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Old foes meet in opener



Date Published: {J}

There’s only a rumour of Spring being in the air but already Galway and Mayo are shaping up for another ‘old firm’ clash in the first round of the National League at McHale Park, Castlebar on Sunday (2.30pm).

A planning wrangle on the revamped Mayo venue has scuppered the home county’s plans for a Saturday evening gala opening of the ground under the big lights, but the Sunday afternoon fixture will still draw a big crowd.

The appointment of Joe Kernan as Galway manager last Summer has put a bit of jazz in the early season expectations of the maroon supporters – however next Sunday, John O’Mahony’s Mayo will supply an early acid test.

Both teams have been beavering away busily in January and have qualified for the final of the FBD league – however it’s not much of a guide to form, with often over a half-score of regulars missing from action.

The call of the third level colleges on inter-county players, and injuries, has meant that neither manager has come near a first choice selection – a lot of names will go through the sieve over the next day or so, when the big calls have to be made.

Galway will take the biggest hit in terms of players being unavailable for selection, primarily due to Corofin’s involvement in the All-Ireland club series with at least half a dozen ‘possibles’ stroked out straight away.

Padraig Joyce won’t be back for another couple of weeks either as he recovers from an ankle injury while Michael Meehan is a doubtful starter with hamstring trouble. There is also a doubt over giant midfielder, Barry Cullinane, due to a knee problem.

It’s not all bad news for Galway though with the third level colleges’ contingent again available for selection after their FBD sojourns.

Paul Conroy impressed for GMIT last Sunday against Galway; Sean Armstrong was in sharp scoring form for NUI Galway against a Sligo IT side that had Adrian Faherty keeping a clean sheet between the posts. Galway selector Seán Ó Domhnaill said yesterday that despite the enforced absentees, this was a game everyone in the camp was looking forward to.

“We really have had a great response to training since Joe Kernan took over, right through from the younger members of the panel to the more experienced players.

“I suppose what better way to find out where we are than to travel down to Castlebar for a first round league match with Mayo.

“I think that we’re going to bring a big contingent of support down to McHale Park on Sunday. Galway-Mayo games are always something special,” said the former county midfielder.

Mayo will also be ‘finding out a thing or two’ on Sunday, as John O’Mahony pursues the great Mayo dream of bringing the Sam back on the plane from Dublin down to Knock. The wait now spans almost six decades.

On Sunday, O’Mahony be looking for at least furtive signs of better days to come, and the Ballaghderreen man will be heartened by the scoring form of Mark Ronaldson last weekend in the FBD win over Roscommon.

For both O’Mahony and Kernan, next Sunday is more likely to be exploratory than explanatory . . . but still a day to be looked forward to with at least a tingle of excitement by fans starved of real action since last Summer.

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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