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Nolan says little to choose between sides



Date Published: {J}


It takes O’Loughlin Gaels manager, Michael Nolan time to warm up to the phone call from the West. Throughout, he is careful in his choice of words and offers only fleeting glimpses of the inside story. He keeps his fervour for the battle ahead caged like a wild animal, although, briefly, you can hear the beast roar vociferously underneath the tarp.

So, in the opening exchanges of this ‘game’, we fence like Olympians around the topic of today’s All-Ireland club senior hurling clash against Clarinbridge.

“Any injury worries Michael?”

“No injuries,” responds Nolan.

I write that down. “I suppose, Michael, a face-off between the Galway and Kilkenny champions, no doubt, a very attractive final?” True, it’s not the most probing question in the world, but it might help to break the ice.

“Sure, it is. I suppose, everyone is looking forward to it, but Clarinbridge will be hot favourites, won’t they?” ponders the O’Loughlin Gaels manager.

Again, I picture a wry smile at the other end of the line and we both laugh nervously. We dance around the ring once more, but by now, the punches are flighty and the shadows are simply lying lazily against the ropes.

“Michael, both counties have a great tradition in this competition, particularly in recent years. Does this add a bit more pressure on both clubs to follow suit?”

The Kilkenny man pauses, and considers. “Sure, it does, but both teams will be expecting a good tough match all the same. We are as ready for it as Clarinbridge are.”

I decide it’s time to land the first punch, hinting that having come through a testing provincial campaign, where they had to overcome Ballyboden St Enda’s and Oulart-the-Ballagh in the Leinster semi-final and final respectively, O’Loughlin Gaels may well be better positioned to challenge for honours in the St Patrick’s Day encounter.

All of a sudden, the shadows spring to life and the verbal bout begins in earnest.

“I suppose, we are battle-hardened,” concedes Nolan, “but so are Clarinbridge coming out of Galway. The way I would see it is that Loughrea beat Portumna, after a replay, and Clarinbridge beat Loughrea after a replay, and that is nothing simple either.”

Again, Nolan tries to switch the emphasis onto Clarinbridge, but we are here to talk about the Kilkenny champions and so the manager is asked for an honest assessment of his charges. To his credit, he gives it.

“We are a fine balanced team. We wouldn’t have any weak links or anything, but, then again, it is on the day, isn’t it?”

There is another long pause, before Nolan is pressed on. “There are a few of them around the 20 (years of age) mark and four or five more are around the 23 or 24 mark. Then we have Brian Hogan and Martin Comerford, both of whom, I suppose, would be the senior citizens of the team. They have all come up through the underage structure. A few of them would have won minors five or six years ago. So, a few of them have come off that team.”

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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