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Multiple record holder sets his sights on Rio in 2016



Date Published: 17-Jan-2013

THE cream of the county’s sporting talent will come together this Saturday evening when the 2012 Galway Sports Stars – sponsored by Supermac’s – are honoured in the Ardilaun Hotel. Among those to collect a gong will be Maree swimmer Cian Duffy, who, incredibly, has notched up 40 or so records to his name.

Duffy (18) really did have a remarkable year in 2012, winning six national titles, including the 100m and 200m Individual Medley events at the Irish Short Course Championships in Lisburn and four gold medals – 100m Butterfly, 200m Butterfly, 400m IM and 4x200m Freestyle relay with the Galway team – at the National Youth/Senior Open Championship at the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin.

In addition, Duffy was selected to represent Ireland at the European Junior Championships in Belgium in July before he made his senior debut with Team Ireland at the European Short Course Championships at Chartres in November.

There, he set an Irish junior record in the 200m Individual Medley at the European Short Course Championships while also posting another in the 4x50m relay (medley and freestyle) with fellow Galway swimmer David O’Sullivan, among others, at the international showpiece.

Indeed, there were few events that Duffy did not set a record of some sort or another – be it Connacht or national, junior or senior. In all, he has over 40, but as he says himself all of his Irish records are also provincial records. “So, there is some duplication there,” says the Maree teenager. “There is also junior and senior and long course and short course. It sounds great but it is really only about 10 [records].”

Certainly, Duffy has come a long way since his early days as a toddler splashing around the pools of Kilcornan (Clarinbridge) and Leisureland, where he joined up with Galway Swimming Club. Along with swimming, he did try his hand at most other sports – rugby, hurling, Gaelic football and soccer – but he hadn’t the hand-eye coordination. “Swimming just worked for me,” he adds.

Still, even at eight years of age, he was “a little late” moving from the teaching to competitive pool sessions and, indeed, he says he was a “decidedly average” competitive swimmer until he was 14. “I was quite small up to then – when I was in first year (at school), I was about 5ft2 – but then I got a bit of a growth spurt,” says the now six-footer.

“So, I was halfway through second year before I got anywhere for the first time really. I randomly came second at the Irish schools (competition), in an event which was not even a good one for me. I had been with Pearse McGuigan (Galway SC & Swim Ireland Connacht Performance Coach) though for two years at that stage.”

No doubt, McGuigan has had a major impact on swimming locally, not only in nurturing Duffy’s talents, but also those of fellow swimmer and previous Galway Sports Star, O’Sullivan. “Pearse is great. Most of the stuff he does is nowhere near his job description. He goes above and beyond what is asked of him and what is expected of him.”

In any event, that placed finish in the 100m freestyle, which earned him a spot on the Irish Schools team to compete in Wales, was the catalyst for his sporting career – even if Duffy did not realise it yet. For the next two years, he tinkered with his swimming, fell out and back in love with sport and, generally, was your average teenager.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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