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No shame for Galway

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 01-Oct-2012

Dara Bradley

GALWAY’S hopes of claiming a first All-Ireland senior hurling title in 24 years were crushed by Kilkenny in Sunday’s replayed final as the Cats claimed the Liam McCarthy Cup for the ninth time in 13 championship seasons.

There was no shame for the Tribesmen in the 3-11 to 3-22 defeat: This is the greatest Kilkenny team ever to emerge from Ireland’s greatest hurling county. And boy did they prove that greatness once again with an awesome intensity and insatiable hunger – how, after so much success and so many seasons on the road, do they still have a hunger as if they’ve never won anything? – that just blew the Galway challenge asunder.

“I suppose it’s some consolation to be the second best team in Ireland and to be the second best to this super team. We’ll stay knocking at the door. We beat them in the Leinster final this year but we want to beat them in the All-Ireland next year and that will be our aim,” said Galway manager, Anthony Cunningham afterwards, as he vowed: ‘We’ll be back’.

The maroon and white contingent in the crowd of 82,274 at Croke Park can lament a five minutes period in the second-half when the Galway challenge went pear-shaped: Cyril Donnellan’s goal being disallowed after referee James McGrath had blown too soon for a free-in; Joe Canning’s goal-bound shot rebounding off the woodwork; and Donnellan, Galway’s best player up to that point, receiving his marching orders for an off-the-ball incident with JJ Delaney in the 13th minute of the second half.

It’s a fair amount of misfortune to take and really, when they were reduced to 14-men, there was no way back; four points down and over 20 minutes still to play, Galway’s dream was effectively over.

Despite that bizarre regret-filled five minutes, the harsh reality was that Galway were second best over the 70 minutes – they were out-hurled, outworked and couldn’t match the fierce intensity of Kilkenny. Not one of the Galway players could honestly say that they came out on top in their individual duals.

And the statistics don’t lie either. Galway’s first point from play, from midfielder Andy Smith, came three minutes after the restart; Canning was the only forward to score a point from play and that white flag came in injury-time when the contest was over. Only two of Galway’s starting forwards scored.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy



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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



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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