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No class system operates in SylviaÕs judo world



Date Published: {J}

IF anybody had told Rosshill resident Sylvia O’Flynn a decade ago that she would, one day, be to the forefront of a national martial arts association, she would have laughed herself silly all the way back to her native Cork.

Yet, today, O’Flynn stands as Chairperson of Judo Ireland, an organisation which caters for 19 clubs throughout the country, many of which are based in the West of Ireland. She points out her organisation is a separate entity to the Irish Judo Association – which boasts of 46 clubs nationally – after a split over funding occurred some years ago.

“They (Judo Ireland) felt the funding was staying at the top, with the elite (competitors), rather than filter down to individuals or clubs,” explains the Judo Ireland Chairperson.

In any event, O’Flynn does not wish to dwell on the negatives and, instead, focuses on the positives of an association that is doing a lot of work to promote sport among young people, both locally and nationally.

For O’Flynn’s part, she got involved in the sport when local instructor John Creaven, founder of Galway Judo Club, established Renmore Rapid Judo Club approximately six years ago. “My middle son (Liam) had some co-ordination difficulties, so I said I would send him there for a few weeks,” she says. “When I was there, John said ‘you might do a bit of the paperwork’. And that’s what led me into it.

“I hadn’t the slightest idea (about Judo). I knew it was a martial art but it could have been karate and I wouldn’t have known the difference. Now I do. I could tell you the moves and everything. That was six years ago last month. So, John started it and we, the parents, took it over.”

O’Flynn’s administrative role in Renmore Rapid Judo Club, which just recently won the John Allen Trophy for Club of the Year at the Judo Ireland All-Ireland Championships, led her to get involved at a higher level. She was subsequently recognised for the diligent work she had been carrying out locally when elected Chairperson of the national organisation last October.

That said, for her, the club and its members continue to be her utmost priority. “We have about 60 members in Renmore; they range from five up to 16, male and female. It is about half and half, believe it or not.

“The main classes are (in Renmore Sports Complex) on Thursdays from 7pm to 8pm, and they are the beginners. Then, from 8pm to 9pm is the more advanced. The more advanced also go on Tuesdays again, from 7pm to 8pm, for an extra class.”

She says every week someone new joins. “We have a few kids who after two or three weeks will really have the hang of it and we move them onto the advanced class. The smaller, younger ones, though, we try to keep them together, even if they show a lot of potential.

Because they are very young and, physically, they are too small.”

O’Flynn runs the club with the help of many parents, including Finola Croke, who, coincidentally, is Secretary of Judo Ireland. “We have a fantastic set of parents in Renmore,” says the mother-of-three. “They really are brilliant.

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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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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