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Loughnane loses out

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Date Published: 16-Oct-2008

WHAT A contrast there was with the scenes of jubilation which followed Ger Loughnane’s appointment as Galway manager just over two years ago when Hurling Board delegates met to bring his term to an end at the Raheen Woods Hotel, Athenry, on Monday night.

Two years after so many of them had queued up to greet the Feakle man and welcome him to the Galway fold, there was little drama or excitement as delegates cast their votes in a secret ballot to end Loughnane’s term at the helm.

The former Clare boss’s claim that his reign would be a failure if he did not deliver an All-Ireland title within two years came back to haunt him as the representatives of the county’s clubs voted narrowly to ensure he would not be the man to lead the Tribesmen into the Leinster championship for the first time next year.

The perception that Galway hurling was split right down the middle over his ratification proved to be spot on, as the 28-26 vote could not have been closer. Had the rival camps been tied at 27 votes each, Hurling Board Chairman Miko Ryan – known to have been opposed an extension of Loughnane’s reign – would have had the casting vote.

It did not quite come to that, but right up to the vote there had been uncertainty over Loughnane’s fate (and that of his management team of Louis Mulqueen and Portumna’s Sean Treacy) going into a meeting which had been postponed twice due to the tragic deaths of hurlers Paul Flynn and Shane Smyth on the county’s roads last week.

At the start of the meeting, delegates from throughout the county voted 30-11 to keep the members of the media outside the meeting. Two weeks earlier, reporters had been admitted to hear the County Board debate the controversial move into Leinster, but the feeling among delegates was that Monday’s meeting should be held ‘in camera’.

As it transpired, though, there was little debate over Loughnane’s position once the Hurling Board agreed that the ratification would be decided by secret ballot. Three County Board officials – Gerry Larkin, Bernie O’Connor, and Mike Monaghan – emerged from the room within 40 minutes to count the votes and within another ten minutes reporters were admitted to the meeting to hear the verdict.

“We put it to the floor and people were happier to have the meeting held in private,” Ryan told the assembled reporters, before revealing the breakdown of the votes. “Ger Loughnane has failed to be ratified.”

While the result hardly came as a huge surprise, given how divisive the affair has been since the side’s demoralising defeat to 14-man Cork in Semple Stadium back in July, the …

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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