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O’Connell shines as James’ boys win final replay

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 21-Oct-2009

St. James’ 0-16
Micheál Breathnach 0-9
ST. James’ powered their way to a third West Board Minor A title in four years on Saturday in Pearse Stadium, overcoming a gallant Micheál Breathnach side in a replay which, although not hitting the dramatic heights of the first encounter, still provided compelling viewing for those in attendance.
While the drawn game provided six goals and lead changes aplenty, this time around St. James’ had learnt their lesson and adapted accordingly. Two personnel and eight positional changes were evident from the start and one of the new faces, ‘keeper Nigel Walsh, had a favourable impact on the course of the game.
With only two minutes remaining and St. James’ three points to the good, Breathnachs, who had battled back impressively from a deficit of six, were desperate for a goal and carved out a glorious chance for Eanna Griallais which looked set to provide such a score. Walsh had other ideas, though, diving to his right to repel the shot, and from there the winners never looked back, breaking the Inverin side’s stubborn resistance with a flurry of scores.
Ronan O’Connell, captain and one of five on the team who were part of the 2007 winning side, was influential throughout and part of a two-man full forward line alongside Philip Ryan which accounted for ten of St. James’ scores. Shane Coughlan, named in the forward line, also fulfilled a vital role as a sweeper between the half and full back lines.
Most importantly, though, St. James’ re-crafted midfield partnership of Johnny Duane and Mike Elwood curbed the influence of Fiontáin Ó Curraoin and Diarmuid Ó Feinneadha which had been such a key factor in Micheál Breathnachs’ success in the first encounter. Duane also provided accuracy from long distance, kicking three vital frees, all from at least 45 metres out.
Duane’s first score came from play, though, on five minutes when O’Connell, who had opened the scoring with a free, spotted him in space and took a short free. Sean Glynn quickly added another for James’ after good work from Aaron Connolly before Micheál Breathnach’s Fiach Ó Bearra curled over a fantastic point in reply.
Breathnachs then had a let off when O’Connell got clear but was denied by a good save from Caoimhín Ó Conghaile, only for the ball to ricochet off Éanna Ó Conghaile and onto the post. Luckily for them, Diarmuid Ó Maoileoin was on hand to clear the danger.
Peadar Óg Ó Griofa finally got his hands on the ball in the 15th minute and scored a delighful point off his left foot and while Éanna Ó Conghaile did draw the sides level, the Breathnachs forwards were being drip-fed possession due to St. James’ competitiveness in midfield and Coughlan’s mastery of the sweeper role.
St. James’, though, needed to turn their superiority into scores and they did so in the final seven minutes of the half through Duane (two frees), O’Connell, and the impressive Ryan. O’Connell could also have added a goal in the 25th minute, but was again denied by a smart save from Ó Conghaile and the city side went in with a 0-7 to 0-3 advantage.
Ciaran Breathnach performed the required surgery on his troops at half time, aware that changes were needed to stem the St. James’ dominance. Fiach Ó Bearra, who was being tigerishly marked by Michael Fahy, was moved back to midfield, Ó Griofa came out to the ’40, while Fiontáin Ó Curraoin went to full forward.
The changes took ten minutes to really take effect, by which stage St. James’ had increased their lead to six thanks to two points from Ryan and another from O’Connell. Ó Griofa replied with a free, but the first real sign of improvement came when Micky O Conaire finished off a flowing move involving Ó Feinneadha, Ó Maoileoin, and Tomas Ó Conghaile.
Three quick points in succession from the 44th minute by Ó Griofa (two) and Iaos Howlen narrowed the gap further as Fiach Ó Bearra began to get a grip on the game. Crucially, though, Duane steadied the nerves for James’ when he drilled over a 50th minute free. Ó Griofa calmly pointed another free but James’ answered with a good score from O’Connell after fine work by the livewire Lee Vahey.
The tension increased as Breathnachs pressed, but once Walsh had come to the rescue to deny Eanna Griallais, the winners’ calmly worked the ball downfield and engineered a free which O’Connell converted to stretch the lead to four. As the seconds ticked away, St. James’ quashed any thoughts of further drama by adding three points from Ryan, Sean Glynn, and fittingly the captain had the last word as O’Connell nonchalantly swung over the final score of the contest.
Never led, St. James’ just had that little bit extra on the day. Adam Lee, Michael Fahy, Shane Coughlan, and Andrew Burke defended stoutly; Mike Elwood and Johnny Duane got through a mountain of work in midfield, while Ronan O’Connell, Philip Ryan, Sean Glynn, and Lee Vahey produced the goods in attack. These standards, though, will have to be maintained, and maybe exceeded, when they meet Corofin in the county final.
Best for a Micheál Breathnach side littered with talented footballers were Colm Ó Cuív, Diarmuid Ó Maoileoin, Tomas Ó Conghaile, Fiach Ó Bearra, and their top scorer Peadar Óg Ó Griofa.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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

Ruby ready to rock again and Bob is worth a big flutter in Gold Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 06-Mar-2013

New edge to Galway hurling championship title pursuit

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A battle of talent and the ability to pull in public votes

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 11-Mar-2013

Here is a question. And there is no holiday or grand prize for getting the answer. But can anyone name the people who have won The Voice of Ireland and what has become of them?

Over across the water in the UK they have The X Factor and while I hate the concept of it, it has produced a few stars even though they don’t last long in the whole scheme of things.

But The Voice of Ireland seems to generate false excitement with the winner ending up become more anonymous than they already were. And it is costing families a fortune in the process.

While the programme is a ratings winner, strangely, it has resulted in those getting through to the final stages investing huge amounts of money in the hope that they will receive enough votes to get through to the next stages.

So, suddenly, it is not about the voice or the talent involved, it is all about votes and who the participants can convince to pledge their support for them. So it is obvious that talent goes out the window.

It means that someone with half a talent could realistically win the whole thing if they generated enough support behind them. From now on, the judges will be taken out of the equation and it will be left to the public to generate income for some phone operator.

Those who get through to the live performances have to engage in a massive publicity campaign in an effort to win votes which makes this whole effort a pure sham. It is no longer about their ability and just an effort to win appeal.

While the initial process does involve some vetting of the acts, now it becomes a general election type exercise in which the most popular will win the competition and the judges will have no say whatsoever.

It is a bit like the recent Eurosong in which the judging panel across the country voted for their favourite song, which incidentally was the best of a very bad lot, but then this was overturned by the public who chose a relatively crap song to represent us.

But again, this was all down to convincing the public about who to vote for rather than having any bearing on the quality on offer. There are times that genuine talent becomes overlooked because of the need to extract money from the voting public.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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