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Mervue United a good bet to retain title but Corrib Rangers will push them close



Date Published: 21-Aug-2012

Sixteen weeks have elapsed since Mervue United clinched a second successive Premier Division title and on Sunday next, they kick off a new campaign as they chase a hat-trick of Brod Trill titles.

It will be a familiar road for the majority of Gary O’Connor’s charges as a seasoned local squad will remain the team to beat.

The players will be listening to a fresh voice as the long serving Paugie Kilgannon has stepped down, but Gary O’Connor is an able replacement and is no stranger to management – he was alongside Ollie Neary as they led the club to a League, Connacht Cup and Michael Byrne treble back in 1995. Ger McGrath will be his assistant as he too brings a long playing career to somewhat of a conclusion.


Paul Sinnott, Eric Browne, Adam Lee and Dean McDonagh are additions to an already packed squad, so a huge problem for a lot of the players will be getting game time.

In recent seasons Hibernians, Athenry and St Bernard’s have competed competitively at the top end of the table, but based on preseason activity, it is difficult to know if they can maintain their positions.

The Bohermore outfit were just pipped by a point for title honours last season, but after appointing Kevin Cassidy as manager back in May, they suffered a setback when he resigned a few weeks ago.

Last week’s appointment of another long serving club member, Derek O’Loughlin, will bring a bit of stability to a side that have retained the services of seasoned campaigners like Brian Crowe, Brian Griffin and Keith Ward.

As ever the club’s youth side will continue to provide a rich supply of talent and no doubt Dave Mooney and Stephen Killeen will add to the ability of a team that includes Liam Hreherow and Cathal Walsh.

Dave Devlin, Philip Ryan, Conor Cleary and Stephen Gilmore are newcomers that will add a bit of experience to what is a relatively young squad.

Emigration continues to be a blight on Athenry challenge and Packie Byrne, David Carroll and John Grealish are players who have already departed or intend to do so shortly and they just add to the difficulties of Gabriel Glavin’s small squad.

As ever a number of his players are involved in the latter stages of the GAA football and hurling championship and therefore the participation of Alan O’Donovan, Gary Delaney, Seamie Crowe and Benny Lawless could be on hold for a spell.

On the plus side, goalkeeper Kieran Kilkelly and Paddy Quinn are available again, while Glavin was keeping his cards close to his chest as he confirmed the prospects of a few fresh faces joining his squad.


For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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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