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Marathon men of Mountbellew still hanging in there

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Date Published: {J}

Mountbellew/Moylough 0-10

Tuam Stars 2-4

Dara Bradley at Tuam Stadium

THERE’S just something about Mountbellew/Moylough, there’s no keeping them down! A bit like a bad smell, or a sweet smell, depending on your hue, Mountbellew/Moylough continues to lurk and linger around in this year’s Galway senior club football championship.

 

They now face their fifth match in as many weeks this coming weekend after earning a draw courtesy of a late free from marksman Cathal Kenny against Tuam Stars at Tuam Stadium on Sunday in the quarter-final of the championship.

You’d have to wonder what Football Board Secretary, Seamus O’Grady, and the fixtures men did to Mountbellew/Moylough to deserve this fixture backlog! Added to the championship delays through appeals and the arbitration process surrounding the Micheál Breathnach debacle, the men led by captain Joe Meehan are facing their third replay of the season.

No matter what happens, and no matter who wins the Frank Fox Cup this year, Mountbellew/Moylough has left an indelible mark on the 2011 campaign. Having lost the PR battle and the support of many outside the club through off-field antics over Micheál Breathnach fielding an unregistered substitute, Mountbellew/Moylough in their three subsequent matches seem to have won over the hearts and minds of a large chunk of neutrals who cannot but admire their doggedness and downright bloody-mindedness, as the men in black and amber refuse to bow out of the championship.

Their stubbornness was evident again on Sunday. But, even though it was Mountbellew/Moylough that scraped the draw with a late leveller, Tuam Stars would feel more relieved to have gotten out of jail – Tuam played second-fiddle for long stretches of this disjointed but exciting clash, and by rights would be out of the championship had their opponents converted possession and territorial dominance into scores.

Alan Flynn’s charges were ring-rusty, and played in fits and starts, obviously feeling the effects of a lengthy layoff since their last championship outing. They’ll hardly be as poor in the replay – this match should bring them on immeasurably – but what was worrying was the manner in which they failed to take advantage of a Mountbellew/Moylough side that were out on their feet.

It was clear Joe Bergin and Co were tired – who could blame them having played so many championship games in such a tight schedule – but it was Mountbellew/Moylough who finished far stronger, and should have won had they not ballooned a few shots at the posts in the final quarter.

Although they were lucky in the end, Tuam were the authors of their own demise in the opening half. They raced into a 1-2 to 0-1 lead after just six minutes; with points from Gary O’Donnell and Darren Kelly, and a bizarre three-pointer from Shane Gaffney.

The Tuam corner-forward was fouled as he took a pop at the posts, and a free was signalled, to be taken from where the ball landed, as his Garryowen style effort was still high in the sky; it was punched back into play by full-forward Donal Marley and was caught close-in again by Gaffney, who in an act of ingenuity and quick thinking rattled the net from the free, as the Mountbellew/Moylough rearguard and goalkeeper were asleep.

That score should have settled them, but their lack of sharpness began to show as they conceded three scoreable frees in the remainder of the half that were in the ‘gimme’ or ‘silly’ categories.

Firstly corner-back Evan Kilroy was pulled-up for over-carrying and Cathal Kenny punished; then centre-back Tony Costello played the ball on the ground, and this time Joe Meehan ensured it was a costly mistake. Later on, Meehan again converted after a Tuam player was whistled for over-carrying.

Raiding half back, Gary Sweeney, cut in off the wing to narrow his angle and split the posts; and a long-range effort from Joe Bergin levelled matters 0-5 to 1-2 with ten minutes remaining to half-time as Mountbellew/Moylough dominated the midfield exchanges and kick-outs battles. They should have been further in front – a swerving shot by on goal by midfielder Colm Colleran bent the up-ight before bouncing away to safety.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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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

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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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