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McGinley was right choice for Ryder Cup captaincy

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

IT’S been a long time coming, but at last Europe has an Irish captain for the Ryder Cup. This prestigious biannual event has been going strong since 1927 and though golfers from our shores have made a significant contribution to winning this prestigious event down through the years, the team was never skippered by an Irish man.

Who will ever forget the heroics of Philip Walton, Galway’s own Christy O’Connor Jnr, Paul McGinley and Graeme McDowell in match winning singles against the USA in the past, while the likes of Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke, Eamon Darcy, who defeated the putter-less Ben Crenshaw at Muirfield, Ohio in 1987, Des Smyth, Harry Bradshaw, Christy O’Connor Snr and Rory Mcllroy have also represented Europe with pride and distinction.

Their deeds fuelled the belief that it was past time for an Irish golfer to lead Europe into battle against America, and from a long way out, the race to captain the team in next year’s Ryder Cup at Gleneagles appeared between Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke, until the latter threw a potential spanner in the works by suggesting a captain with a ‘huge presence’ should fill the role after the US surprisingly recruited sporting legend, Tom Watson, as their captain.

Perhaps, Clarke was genuine in that belief but it’s also possible that the 2011 British Open champion had picked up, from the straws in the wind, that he wasn’t going to be choice of the European Players Committee and was trying to save some face. Whether Clarke intended it or not, he was also undermining McGinley’s bid for the captaincy as the spotlight was suddenly turned on Colin Montgomerie, a former Ryder Cup hero who had led Europe to a narrow victory at Celtic Manor in 2010.

With the 2014 Ryder Cup being staged in the Scott’s home country, Montgomerie encouraged the prospect of a quick return to captaincy duties by saying ‘he would do the job again if asked’ despite the 20-year-old policy in Europe that it’s now an once-in-a-lifetime role.

Throughout the past couple of months, McGinley wisely maintained a dignified silence, but he had no shortage of influential supporters who were publicly prepared to bat for his candidature.

Chief among them was world number one, Rory Mcllroy, who didn’t pull any punches in backing McGinley to the hilt even when his Northern Ireland counterpart Clarke was still in the race. Other top European golfers like Luke Donald, Justin Rose, Padraig Harrington and Ian Poulter, who inspired their extraordinary comeback against the USA in Medinah last September, also rowed in behind the popular Dubliner.

Though McGinley by his own admission had a ‘modest playing career’, he has excelled in team golf, featuring on the winning side in all five Ryder Cup matches – three as a player and two as vice-captain – that he has been involved in, while he also twice skippered Britain & Ireland to victory over Continental Europe in the Seve Trophy. By all accounts, the 46-year-old’s man-management skills, attention to detail and leadership were all above reproach in those events.

It’s a huge honour for McGinley to be chosen as the Ryder Cup captain, particularly as he is breaking new ground for an Irish golfer. He has admitted that Watson was one of his childhood heroes and there will undoubtedly be mutual respect between the pair – a situation which should ensure next year’s match is played in good spirits unlike a number of confrontations in the past, most notably the 1991 encounter at Kiawah Island which was infamously described as the ‘War on the Shore.’

JOHN MULLANE

HE was one of those players who tended to get under the skin of opposition supporters with his jersey tugging antics after scoring and fiery nature, but the retirement of John Mullane last week has sparked widespread tributes to one of the greatest Waterford hurlers ever. The five time All Star winner was hugely respected among his peers but, sadly, finishes his career without that elusive All-Ireland medal.

Since Waterford’s re-emergence as a hurling power in 1998, they have brought great colour and excitement to the championship arena.

 

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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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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