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McGrath makes light of ‘virgin’ status



Date Published: 24-May-2012

 LAST Sunday was a long time coming for Kieran McGrath. He’s been a constant starter for his club, Corofin, over several years when they were competing in, and winning, County and Connacht championships.

The corner-back also represented the Tribesmen at the minor grade but he has been on the fringes of the Galway senior squad for a couple of seasons; never quite making the breakthrough. until now.

Even Galway manager Alan Mulholland found the funny side of McGrath becoming a senior championship debutant for his county at 27 years of age when he revealed after the convincing defeat of Roscommon that “the lads were slagging Kieran all week as being a 40-year-old virgin!”

McGrath has starred in big club matches where silverware was at stake but that didn’t eradicate the nerves of making his first senior championship start for Galway in Hyde Park.

“I got a lot of text messages and phone calls over the last couple of days and just as they’re coming in you do get a little bit nervous. People would say to you ‘it’s just another game, you’ve been there before’ but I think lining out for your county on your first day at senior level is a nerve wracking experience no matter what age you are. But it’s a great feeling and it’s a feeling that will live long in the memory for me, thank God,” McGrath told Tribune Sport after the game.

McGrath can be entitled to feel pleased with his display. Galway started with two debutants in the full-back line, McGrath and Ballinasloe’s Keith Kelly, alongside experienced captain Finian Hanley, and it would have been identified by the Roscommon management as an area of potential weakness.

Apart from a couple of hairy moments under the high ball, the full-backs were solid – Roscommon’s full-forward line of Donie Shine, Senan Kilbride and Darren McDermott registered just one point between them from play, which speaks volumes.

Remarkably McGrath scored more than the man he was marking for most of the match, McDermott, who failed to score at all, as the tenacious corner-back got in on the scoring act with Galway’s fourteenth point of the day minutes from the final whistle.

A good start to his senior county career? “It’s nice to get out there and play for your county. It’s something I always wanted to do, no different than any other young lad, it just happened it came later in life for me. I was happy with the way today went for me but I’d be happier with the team’s overall performance. I think up front we worked very hard, we took our scores well. There were no individual scores – everybody chipped in and gave the ball to the better man in the better position and we got the scores,” he said.

For more of this interview see 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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