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Oranmore boys announce arrival as rugby force



Date Published: 24-Nov-2009

St Calasanctius College, Oranmore confirmed their emergence as a force in Connacht Rugby with their second title this year as they won a closely fought Connacht Tribune Junior League final against Sligo Grammar at The Sportsground on Wednesday. 

It was a well-deserved victory, achieved in very windy conditions, and means that the league trophy is added to the Connacht Tribune Junior Cup, won last March. 

Both sides won all their games on the way to the final, Sligo without conceding a point, so the game brought together the two form teams in the province. 

Sligo kicked off towards the College Road end with the strong cross-field breeze only slightly favouring them.  

The initial exchanges were evenly matched but Sligo began to gain territory as Oranmore’s discipline let them down and they conceded three penalties in quick succession. The third resulted in a shot at goal after five minutes which was narrowly wide. 

Calasanctius remained stuck in their own half until a 40 metre break away by No 4 Liam Keaveny moved play to the Sligo line. However Oranmore were unable to capitalise on the quick ball, instead conceding a penalty and a player to the sin bin for an off-the-ball infringement.  

The Galway side continued to concede position through a succession of penalties but good disruption at the ensuing lineouts provided a number of turnovers to the Oranmore boys. While Sligo continued to press hard, they made little headway when in the Oranmore 22 and rarely threatened the try line. 

After 20 minutes Oranmore’s captain, Paul Hackett, made good ground from inside his own half before off-loading to winger Conor McNevin who was bundled into touch about five metres from the Sligo line.  

This was the only real threat of a score from either side for the remainder of the half which was played out between the 22’s. 


On the resumption, Oranmore began to dominate both territory and possession, working their way purposefully into the Sligo 22. 

After seven minutes Oranmore won a scrum against the head just inside the Sligo 22 and the ball was moved quickly to No 7 Hackett, who spent most of the game at first centre. He powered his way over the line from 20 metres out brushing aside at least four defenders on route. The try was converted by full-back Darren Hennessy. 

Calasanctius increased the pressure from the restart and making excellent use of their strong pack’s ability to pick and drive camped in the Sligo half for long periods. Their ability to retain the ball in ruck and maul began to frustrate Sligo who conceded a string of penalties.  

Given the strong wind and wet ground Oranmore’s tactics were smart. When the ball was moved along the back line it was invariably taken back into contact by the strong running Hackett or his centre partner Diarmuid Moran. Their ability to recycle ball quickly meant Calasanctius threatened the Sligo line a couple of times but failed to breach it. 

Eventually the physical toll began to tell and as the Oranmore boys began to tire Sligo took the upper hand in terms of possession and territory.  

The final 10 minutes was typified by strong defence from all 15 Oranmore players who resisted several strong surges from the Grammar boys. They secured a number of vital turnovers and used this ball well by denying Sligo opportunities to turn the screw further. 

While Sligo came close a couple of times the Oranmore side hung on to the final whistle. 

It is difficult to single out any one of the forwards for special mention as all eight played very well against a bigger Sligo side. While it was not a day for backs, Kevin Finneran at scrum half, rarely put a foot wrong and supplied the impressive No 10, Padraig Burke, with good ball for most of the match. 

Oranmore: Darren Hennessy, Conor McNevin, Diarmuid Moran, Niall McGloughlan, Marco Madacuci, Padraig Burke, Kevin Finneran, Tom Huxford, Dan McArdle, Liam Keavney, Graham Burke, Craig Hansberry, Paul Hackett, Darren O’Brien

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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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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