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McGee and French top the list of applications for Galway United job

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Date Published: {J}

THE League of Ireland season might have ended five weeks ago, but it seems the close season is the time when things start getting interesting at Galway United, with the events of the past week bringing to mind one of the more famous malapropisms by US baseball legend Yogi Berra – “it’s like déjà vu all over again”.

Less than 12 months after Jeff Kenna walked out on United after verbally agreeing a new contract, the man chosen to replace him has followed in those same footsteps after Ian Foster tore up the final year on his contract to take the reins at Dundalk.

The Oriel Park club came knocking on the door of United CEO Nick Leeson two weeks ago seeking permission to speak to the league’s youngest manager, but were refused point-blank. A similar request from Foster was also rejected, but the talks went ahead anyway, and late last Friday, Foster was unveiled as the man to take over from Sean Connor at the Lilywhites.

That move has split United followers, with many angry at Foster walking out on the club with one year left on his contract, while others insist that, as he was owed money by the club, he had every right to speak to, and accept, the offer from Dundalk.

Unsurprisingly, Leeson is in the former camp, and has said a compensation claim will be issued against Dundalk, although he did admit that Foster – who was United’s 16th sole permanent manager – was correct to say there was money owed to him.

“Yes, he was owed money, but it was an exceptionally small fraction of the €100,000 he would have got from the club in the past two years. He asked for assurances on wages and on what is going to happen next year, but I couldn’t give him those assurances.

“Times are tough, income is down for everyone and Galway United is the same, but we do our best. I’ll will always try and make sure wages are paid, I’ll always do my best,” Leeson said.

One concern United fans have been raising in the past week is the constant changing of managers – the new man will be United’s fifth manager in two years (Cousins, Billy Clery as caretaker, Kenna and Foster) – and Leeson was asked if he was a hard man to work with.

“I don’t think I am a hard person to deal with it, but maybe I am. I tell it as it is so maybe that frightens people away, I don’t know. A lot of people are looking to get as far as they can as quick as they can, and the last two managers we have had thought they could learn the trade with us in 12 months and then move on, but Jeff Kenna and Tony Cousins haven’t done much in football since leaving us,” Leeson said this week.

While all the talk now is of the potential candidates for the job – more than a dozen applications have been received for the post that was officially advertised on Tuesday, with that figure set to double at least before the closing date of Monday December 21 – Leeson said there are more pressing issues at hand.

“The first thing we are looking at is to reach agreement with Revenue on a payment plan for money owed to them. The manager issue has been parked until the closing date (for applications), we’ll look at all the applications, select people for interview, and we hope to make an appointment in the New Year,” he said.

Speaking to Tribune Sport from England this week, Foster refuted suggestions that he was in breach of his contract with United, claiming that the fact he was owed money by the club gave him the right to speak to other interested parties.

“I got advice from the FAI and from the League Managers’ Association (in England) that I was within my rights to speak to whoever I wanted as I was owed money by United. Look, I don’t want to dig out anyone at the club, but I was owed money and I couldn’t get any assurances from the club so I had to make the decision that was right for me.

For more, read page 52 of this week’s Galway City 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

Galway get job done

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Date Published: 04-Feb-2013

FRANK FARRAGHER

IT might seem something like a short term outlook, but really nothing else matters in a first match of the National League, only the result.

Galway went into last Sunday’s Division Two game with Derry in a somewhat reticent mood . . . last year hadn’t ended well, and two weeks previously in Enniscrone, Sligo inflicted another unexpected blow.

The visit of Derry represented a trip into the unknown as the northern side under new manager, Brian McIver, have also embarked on a rebuilding process – never something that tends to deliver early results.

As Galway manager, Alan Mulholland, stood on the heavy sod of Pearse Stadium at around 3.30 last Sunday, he was essentially relieved that his side had come out on the right side of a 1-15 to 0-15 scoreline.

There were no whooping supporters but a small core of fans had gathered in the tunnel to clap Galway off – wins have been scarce enough of late, so when they come, they’re to be enjoyed.

“Yes, there’s no two ways about it, a win was vital for us here today. We have a young team, this is a work in progress, but there really is no substitute for a victory. It is a confidence thing, and we needed that boost,” said Mulholland.

A fortnight previously, he had plenty to chew on as Sligo ground his side down in the FBD league to win by 0-9 to 1-4, with Galway just scoring two points from play in that tie played in Enniscrone.

“We are concerned about our fade out periods in games. In Enniscrone it happened to us over a 60 minute match where we just couldn’t sustain the effort and today we really let Derry back into it, especially in the third quarter.

“It was a strange kind of game in one way, in that both ourselves and Derry played far better football into the wind, but that sometimes happens as teams are more conscious of retaining possession when facing a breeze,” said Mulholland.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

 

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Archive News

American songwriter Mark Eitzel set to deliver a memorable show

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Date Published: 07-Feb-2013

Acclaimed American songwriter Mark Eitzel plays Róisín Dubh on Monday, February 25.

He has released over 15 albums of original material with his band American Music Club and as a solo artist – his latest being last year’s Don’t be a Stranger – and has been described by the Guardian newspaper as “America’s greatest living lyricist”.

After a string of bad luck, including a heart attack in May of 2011 and the implosion of American Music Club, Mark found himself in the studio with producer Sheldon Gomberg (who has previously worked with Rickie Lee Jones, Ron Sexsmith and Ben Harper).

That good luck was due to a good friend who had had won the lottery and offered to fund the recording of his next album. And Mark new what he wanted.

“I wanted to make an album more reminiscent of records like Harvest by Neil Young or Five Leaves Left by Nick Drake than anything I’ve previously done,” Mark says.

Inspired by his experience writing a musical, Mark’s songwriting is simpler on Don’t be a Stranger and lyrically reflects a more straightforward approach.

There is a haunted quality to tracks like I Love You But You’re Dead and The Bill Is Due, which are about broken promises, leftover people, the desperation someone feels when time and money are running out, and ultimately, the feeling of not knowing what comes next.

Doors 9pm, tickets €14/€12.

 

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