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More misery for Wexford hurling as Oulart self-destruct



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



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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