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More misery for Wexford hurling as Oulart self-destruct

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

YOU couldn’t blame them if the Clarinbridge players and mentors were keen viewers of the delayed Leinster senior hurling club final at Dr. Cullen Park last Sunday. Sure, the Galway champions have still a big hurdle to clear themselves later this month before they can even start focussing on the All-Ireland decider, but they knew that either O’Loughlin Gaels or Oulart-the Ballagh will almost certainly be present in Croke Park on March 17.

It’s not that the Clarinbridge camp would be getting ahead of itself, but barring Antrim’s Loughgiel Shamrocks pulling off a shock of epic proportions in the other semi-final against the Leinster champions, Galway’s standard bearers would be fully entitled to keep an eye out for what might be potentially coming down the tracks.

It’s the natural curiosity factor even if their Micheal Donoghue led team management know that the only game in town right now is against De La Salle of Waterford in Thurles on Saturday fortnight.

Frankly, Clarinbridge will hardly have been left quaking in their boots by what unfolded in Dr. Cullen Park. Oulart-the-Ballagh may have been favourites to capture the Leinster crown and even the All-Ireland title, but such is the lack of belief in Wexford hurling these days that it was always likely that they would blink first in a tight match.

For long periods, Liam Dunne’s charges were living up to their billing, but some self-inflicted blows contributed to yet another miserable outcome for the Slaney country.

They had got the perfect start when Roby Jacob fastened onto a long delivery before shooting low into the O’Loughlin Gaels net and when Nicky Kirwan pointed a 21st minute free, Oulart led by 1-4 to 0-3 and were shaping as the more convincing outfit. Indeed, I have never seen so many left-handed hurlers on a team as the Kilkenny champions had last Sunday and though they didn’t look anything special, it still didn’t prevent them from closing the gap significantly approaching the break.

Points from Peter Dowling, Mark Bergin (free) and Niall McEvoy left them only one behind before Jacob spurned a glorious opportunity to send the Oulart men to the dressing rooms on a high. Incredibly, not alone did the Wexford county man fail to register a score, he didn’t even hit the target as his penalty effort was driven wide. That must have been demoralising for their hard-working squad in a match which though competitive was nothing out of the ordinary.

To Oulart’s credit, they regrouped well and with midfielder David Redmond firing over three excellent long range efforts, they had regained a four point lead by the 40th minute and were back in the driving seat. It was hard to see O’Loughlin Gaels pulling the game out of the fire at this stage, but typical of a Kilkenny team they gradually worked their way back into the contest with the move of a previously subdued Martin Comerford out the field helping to turn things around although Oulart also began shooting themselves in the foot.

Apart from errant free-taking, the dismissal of wing back Lar Prendergast on a straight card meant they were short-staffed when the Kilkenny men upped the ante in the final quarter. Over the last 20 minutes Oulart could only manage a solitary score, Kirwan’s 54th minute free, as O’Loughlin’s greater physicality and numerical advantage began to turn the game on its head. They finished with a flurry of points, including two from substitute Seamie Cummins, to emerge comfortable 0-14 to 1-8 winners in the end.

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

BallinasloeÕs young squad aiming to floor Armagh junior champs

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

A new chapter in the history of Ballinasloe football will be written at Breffni Park, Cavan, on Sunday when Sean Riddell’s young side take on Ulster champions An Port Mor of Armagh in the All-Ireland Junior semi-final (2pm).

It’s the first competitive game outside the province of Connacht in 33 years for Galway football’s ‘sleeping giant’ with the enticing prospect of an appearance at Croke Park on February 9 on offer for the winners of what should be a competitive tie.

Ballinasloe have romped through Connacht since overcoming a couple of tricky hurdles on their way to collecting the Galway junior title, which was their target for the campaign this time last year.

With a return to Intermediate football secured, Riddell’s youngsters really have nothing to lose – while their triumphant march to county and provincial titles has revived memories of the club’s glory days when they contested three Galway senior finals in a row between 1979 and ’81.

Intriguingly, the seniors of St Grellan’s never got to play in Croke Park when they reached the All-Ireland final back in 1980 – they lost by 3-9 to 0-8 to St Finbarr’s of Cork in Tipperary Town.

This team’s progression has provided rich rewards for an abundance of hard work at underage levels in the past ten to 15 years and the current side’s ‘do or die’ attitude was very much in evidence in the cliffhanger wins over Tuam and Clifden in the domestic championship.

 

They are a well-balanced side who really never know when they are beaten and have an inspirational leader in county panelist Keith Kelly, whose exploits at centre back have been among the key components in their dramatic run to reach the All-Ireland series.

Riddell, who recalls playing senior football with the club during their heyday, is determined to get Ballinasloe back among the county’s leading clubs but, for the moment, he is delighted just to have a shot at getting to Croke Park in a bid to emulate Clonbur’s achievement in winning the title outright last year.

Riddell went to Newry on a ‘spying mission’ to see the Armagh champions overcome Brackaville of Tyrone by 2-9 to 0-11 in November – and was impressed by the quality of the football produced by An Port Mor in the Ulster final.

“They are a nicely balanced side who play good football,” he said. “There was a bit of the physical stuff you’d expect from two Ulster side, but I was impressed by their performance.”

An Port Mor became the first Armagh side to win the provincial junior decider. First half goals from Shane Nugent and Christopher Lennon sent them on the road to victory, before a red card for Brackaville captain Cahir McGuinness eased their progress to the All-Ireland series.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Coalition promised an ocean of reform Ð but the wind has gone out of its sails

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 30-Jan-2013

CITY ENERGY COMPANY TO CREATE 12 NEW JOBS

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