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Only thing that matters Ð hurlers are still standing



Date Published: 18-Apr-2012

LET’S be honest about it, the vast majority of Galway supporters expected the county hurlers to be beaten in Sunday’s Division One relegation play-off against Dublin at Tullamore. The legacy of the recent Kilkenny hammering and the disappointing home loss to Waterford had created a negative environment and resulted in a small following for the team in O’Connor Park.

Against that background, the fact that Galway are still standing is a result in every sense of the word, especially as they were in a major hole when trailing by five points early in the second-half after Conor McCormack had goaled for Dublin. To the players’ credit, they rolled up their sleeves with Tony Og Regan, Iarla Tannian, in a new midfield role, Cyril Donnellan and the returning Joe Canning leading the fightback.

A flurry of points from Galway actually enabled them to take the lead midway through the second-half, but a Ross O’Carroll goal in the 57th minute – a score which again exposed problems in the full back line – regained the initiative for Dublin. Subsequently, when John McCaffrey put them three clear in the 69th minute, the game appeared up for the Tribesmen and, in the process, a return to Division Two hurling for the first time in over 20 years.

Somehow (and admirably), Galway rescued a dire situation. Canning fired over two close range frees before a terrific delivery by Tannian was pounced on by the Portumna man who splits the posts with a classic effort to send the match into extra time. The momentum was now with Anthony Cunningham’s squad, particularly as Ryan O’Dwyer, whose disciplinary record leaves something to be desired, was dismissed by referee Barry Kelly for an off-the-ball incident within seconds of the action resuming.

Two more Canning frees and an effort from the hard working Donnellan left Galway 0-24 to 2-16 in front after the first period of extra time. By that juncture, Dublin had imploded from a discipline perspective as another attacker, Alan McCrabbe, was red carded for a wild pull on David Collins. 15 against 13, two points ahead, you’d have expected Galway to comfortably close out the game from there.


Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way despite further Galway points from James Regan and last year’s minor Jonathan Glynn. With so many substitutions and players losing their sense of position, the match surrendered much of its structure and that helped a gritty Dublin to pull off an unlikely draw with late scores from two reserves, Daire Plunkett and Niall McMorrow, who kept his nerve from a 65 with virtually the last puck of the game.

In the circumstances, the Dubs had got out of jail and they remain dangerous opponents in Saturday’s replay even if McCrabbe and O’Dwyer will be sidelined for that match. Once again, their overall physicality had Galway in trouble, but it’s not the first time that the team’s discipline is coming under scrutiny. A couple of their players are living on the margins and while it’s one thing to be tough and fearless, it’s quite another to be reckless and dangerous. Anthony Daly has problems to sort out but, overall, he was surely relieved that Dublin hadn’t already been consigned in Division Two.

Regardless of Galway’s failure to close the deal, this spirited performance was still a significant step forward compared to recent outings. Dublin may not be Kilkenny, but they are dogged opponents and are not easy to subdue. Canning being declared fit enough to start must have been a huge lift for Galway and he had a stormer, shooting 12 points in total, including some cracking efforts from play.


For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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