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Major overhaul of county football on the cards



Date Published: 26-Nov-2009

THE premier club football competition in the county could be in line for a major revamp next year following the County Football Board’s upcoming convention.

The Galway senior football championship may adopt a ‘Champions League’ style group format – along the lines of the county’s hurling championship – if a motion put forward by four clubs is accepted by delegates next week.

On Monday night, the option of introducing group stages to a new-look football championship will be proposed by Salthill /Knocknacarra, Oranmore/Maree, Dunmore McHales and Monivea/Abbey. The proposal would mean replacing the current ‘open-draw’ for first round championship matches and ‘back-door’ knock-out matches, with a group stages system.

There would be three groups of five teams, and one group of six (to accommodate NUIG) with each team playing each other once in the group stages and the top two teams in each group advancing to the championship quarter-finals.

But in a separate motion, the Football Board will be looking for delegates to maintain the status quo of an open draw championship format and revert to the system of promotion and relegation that prevailed in 2008 and for years previous to that, whereby the bottom two teams in the senior B league were relegated to intermediate, with the intermediate league and championship winners earning promotion.

This system was the norm in Galway for years but was changed for the 2009 championship after the Connacht Council’s fixture monitoring group found Galway was in contravention of the General Rules of the GAA.

As a result, this year the Galway club competitions had to be run on a ‘one up, one down promotion and relegation system between intermediate and senior. The norm across the country, in compliance of the rules, is that promotion and relegation should be from the championship only (and not the league as was the case in Galway pre-2008) and only one club (not two as was the case in Galway pre-2008) should be promoted and relegated from senior and intermediate per year.

After making representation to the Connacht Council, the Board has been given the go-ahead to revert to the old format, and a motion allowing two intermediate clubs – the league and championship winners – to be promoted with two senior B teams relegated from the league, will be debated and voted on this Monday night at Loughgeorge.

It was this forced change of rule from last year, that has rendered the remaining intermediate league matches futile, with only pride and not promotion at stake – many clubs have complained that the 2009 intermediate and junior league campaigns lost their competitive edge due to the absence of an incentive.

“The Board will be looking to go back to the system of promotion that was in place in 2008 where the winner of the intermediate league and championship would be promoted and two senior B teams would be relegated from the league. The whole reason behind this is to keep the league competitive,” Football Board Secretary, Seamus O’Grady told Tribune Sport this week.

O’Grady said the motion would also provide for a similar promotion/relegation format to be adopted at junior A level, allowing the junior A league and championship winners to be promoted by relegating two intermediate teams from the league.

For more details about the convention and the interview with Seamus O’Grady see page 55 of this week’s Tribune.

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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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

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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