performance at midfield as their backs were once again in top form and conceded just four points from play.
However, the displays put in by both county players Finian Hanley and Sean Armstrong were one of the few highlights in this below par Salthill/Knocknacarra performance.
The former Armagh boss could not be drawn on who his selectors will be but there is speculation surrounding the likes of former Galway star and successful county minor manager Alan Mulholland along with Eoin O’Donnellan, who managed Salthill to All-Ireland success ,and Paul McGettigan, the Corofin selector, being brought on board.
But if Kernan was left to choose his senior inter-county panel from the four county semi-finalists last Sunday, it would certainly result in an interesting line up. Based on the players who performed well, his team would look something like this:
Brian Fitzgerald (Salthill); Gary Sweeney (Mountbellew), Finian Hanley (Salthill), Kieran Fitzgerald (Corofin); Alan Burke (Corofin), Damien Burke (Corofin), Declan Meehan (Caltra); Greg Higgins (Corofin); Cathal Kenny (Mountbellew); Joe Bergin (Mountbellew), Sean Armstrong (Salthill), Michael Comer (Corofin); Sean Sweeney (Mountbellew), Michael Meehan (Caltra), Joe Canney (Corofin).

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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