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London Olympics is the target of top Galway boxer

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Date Published: {J}

GALWAY Boxing Club’s Patrick Corcoran may be collecting his third County Galway Sports Stars Award at the black-tie event this Saturday night, but the talented 20-year-old insists he has still to realise his full potential in his chosen sport.

That is good news for local boxing enthusiasts and a frightening thought for his competitors … for Corcoran is a powerful exponent with very real ambitions of becoming an Olympic boxer. If Corcoran, who also received Sports Stars awards in 2006 and 2008, gets to bear the shamrock at London 2012, he is determined to make his mark.

“I think 2012 is the best route for me,” says the Headford Road native. “In 2012, I will be 22, and that is when you are in your prime. So, I think 2012 is the best way to go. Winning the seniors is the stepping stone to do that, so that is the first obstacle for me. The Olympics would be my dream, though, to be honest.”

Indeed, first things first. If Corcoran is to realise the dream, he must claim an Irish senior crown to put himself in contention for a coveted place on the Olympic ticket. Easier said than done but, then again, you underestimate the ability of Corcoran at your peril.

At the age of 16, he secured his first Irish youth title, before months later – just as he had turned 17 – he went and claimed the 2006 Irish intermediate title when he knocked out Phelim Halligan of Mayo in the decider. The previous night, the Castlegar fighter had accounted for 33-year-old former Irish senior international Tom Murray in the semi-final.

Indeed, it proved a great night for Galway Boxing Club, as cousins Patrick and Michael Ward also captured Irish titles on the same night. For Corcoran, though, it rounded off a hugely successful year, in which he also won a gold medal at the Four Nations youth tournament involving England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland that Spring.

In the ensuing years, Corcoran claimed All-Ireland U-21 titles in 2007, 2008 and, more recently, in 2009 – a feat never achieved by any Galway boxer before. Last December’s 7-2 victory over Kiril Afanasev of Smithfield BC, completing the hat-trick of titles, was even more impressive given Corcoran had been sidelined for most of the year with a serious hand injury that he had picked up in his 2008 U-21 final victory over Martin Stokes of Letterkenny.

“Yeah, I was out for seven or eight months,” reflects Corcoran. “Every time I fought after I first hurt it, I was going back to square one. So, I gave it seven or eight months of rest. Unfortunately, the injury couldn’t be picked up in an x-ray, but the physiotherapist told me that it was fractured.

“So, I gave it time off. I could do some running, but the slightest thing would aggravate it. Even using weights, it would aggravate it and it wouldn’t heal. Eventually, I started training two months before those U-21s and the hand was grand. It was back to normal.”

Still, Corcoran finds it hard to put into words the level of frustration he felt during the lengthy lay-off. “When I fought in the seniors (last February), I fought the current intermediate champion, Pat Coyle, and I stopped him in the first round with a body shot. But when I hit him the body shot, I hurt my hand again, so I had to pull out of the seniors.

“That was a year down the drain, and that was really annoying. That was the first round of the seniors and it had been a good start for me. But I had to pull out. I wouldn’t even attempt to fight on because the seniors are top-notch. Going in with a bad hand wouldn’t be very smart really.”

What added to the disappointment was that Corcoran had high hopes for those senior championships early in 2009. The previous year, he had reached the semi-finals, only to be beaten by Tommy Sheehan of St. Michael’s. The Athy fighter was subsequently defeated by Con Sheehan of Clonmel in the final.

“Connie has won the last two titles,” outlines Corcoran. “When he won the first year, I got to the semi-final. I got beaten by the guy he beat in the final. If I had won, it would have been two 18 year olds in the final, which I don’t think ever happened before. It would have been good.

“ I had fought, myself, three of those days in a row. I was wrecked and even though I was beaten, fair and square, it was really good experience. It was the year of the Olympics, so I think they were preparing fighters for that by having them fight (one bout after the other).

For more, read page 50 of this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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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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