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O’Regan saves the day for St. James minors

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Date Published: 18-Sep-2009

AN absorbing West Board Minor A Football Final ended in stalemate at Pearse Stadium on Wednesday evening when two evenly matched sides played out a see-saw encounter which was forced to a replay by St. James’ Eoghan O’Regan’s injury-time leveller.
O’Regan was one of St. James’ quieter forwards over the course of a vibrant, enthralling contest, but when the chips were down, he answered the call. With the last kick of the game, O’Regan ensured his colleagues got a second chance with a brave effort from the ’40 after an incredible Micheál Breathnach’s comeback had hoisted the Inverin side into their first lead of the game in the final minute.
Peadar Óg Ó Gríofa’s 60th minute goal looked to have booked Breathnach’s place in the County final with Corofin, capping a storming finale in which they scored 1-4 without reply, but when St. James’ drew level it was inevitable that the final whistle would swiftly follow despite the fact that at least another two minutes of injury time could have been played.
Three times St. James’ led by five points or more, but their opponents’ dogged refusal to buckle led to a wonderful exhibition of point-taking from a variety of angles and distances as stand-out performances from St. James’ Mike Elwood and Micheál Breathnach’s Fiach Ó Bearra emerged amid a host of fine displays on either side.
Elwood was involved in the game’s first score, a St. James’ goal, when he collected Shane Coughlan’s pass and quick hands saw Adam Lee and Lee Vahey also involved before Philip Ryan punched to the net. Vahey quickly added a point and then burst through to create the game’s second goal in the ninth minute as Caomhín Ó Conghaile saved his shot but Coughlan, roaming from the half back line, was on hand to poke home the rebound.
A free from Ó Gríofa and Diarmuid Ó Feinneadha’s point quickly quashed thoughts of a one-sided affair as the nimble-footed Fiach Ó Bearra orchestrated attacks from centre-half forward. His brother MacDara got forward to add their next score before Fiach picked out Ó Gríofa on the edge of the square and, after a quick sidestep, the net bulged to make it 2-2 to 1-3.
Unshaken, St. James’ went back on the front foot, despite Ó Feinneadha and Fiontáin Ó Curraoin dominating midfield for Breathnachs, and Elwood (2) and Ronan O’Connell (free) raised white flags to restore the five point gap by the 20th minute. But with the service to the forwards faltering and Colm Ó Cúiv belatedly offering resistance from full back, Micheál Breathnach’s edged back into the tie with the last four points of the half.
Micheál Ó Conaire and Ó Curraoin bagged the first two after heavy involvement from Ó Feinneadha, and the midfielder then got his second of the game before Ó Conaire left the minimum between the sides, a gap which dissolved when Ó Gríofa got the first score of the second half. Momentum shifted again when Killian Murphy denied Ó Curraoin a goal from close range and O’Connell got James’ first score in 16 minutes after a good pass from the under-utilised Philip Ryan.
Fiach Ó Bearra restored parity with a free, but St. James’ forged ahead once more when Aaron Connolly gathered a rare catch and fed Vahey, whose powerful run ended with a blistering shot which nestled in the top corner. Mike Elwood was by now drafted back to midfield to curb the ball-winning capabilities of the Breathnach’s duo, and the ploy worked for a time as O’Connell pointed from close range before calmly finding the net in the 46th minute after good work from Andrew Burke and Coughlan.
Surely the Micheál Breathnach’s resistance was now at an end, but Ciaran Breathnach has obviously instilled a never-say-die attitude in his squad as a fantastic score from Fiach Ó Bearra, after he and Ó Gríofa had both converted frees, left only a kick of the ball in it at 4-7 to 1-13. Cramp had already caused a long delay when St. James’ Cathal Walsh hit the deck and was eventually carted off, before Ó Bearra suffered similarly with five minutes left.
When the action resumed, Iaos Howlin was next to score for Breathnachs before Ó Gríofa’s marvellous goal had the Inverin natives in the stand in full voice. Eoghan O’Regan’s timely intervention, though, creates a headache for fixture makers as St. James’ also have Junior B and Intermediate finals to contend with over the next fortnight. Here’s hoping, though, that the second instalment of this final can live up to the high standards of this clash.
It is slightly unfair to pick out players from either side for praise when all 33 involved combined to provide such a spectacle, but Johnny Duane’s tussle with Peadar Óg Ó Gríofa on the edge of the square, in which both players excelled at various stages, was a highlight. The tireless Lee Vahey, Ronan O’Connell and Mike Elwood all shone for St. James’, as did Micheál Breathnach’s Diarmuid Ó Feinneadha, Fiontáin Ó Curraoin, and Fiach Ó Bearra.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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

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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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