Date Published: 06-Jun-2012
LITTLE happened between Offaly and Wexford at Tullamore last Saturday evening to alarm the main contenders for this year’s All-Ireland hurling title. Ollie Baker’s squad scraped through in the end as had been generally anticipated, but the overall standard in a wildly fluctuating struggle was no great shakes even allowing for the persistent rain at O’Connor Park.
The Leinster championship has long since been a one horse town as Kilkenny have captured 13 of the last 14 provincial titles with only Michael Jacob’s late goal in 2004 for Wexford breaking the Cats’ protracted monopoly. Offaly haven’t triumphed in Leinster since 1995 and though they will draw some heart from a first championship win over Wexford in 12 years, they have some serious improving to do.
Still, Saturday evening’s fixture was a difficult one for them in more ways than one. Apart from their recent poor record against Wexford, Offaly were also at home and strong favourites to advance to the Leinster semi-final. That background to the game obviously put extra pressure on them, so to survive in those circumstances was encouraging and, naturally, they won’t fear Galway in ten days’ time.
It was a match which had little pattern to it. Offaly, facing the elements, looked slightly more cohesive earlier on as the teams shared six points, but then Wexford got a bit of a run going with Diarmuid Lyng, PJ Nolan and two Jack Guiney frees putting them 0-7 to 0-3 clear after 16 minutes. Liam Dunne’s charges had their tails up and it should have been much better for them only for Lyng to miss a sitter when shooting straight at Offaly goalkeeper James Dempsey.
Incredibly, Wexford could only manage a solitary point in the remaining opening-half action as Offaly gradually took over. Brian Carroll, playing effectively as a third midfielder, Shane Dooley (two) and Joe Bergin had drawn the teams level by the 33rd minute when the first goal of the match arrived. Bergin unhinged the opposition defence with a perfectly flighted delivery before Dooley finished with some authority from close range.
Trailing by three points at the break and with the wind to face, Wexford were in dire trouble. Though Eoin Moore and the experienced Darren Stamp were introduced, it was basically all one-way traffic in the third quarter. Young Paul Morris, who has potential, did manage to pick off a point but, at the other hand, Offaly were inflicting a lot of damage. Dooley (3) and Brendan Murphy were on target while Bergin’s ground stroke found the net in the 43rd minute.
The origin of Offaly’s second goal was controversial, however. An umpire pulled Wexford goalkeeper Eanna Murphy for stepping outside the square when taking a puck-out and from the ensuing throw-in on the 21 yard line, the ball broke favourably for Bergin to score. It was a marginal call in the first place and, possibly, cost Wexford the match. By the 57th minute, they had fallen 2-12 to 0-9 behind and now it just appeared a question of how much Offaly would win by.
Wexford hurling has fallen on really hard times, but they still have the capacity to produce successful comebacks out of nothing as had been the case in the league match between the teams earlier in the year. Offaly wouldn’t score again and became increasingly rattled as Wexford got their second wind. Jack Guiney blasted a 21 yard free to the net having thundered a first-half effort off the crossbar, while Rory Jacob (2) and Garret Sinnott registered points.
Offaly were hanging on desperately and when Guiney stood over another 21 yard free approaching injury time, their hearts must have been in their mouths, but the effort was saved. Perhaps, the Wexford full forward should have taken his point and they might have forced an equaliser subsequently, but he went for broke and it didn’t come off. It was a relieved Offaly camp afterwards, but they will gain confidence and momentum from this hard earned win.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune,
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
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
Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013
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.