Date Published: 08-Dec-2009
CONNACHT’S away record remains a barren landscape after yet another game slipped away thanks to poor defending and a lack of a cutting edge in attack at Cardiff on Sunday. While the scoreline is a vast improvement on previous visits to the Welsh capital, there is plenty to ponder for all involved ahead of next week’s visit to Worcester.
The main focus in the Connacht camp at the moment will be on the Amlin Challenge Cup which resumes next Saturday. Winning the group gets the men in green a place in the last eight, a home quarter final though will be the target, so five wins from six plus a handful of bonus points is needed in that regard.
Next week’s trip to England is not a must win but a bonus point will be well within Connacht’s range if they can sort out some of the basic one on one missed tackles which have plagued them all season.
Cardiff won this game in a ten minutes spell just before half time as winger Tom James ran in two tries which were both converted by Ben Blair to turn the contest entirely in the home side’s favour with the lead at 18-3. The nature of the defending added insult to injury.
In the past, Connacht have regularly capitulated after half time in such a scenario, so the fact that they didn’t here will be some solace to the squad this week. Not much though, as Connacht had more than enough possession and territory to register at least one try throughout this contest but didn’t. So not even a losing bonus point was rescued.
If at least one win can be secured in the next two weeks then all will be forgotten here. Progress in Europe and a home quarter final will do more than merely lift spirits in western rugby circles, it will represent progress, so all is not lost, but after this defeat Connacht slipped further adrift at the bottom of the Magners League.
Cardiff led 6-3 after a half hour. Two Blair penalties gave them the edge, Ian Keatley had one in reply for the visitors, but he missed a very kickable drop goal and a penalty in that first half.
James struck for the first try on 32 minutes, cutting through the poor cover to score a far too easy seven pointer. Tom Shanklin’s hard work set up try number two for James. Again, the missed tackles were key.
Connacht, however, dug deep after the break and Keatley landed a penalty when the Blues were penalised at a scrum, but missed another from a wider angle.
At that stage Michael Swift had been introduced at half time for Johnny O’Connor as he equalled Eric Elwood’s record of 161 caps for his province. Ray Ofisa was also called into the action for Mike McComish as the Connacht management made adjustments.
The Blues spurned a kickable penalty on their first visit second-half visit to Connacht territory, but over complicated in mid-field and were soon back on their own 22. Keatley narrowed the gap further with another three-pointer, but when Blair sent a long distance kick over via a post the visitors’ hopes of recovery were gone.
New signing George Nauopu will most likely be in contention for selection next week while Troy Nathan, Keith Matthews and possibly even Jamie Hagen should all be back from injury as well. A healthy squad is a must for a busy period over Christmas. A major improvement on the park is needed as well.
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
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
Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013
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.