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Magical Michael’s pull off shock of the championship

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 18-Jun-2012

St Michael’s 2-9

Moycullen 1-11

Dara Bradley

St Michael’s pulled off the shock of the weekend – and of the Galway senior football championship to date – with a gallant and gutsy victory over Moycullen at Pearse Stadium on Saturday evening.

The city outfit celebrated the win as if they’d won the county final; and you couldn’t blame them given the complete turnaround in fortunes since their first outing over a fortnight ago when they caved meekly to Salthill/Knocknacarra.

That day St Michael’s looked no better than an average intermediate team; on Saturday they proved otherwise and secured their place in the top flight of Galway football in 2013, a feat that was richly deserved.

The Westside/Bushypark men must have felt the world was against them: scalded by criticism in the wake of the Salthill debacle; given no chance by the bookies, whose odds of 10/3 could be perceived as disrespectful at best; the City Council having deprived them of a pitch; and then referee Brendan Kinneavey wasn’t exactly cutting them any slack either with a few controversial decisions that steepened the hill they had to climb.

St Michael’s could be forgiven for harbouring a persecution complex but they used it to their advantage with a fiery, steely and committed effort that was too good for a youngish Moycullen side that relied too heavily on county player Gareth Bradshaw.

It would be unfair to characterise this win as simply a typical fire and brimstone performance from underdogs; St Michael’s did work hard and showed plenty of determination, but it must be acknowledged that for large chunks of what was an exciting encounter, they played the superior football.

Many of the club’s players, who had gone missing against Salthill, redeemed themselves with the likes of Eddie Hoare, Shane Maughan, Conor Hoctor, Alan Glynn and Frank Daly, to name a few, stepping up to the plate with displays that couldn’t be faulted.

The city men showed grit, true, but they possessed guile, too. None more so than the two expert goals – as good as you’ll find at club level – finished confidently by Hoctor at crucial junctures.

Bradshaw had put Moycullen two points to one up on six minutes, after Maughan and Philip Lydon had exchanged early frees, but then St Michael’s took over at midfield. The prominent Hoare landing a monster point from distance, before setting Hoctor on his way for his first green flag, the corner forward burnt his marker with real pace, his first shot was blocked by ‘keeper Seamus Friel but he gathered the rebound and made no mistake with the second bullet.

David Cunnane, Hoare and Damien Connaughton combined to set up Hoctor for another white flag and suddenly midway through the half, 1-3 to 0-2 up, St Michael’s were cruising. Philip Lydon’s free was cancelled out by another massive Hoare effort from distance and a free from Maughan, but then it was Moycullen who stamped their authority on proceedings with Bradshaw (free), Conor Bohan, Fergus Kerrigan and Christopher Hurney peppering the posts in quick succession to level it.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

images/files/images/x3_Courthouse.jpg

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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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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