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Olympic dreams of Galway rowers are hanging by a thread

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Date Published: {J}

STEPHEN GLENNON

THE Olympic dreams – at least for London 2012 – of two Tribesmen rowers hang by a thread following disappointing showings at the World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia over the past fortnight.

Although Lisa Dilleen – and her rowing partner Sanita Puspure – made the ‘B’ final of the women’s heavyweight double, it was total heartbreak for her club-mate Siobhan McCrohan and UCD’s Claire Lambe, who finished at the back in the ‘C’ final of the lightweight double sculls.

McCrohan, a qualified aeronautical engineer who relocated to Cork earlier this year to link up with the National High Performance team to pursue her sporting career, gave the whole country a lift when winning a bronze medal in the lightweight single scull at the final World Cup regatta in Lucerne in July.

However, her partnership with Lambe in the lightweight double scull at the World Championships last week failed to inspire a similar result, with competition fierce in the Olympic qualifying event. “Things didn’t work out,” said Siobhan’s father, Mike. “After a series of poor rows, they ended up in the ‘C’ final. They finished at the tail end of that.

“I suppose, last year, the performances were above expectations, and, consequently, they were aspiring towards one of the top eight places being awarded for qualification to the Olympics. Unfortunately, those expectations couldn’t be realised. She is gutted. She is bitterly, bitterly disappointed.”

In all, 26 countries competed for the eight places available for the Olympics, leading to some “red hot” competition. “Also, there are four or five [qualification] places available to Asia and three or four for South America, but because of a quirk in the system, they can come and have a shot at qualifying and still retain their own allocation.”

That said, McCrohan continues to be one of Ireland’s top rowers and she could still qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London if she – and Lambe – can produce a performance at next May’s Lucerne meet, where two places will be available.

“The reality is that, 18 months ago, the target or aspirations were for the 2016 Olympics (Rio de Janeiro), which would have been more in terms of their ages and so on,” said her father. “So, really, we are now only at the tail end of the first year of a five-year programme. However, with the way results went last year, all of a sudden, those aspirations jumped ahead by four years!

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

 

 

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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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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