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No where to hide as senior hurling title race resumes



Date Published: 10-Oct-2012


AFTER a progressive Summer on the inter-county scene, the Salthill Hotel senior hurling championship resumes with some exciting quarter-final fixtures down for decision this weekend.

To the fore has to be the meeting of Loughrea and Mullagh at Duggan Park, Ballinasloe on Saturday (3pm). Aside from the fact that there is quality in both sides, this will be the first championship meeting between them since their controversial semi-final joust in 2009.

On that occasion, Mullagh lost by a point after referee Christy Helebert adjudged that full-back Alan Gaynor had thrown the ball as he broke his way out of defence. Ironically, many spectators felt he had been fouled as he gathered possession and was entitled to a free out.

The fall-out in the aftermath of that game – Helebert was subsequently abused and accosted after the final whistle – caused untold acrimony in local GAA circles and against such a backdrop, the two sides will meet again this Saturday.

In any event, Mullagh will be hoping to shed their ‘bridesmaid’ tag having qualified for the knockout stages seven times – with the exception of 2008 when they found themselves in relegation – since 2005.

Of their previous six quarter-final appearances, they have won just two and, to add further intrigue to their impending quarter-final showdown with Loughrea, it was the Town who defeated them in both of those semi-finals.

In the other quarter-final at Duggan Park on Saturday, holders Gort will be favoured to edge beyond Padraig Pearses, who really should have accounted for the county champions when they met in the group stages earlier in the campaign.

Elsewhere, City outfit Castlegar have a difficult assignment against a star-studded St. Thomas’ side when they meet at Kenny Park, Athenry on Sunday (3pm). This is the curtain-raiser to the Portumna and Turloughmore clash at 4:30pm and this, potentially, should also be a rousing affair.

There is also action in the intermediate hurling championship as Kilconieron and Killimordaly meet in the first of two quarter-finals in Loughrea on Sunday (12noon). 2011 intermediate league champions Rahoon/Newcastle clash with Killimor in the other equally attractive quarter-final fixture at the same venue at 1:30pm.


Loughrea v Mullagh

(Duggan Park, Ballinasloe) 3pm

Although Loughrea full-back Damien McClearn has been nursing a back injury – an ailment which sidelined him earlier in the Summer – manager Eamonn Kelly is hopeful of having a full complement of players for this mouth-watering showdown.

So far in the championship, Loughrea have been impressive, recording victories over Athenry in the opening round and Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry and Athenry, again, in the group stages. They drew with St. Thomas’ in their final group game.

To the fore, as always, have been Johnny Maher, Johnny Coen and Johnny O’Loughlin, with Maher – who has tallied 2-24 to date – causing opposition defences all sorts of problems with his physical presence.

As for Mullagh, they well and truly put their opening round defeat to Craughwell behind them when accounting for Clarinbridge in their subsequent outing before coming through an extremely tough group which included Turloughmore, Sarsfields and Beagh.

One of the reasons for this has been the form of such players like Niall Cahalan, Finian Coone, David Glennon, Conor Dervan and Donal Reilly, all of whom have posted credible championship totals to date, and this form was further underlined when Mullagh claimed the prestigious Kilmacud Crokes Sevens title last month.

Mullagh boss Paul Finnerty, who says their controversial 2010 semi-final defeat to Loughrea has been put well and truly behind them, has injury worries over Derek Hardiman (hamstring) and Reilly (AC joint) but he can welcome back Alan Whyte after he recovered from a serious knee injury that threatened to keep him out for the year.

This, for many, is the game of the weekend and is extremely close to call. Loughrea, though, get a hesitant vote. Verdict: Loughrea.

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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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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