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Long is on learning curve with Salthill Devon

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Date Published: {J}

ALTHOUGH Salthill Devon have lost their opening three games in their debut season in the Airtricity League First Division, Head Coach Emlyn Long prefers to focus on the long-term goals. Drom wasn’t built in a day; the establishment of Salthill as a footballing power in the upper echelons of League of Ireland football will take some time.

At 32 years of age, and with the full support of the club’s committee behind the management team, Long certainly has plenty of this on his side. Speaking to the Head Coach, it is evident that he is very much a patient man, a man who is willing to stay the course. He likes to do things in his own time. And for good reason. Life, or football, will not pass him by. This seems to be the Long ethos.

Having spent his early years in Castle Park, the Long family moved to Knocknacarra as Emlyn was entering his teenage years. Immediately, he got involved in Salthill Devon, playing underage up through the grades until he left for the United States after sitting the Leaving Cert.

The year previous, he had broken his leg and for any 17-year-old involved in any sport, it was a major setback. His time on the sidelines ran into his exam year, and although he did dabble in the game that season, he was no longer as confident or as happy on the field of play as he had been before the break.

In any event, after his Leaving Cert. Long moved to New York, where he spent two years receiving an education in life, before returning home to study Property Evaluations in GMIT. Again, though, he was determined life would not pass him, and on his graduation in 2001, he grabbed his rucksack once again, and travelled the world for a year with his then girlfriend, now wife, Diane Mongan, a native of Renmore and daughter of well-known local musician, Vinny.

Having seen the world and the World Cup – he was in Japan and Korea for the 2002 tournament – Long arrived home later that year and was invited by a friend of his, Ronan Gilligan, to get involved with Devon’s U-15s.

In the ensuing years, he progressed up through the ranks, winning an Umbro Cup with the U-17s before taking Salthill’s U-21 side to national honours when winning the Dr. Tony O’Neill Cup in 2005/2006, defeating Cork City in the decider.

“It was kind of one of those things where we went out with no expectations,” says Long. “The club had been in the U-21 a few years previously and hadn’t been very successful. But Paul McGee, ‘Ski’, had driven the agenda to get the club involved in that competition again because we had very strong U-16, U-17 and U-18 teams at the time. So, ‘Ski’ and Pete Kelly were the main instigators to get us back into the U-21. We went in with no real expectations, but after winning the first three or four games, it just took on its own momentum from there.”

Indeed, emerging from the group stages with a burgeoning reputation in the 2005/’06 season, Salthill subsequently accounted for Kerry League (2-1), Galway United (4-0) and Sligo Rovers (2-0) in the knockout stages, before defeating Cork City 2-1 in the final to become the first non national league club to lift the Tony O’Neill trophy.

Long maintains, though, that it was the 2-1 victory against the Kerry League in Tralee that was the making of the team, especially as the Galwegians had conceded a goal after just 30 seconds. “I think I aged about 10 years,” laughs Long. “To be honest, I was more relieved with that result than I was when we beat Cork City in the final. It was that intense.”

For more, read 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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