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Mervue United and GUST in talks on possible League of Ireland alliance

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

Keith Kelly

FRANTIC behind-the-scenes negotiations – believed to have involved top FAI officials, including CEO John Delaney – were held in the city this week in a bid to tackle the crisis facing League of Ireland soccer in Galway, less than two months before the start of the 2012 season.

With Galway United having withdrawn from the League for the coming season, and the licence application by the Galway United Supporters Trust doomed to failure, there was the real possibility that while Mervue United and Salthill Devon would play in the league, there would be no Galway representative side playing in the domestic league.

In a bid to address that, the FAI is believed to have asked Salthill Devon, Mervue United and GUST to consider an alliance where they would field one side in the league this year, but that proposal was ruled out as a non-runner by at least one of the three parties.

The GUST held meetings with the FAI two weeks ago, and again this week, where it was told its licence application would not be successful, and while Galway United is still technically in existence and on ‘sabbatical’ for the year, that effectively marks the end of a club which has played 35 seasons in the league.

However in a bid to retain for the league the one asset it has which neither of the two junior clubs can boast of – a large fan-base – it is understood that both Mervue and Devon have put proposals on the table to bring the GUST on board for the coming season.

Both clubs, and the Galway United Supporters Trust, remained tight-lipped throughout yesterday on the events of the previous 48 hours, but Tribune Sport understands that the meetings held this week were facilitated by the FAI in a bid to tackle the headache which was of its own making – having three teams from Galway City playing League of Ireland football.

The FAI met with officials from both Salthill Devon and the GUST in the Ardilaun Hotel in the city on Tuesday, but while an offer was put on the table by Devon, talks are believed to have broken down over a number of matters.

Tribune Sport understands that proposal involved Devon playing in Terryland Park in 2012 under the name SD Galway FC – the thinking behind the name is along the lines of the likes of Paris Saint Germain, better known as PSG, the French club based in Paris which was formed in 1970 after a merger between Paris FC and Stade Saint-Germain, and represents both the French capital and the suburb of Saint-Germain-en-Lave 12 miles away.

The members of GUST were invited to form a sub-committee in relation to the team, but that the team would be run by Salthill Devon, form part of the broader Salthill Devon club, and would not be established as a separate legal entity.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

images/files/images/x3_Courthouse.jpg

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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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