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ÔStephen King momentsÕ in the shadow of the Galway gasometer



Date Published: {J}


LOUTH 0-11


AFTER the elation of Derry, the reality check for Galway’s footballers arrived with quite a thud at Pearse Stadium on Sunday, as they had to hang on precariously in order to extract a draw from a fixture that would have been pencilled in all week as a ‘two pointer’.

The trick about February football is neither to get too excited about a win nor too depressed about a bad performance, and the three week gap before the next game against Westmeath will afford Alan Mulholland the opportunity to carry out an early season audit . . . and at least three invaluable league points have been stashed away.

It was though a bit of a let-down on Sunday. The crowd of close on 5,000, swelled by the draw of the hurling clash between Galway and Kilkenny, had expected some fire and brimstone, but most of the glow came from Peter Fitzpatrick’s very committed Louth side. Indeed, how the visitors managed to leave victory behind them at Salthill was quite baffling.

If Galway learned one lesson from this match, it has to come under the heading of intensity. Louth battled for every ball and launched themselves into every tackle with a commitment that the home side often just couldn’t match – if the visitors had complemented that workrate with slick finishing, they would have romped to victory.

Galway did produce one 10 minute spell of purposeful football early in the first-half which helped them race into a 1-5 to 0-2 lead, and we all sat back expecting this advantage to be sustained to the end. Unfortunately, the Galway team sat back too, and from there to the finish, Louth dominated this game.

While Galway did play well on the previous weekend in Celtic Park, there was a niggling worry that Derry were a few pence short of the full shilling – their demise at the hands of Tyrone on Sunday probably confirming that. By the same token, Louth are probably a shade better than some observers might think and remember they did come within one referee’s decision of winning a Leinster title 18 months ago.

Galway do have a young team with a good sprinkling of promising footballers but the transition from youth to maturity will always have its hurdles to overcome – physicality, mental toughness and intensity have all to be added to the buds of youthful exuberance.

The big struggle for Galway on Sunday was in trying to win primary possession around the middle of the field. From the 20th minute on, when Thomas Flynn kicked the point that put Galway 1-5 to 0-2 ahead, Louth won the vast majority of the possession battles between the two 45s. Nearly all of the ‘hard ball’ ended up stuck to a red jersey.


Galway did make a number of changes, but most of them were in attack, and maybe in the same way as a rugby coach might bring on two props to bolster a sagging scrum, the introduction of a couple of players like Barry Cullinane and Niall Coleman, could have helped to at least jolt Louth’s midfield platform.

Defensively, Galway performed quite solidly, and they had to, given the amount of pressure they were under with Gareth Bradshaw again catching the eye most, due to his mix of brashness and fire. Colin Forde, Keith Kelly and Jonathan Duane also manned the pumps with great commitment, and in the end Galway’s defence did manage to salvage a point from this encounter.

They also had to call on those moments in sport when you have to rely on your opponent missing. In the closing minutes, Louth missed the target from two 45s while a goal bound shot from Andy McDonnell ended up being blocked by one of his colleagues – this was real backs to the wall stuff for Galway.

It all looked so differently after 13 minutes when Danny Cummins neatly slotted home an opportunist goal after a Paul Conroy point effort had come back off the post. Shortly after, Cummins added a quick point followed by similar efforts from Nicky Joyce and Michael Martin. Louth looked set to take a bit of a pasting.

Alas that was to be Galway’s last spell on the high ground as Louth showed commendable tenacity and courage to haul themselves back into contention. Disturbingly, Galway’s next point didn’t arrive for 14 minutes – a trademark effort from Bradshaw – and over the course of the entire second half, only two more white flags were to be raised by the home side.

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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