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NUIG hurlers are bang on time to end 30-year wait



Date Published: {J}

NUI Galway 1-17

Waterford IT 1-16

(After extra-time)

Stephen Glennon

Unbelievable. That’s the only word to describe NUI Galway’s rollercoaster Fitzgibbon Cup journey, which climaxed with a surreal extra-time victory over Waterford IT in the Fitzgibbon Cup final at Pearse Stadium on Saturday.

No doubt, NUIG claimed their first Fitzgibbon title in 30 years the hard way. So many times in this competition, they had trailed opponents by varying margins, but, with all the courage of soldiers on the battlefield, they bounced back to inflict the most succinct of cuts before securing a deserved result.

Consequently, they were the only team to go through the 2010 Fitzgibbon Cup unbeaten. As it should be for any champions.

Against WIT, though, the Galway students lived precariously, taunting defeat. With 38 minutes gone, they chased a nine-point deficit, 1-11 to 0-5, and to everyone, bar the NUIG collective, it appeared yet another Fitzgibbon heartbreak was well and truly to be their lot.

Then something godly happened. A transformation of sorts. Chances that previously wilted and died suddenly blossomed in the bright surrounds of a sun-drenched Pearse Stadium. Captain Finian Coone led the way by converting a free on 41 minutes, before less than 60 seconds later, Tipperary’s Shane Quinlan seized possession and offloaded to Clare’s Caimin Morey, who netted a life-resuscitating goal.

All of a sudden, the mother and father of all comebacks was underway. On the resulting puck-out, NUIG countered again with Coone clipping over a fine score. Further points from the outstanding Seamus Hennessy and Clare’s John Conlon cut the deficit further, before a sweeping move involving Tommie Larkins Gerry Kelly and Quinlan set up Coone for a point on the stroke of full-time.

With the margin down to just one, 1-11 to 1-10, the clock was now NUIG’s enemy. However, they didn’t panic and in the second minute of time added on, Hennessy – pushed forward for such a purpose – swivelled expertly to land the equalising score, just as he had done against LIT in the semi-final the day previous. Now it was up for grabs.

Although NUIG were facing into their second helping of extra-time in as many days, the Galway students were reinvigorated. Just 30 seconds into the first period, Clarinbridge’s Barry Daly shot NUIG into the lead for the first time in the afternoon, before Coone and Hennessy, both frees, added further efforts.

For WIT’s part, their lead marksman Timmy Hammersley kept their fires burning brightly with fine points on 62 and 67 minutes.

Amazingly, his 62nd minute effort was WIT’s first score in 26 minutes of open play. Still, unperturbed, the Munster college pushed on and in the early stages of the second period of extra-time they regained the lead once again with points from Hammersley and substitute Henry Vaughan.

Coone equalised with a free, before Hammersley and NUIG substitute James O’Gorman traded scores on 67 and 70 minutes.

It looked as if the only thing that would separate these two battling outfits at this stage would be the crossbar challenge.

As noted, though, courage was not lacking in Vincent Mullins’ charges. One minute into time added on, Coone and substitutes JP O’Connell and Quinlan combined to furnish Conlon with possession. The Clare man’s effort was clinical and for the first time in 30 years, the Fitzgibbon Cup was coming back to Galway.

The unbridled, jubilant scenes that followed were simply glorious.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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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