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OÕConnor saves ConnachtÕs bacon



Date Published: {J}

Connacht 13

Glasgow 13

Rob Murphy

POURING over the bones of this contest won’t be much fun for anyone on either team – management or players. There will be positives to extract from the 80 minutes, but focusing on them would be counter-productive.

Glasgow were the more dejected at full time. Niall O’Connor’s last minute kick from out on the right was far from straight forward and nabbed two points off the Scottish side that they really should have sewn up minutes earlier.

Connacht celebrated that kick like a victory. Relief was the key emotion. The run without a win goes on, of course, but the ten game losing streak in league play is done.

Their record in the competition now stands at three wins, 11 defeats and one draw. Six losing bonus points in those defeats tells a tale but, on the other end of that stick, is the fact that Connacht’s three wins have been by a margin of less than seven. Fine margins.

By the end of the first quarter of Saturday’s contest on a cold crisp blustery night at the Sportsground, neither side had scored and the opportunities had been few and far between. Two long range missed kicks from O’Connor to be exact.

The opening core came on 26 minutes and was a brutal one to concede for the home side. Glasgow were in their 22 and threatening. A tackle had been made under the posts ten metres out and the visitors appeared to be contained.

However, loosehead John Welsh spotted a gaping hole in the fringe defence behind the ruck. Clearly a weakness identified in the pre-match video analysis by Sean Lineen and his side, and exploited in simple style.

George Naoupu, Eoghan Grace and Niall O’Connor were in the vicinity but not minding the back door. Whose job it was, or whether anyone was assigned to it in that split second will no doubt be worked out in team meetings this week. A basic error and one which would repeat itself.

Glasgow held a 7-0 lead heading into the closing stages of a half where Connacht had offered very little in attack. They were shut down on most of their possession, losing yards from phase to phase consistently, with slow ball from rucks and being ponderous in possession compounding matters.

Just before the break, O’Connor struck a fine penalty from near the touchline, a score that came against the run of play and was a considerable lift to a home side looking flat and off kilter from their more concerted effort away to Cardiff the previous week.

Surprisingly, Connacht didn’t push on after the break and after a scrappy opening ten minutes, Dave Moore was introduced at nine. He offered pace but it took a while to transfer and through the boot of Ruairidh Jackson, Glasgow stretched their lead to 10-3.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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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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