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Manner of Limerick win could be the making of Tipp

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 30-May-2012

TIPPERARY hurlers were tottering on the brink of a shock Munster championship exit to fired-up Limerick midway through the second-half at Thurles last Sunday. The team rated the single biggest threat to Kilkenny this summer were in deep trouble trailing by seven points and one could sense that the knives were already being sharpened for manager Declan Ryan.

Limerick, full of vigour and intensity, had already made their statement in the opening-half and though only leading by a point at the interval having had the assistance of the wind, it was clear the Division Two League finalists were up for the contest. All over the field, they were harrying and blocking, while front men Graeme Mulcahy and Shane Dowling were picking off some invaluable scores.

In contrast, Tipperary were labouring with errant free-taking not helping their cause. They struggled to cope with Limerick’s intensity and badly needed Pa Burke’s well executed 18th minute goal after an intelligent lay-off by Brian O’Meara, who got through some effective work in the opening-half when many of his team-mates were off the pace. Midfield, in particular, was a problem area for Tipperary with the out of sorts Brendan Maher and James Woodlock, who was replaced before half-time, finding it difficult to give the Munster champions a platform in the sector.

Similar to their league semi-final exit to Cork, several key players appeared to be waiting for things to happen, but with O’Meara, Burke and Noel McGrath hitting the target every so often, they were still only a point behind at the break despite Limerick doing most of the hurling. It must have been a worrying situation for John Allen and his mentors, but their players were undaunted and really exploded out of the blocks at the start of the second-half.

Frankly, Tipperary didn’t know what hit them as the men in green thundered into everything. In arguably the best period of hurling we have seen from a Limerick team in years, they scored six unanswered points with Kevin Downes, David Breen, Mulcahy, Dowling, Conor Allis and Seanie Tobin all registering white flags. Pa Burke eventually stopped the rot with a pointed free, but when Dowling fired over again in the 54th minute, the challengers led by 1-16 to 1-9.

To be honest, Tipperary looked a busted flush. They were losing most of the 50/50 battles for possession and couldn’t establish any serious momentum or rhythm. It amounted to a full-blown crisis and represented a major test of Tipp’s character and bottle. Their sideline was now under savage pressure to stop the haemorrhaging and it was to the credit of Declan Ryan’s led management that a raft of changes helped to turn a thrilling contest on its head in the final quarter when the home team outscored the Shannonsiders by 1-11 to 0-3.

Reserves Shane Bourke, Conor O’Brien, Shane McGrath and Seamus Callanan all got onto the scoresheet, while another substitute, Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher was heavily involved in the lead up to O’ Meara’s priceless 64th minute goal. In the sweltering conditions and with their all-action earlier efforts taking a toll, Limerick were out on their feet in the final ten minutes. They had no more to give and also lacked the indepth strength of the Tipperary squad.

It was a tough outcome for Limerick having done so much right for so long, but they are obviously on the right road. Corner back Tom Condon typified their admirable commitment on the day and they have the makings of a decent team. A fully fit Declan Hannon will aid their cause in the qualifiers as will the likely return of injured defender Seamus Hickey, but they need more from full forward Kevin Downes.

Tipperary were a real mixed bag but this game could be the makings of them. They had to fight for their lives in the closing 15 minutes and weren’t found wanting. Callanan and Maher, who both had been long term injury victims, will be back in contention for the semi-final against Cork, while Lar Corbett will also be pressing for inclusion after coming out of his self-imposed exile. Sadly, however, the end of the road is dawning for Eoin Kelly, who has lost that dash of pace and made no impact last Sunday.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

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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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