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Lucky Galway get out of jail !



Date Published: {J}

Galway 1-10

Sligo 1-10


INCREDULITY was transported to one of its furthest outposts in a somewhat bizarre Connacht football semi-final at Pearse Stadium on Sunday between one team seemingly destined to pull off an historic success and another fated for one of its greatest ever ignominies.

Overall this wasn’t a pretty package. The most creative spell of creative football came from Sligo during a high energy first half but a bit like an old Dracula movie, just when the stake was about to be driven through the heart, Galway wriggled free and avoided the fatal blow.

It was hard to figure out at the end which set of supporters was the most shell shocked. Galway fans, after witnessing quite an awful performance, were almost embarrassed to be still surviving in the Connacht series – the Sligo faithful couldn’t credit how they had let victory slip right through their fingers.

These are troubled times for Galway following their struggle through the league and the New York championship scare – unfortunately based on the evidence of last Sunday, it is hard to see where any progress has been made since the start of the year.

Sligo should have won this game comfortably, given the possession stranglehold they enjoyed for large chunks of this match and the 1-8 to 0-2 interval lead that they powered into by the time Meath referee David Coldrick sounded the interval whistle.

Instead of continuing on with the positive football which had Sligo in such a powerful position at half-time, they embarked on a defensive policy with a lot of players funnelling back behind midfield and Eamon O’Hara being deployed as a sweeper in front of the Galway full forward line.

They could see the winning post in front of them . . . it was there to be passed . . . but staying calm, staying in the present, can be a difficult state of mind to maintain, especially given the Sligo history of near things against their old rivals.

A modest second half scoring total of four or five points would have seen Sligo over the line, and even allowing for their defensive modus operandi, they still had four to five clear-cut chances of points which they spurned. Those were the misses that cost Sligo victory.

The second half was no advertisement for Connacht football and certainly sent out no signal of any impending visit across the Shannon of Sam Maguire. There were some dreadful examples of kicked passes going astray from both sides, while many of the wides had a real cringe factor to them.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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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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