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National success for Portumna GC



Date Published: {J}

Declan Tierney

There were scenes of unbridled joy when Portumna Golf Club bridged a 24 year gap by becoming the first Galway team in that period to take home the All-Ireland Junior Cup title in convincing fashion in the end.

While their victory over Naas Golf Club was by a three matches to two margin, none of the of the matches they won passed the 16th hole at Castlebar Golf Club where the All-Ireland Cups and Shields were held.

And when Pat Quinlan rolled in the final putt on the 16th green, it was greeted with loud cheers from the many travelling Portumna fans as they celebrated their first ever All-Ireland victory at this level.

It follows hot on the heels of the All-Ireland mixed title the club won last year and while that was a major achievement in itself, this Junior Cup victory ranks as particularly special.

It was also particularly sweet and deserving for team captain Matt Donohue, who has been a stalwart for the club down through the years, and there were occasions during the closing stages that he could scarcely believe what was happening.

Portumna now become the first Galway club to win the Junior Cup since 1986 when Galway GC were the champions, but the foundation of this victory was probably laid in the semi-finals when they came up against favourites Banbridge from County Down.

The standard of golf that Portumna played was exceptional as all of their three wins were executed in the closing stages with John Cleary, his son Sean, and Shane Ryan winning their matches in what was the closest of contests all through.

“That was a huge victory for us,” remarked Donohue. “The standard of golf in those matches was some of the best I have seen and it came down to the final few holes in each match.”

The team did not have much time to relish this success as their attention soon turned to the All-Ireland final the following day where they came up against Naas, who had an equally hard fought battle with East Cork in their semi-final.

But the omens were good from a Portumna perspective in the early stages when Sean Cleary romped into the lead and incredibly won eight of the first 10 holes and there was no catching him. He was pulled back to six up at the 12th but he went on to win the 13th and that was where the match ended as he won by a convincing 7&5 margin.

First out was Ger Lynch who also got off to a flying start and was four up after six holes before being hauled back to just one up in the early stages of the back nine. But Lynch is a determined player and it was not long before he bounced back to put daylight once again between him and his opponent.

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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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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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