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Mountbellew men hit the jackpot in reaching decider

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Date Published: 17-Sep-2009

TWENTY three years of drought can understandably create an insatiable thirst and this was evident in Mountbellew/Moylough’s demolition of a fancied Caltra side in an intense county semi-final battle at Tuam Stadium on Sunday.
Their nine point victory was both unexpected and deserved as Mountbellew set out their stall from an early stage with their appetite and hunger for success . . . and they were not long in making Caltra aware of their physical presence either.
The 2004 All-Ireland club champions only once held the lead for a three minute spell during the opening period and they could only look on as their neighbours and rivals took absolute control of the second half.
In fact, Caltra never looked comfortable in this match, a scenario mainly due to Mountbellew’s eagerness to contest every ball with a large degree of enthusiasm – they descended in numbers for each duel.
But it was goals which ultimately proved decisive for Mountbellew and the crucial one came 13 minutes into the second half from the industrious Sean Sweeney which came as a result of a quick free from Cathal Kenny, who was another one of their star players.
That score put six points between the sides and the game was all, but over at that stage as Caltra were largely relying on Michael Meehan to produce the goods up front – there were occasions when he was double marked and yet still contributed 1-6.
Trouble is that Meehan was only one of three players who scored for Caltra – Matthew Killilea and Declan Meehan being the other two and their contribution was a point apiece.
Their over dependence on Meehan was also their undoing as no other forward took on the responsibility of punishing Mountbellew for allocating additional resources in trying to curtail the county full forward.
While Meehan contributed handsomely to Caltra’s tally, he had to endure something of a frustrating start to the game when he uncharacteristically missed three frees on the trot by pulling them well left of the target.
That chink in the armour probably proved inspirational for Mountbellew who got off to the perfect start with Joseph Meehan pointing a free and then, in the fourth minute, Stephen Boyle found the back of the net.
A Cathal Kenny through ball found Joe Bergin, who started the match at full forward. The county star stumbled but managed to lay it off to Boyle who made no mistake. It was the dream start.
Bergin’s move to full forward meant that Kenny started at midfield and it proved a productive move as far as Mountbellew were concerned as both players were integral parts of this famous victory.
Kenny was the dominant force around the middle of the field while Bergin was involved in several scores in the first half and then found the target on three occasions from play in the second half – albeit if he moved slightly further out from the goal.
Bergin along with Sean Sweeney were the star performers up front for Mountbellew – Sweeney kicked a goal and a point but put in a huge effort aside from this while David Neary’s performance was also worthy of note.
Caltra’s first score in the match came after 12 minutes from Matthew Killilea and this was followed by scores from Declan Meehan and Michael Meehan during a rare period of dominance.
This purple patch culminated in Michael Meehan brilliantly deflecting a Michael Kelly cross into the goal leaving Mountbellew goalkeeper Brian Donnellan with no chance of stopping it.
Several minutes earlier though, Donnellan came to Mountbellew’s rescue when he confronted an inrushing John Galvin, who had designs on a goal, and forced the Caltra wing forward to blaze wide.
The goal put Caltra into a one point lead but it was short lived as corner back Gary Sweeney pointed from play after a fine Joseph Meehan move. This was followed by a converted ’45 from David Neary after a poor Joe Bergin goal effort was forced out over the line by the Caltra goalie.
When Cathal Kenny pointed a free in the dying seconds of the first half, it put Mountbellew into a two point lead at the break, 1-5 to 1-3, but in reality they should have been in greater command of this match.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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

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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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