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Oughterard club revelling in the celebrity spotlight



Date Published: {J}

Oughterard’s Séamus O Máille GAA Club will look to put the recent disappointment of their county intermediate decider replay defeat behind them when they head to Parnell Park on Friday night for the final of RTE’s Celebrity Bainisteoir.

For captain and full-back Christopher O’Toole, and his Oughterard team-mates, it was not easy to return to football duty following that heartbreaking loss to Kilconly last month. Not easy at all. Yet, O’Toole says they felt there was a certain onus on them to right the wrongs of that defeat in some small way and Celebrity Bainisteoir afforded them that opportunity.

“It was difficult at the start to get my head around it, to come back playing football after eight months of work heading into a county final, which we lost. We worked really, really hard and made a big effort this year. We all stayed home from America; we had all left last year after the U-21. So, it was hard to accept that the hard work and sacrifices had not paid off.

“However, we felt we owed it to the parish to give them a good day out. They have followed us all year and what they haven’t given us! We really did owe it to our families and the parish to give them a good day out and put the parish back on the map.

“Although the first training back after the county final was the most difficult of the year – everyone was down and a bit depressed – the lads have put it to the back of their minds for the time being. Hopefully, we can push on now and win this competition.”

Having accounted for comedian PJ Gallagher’s St. Patrick’s GAA Club of Donabate [Dublin] in the opening round, Oughterard, under the supervision of former Green Party TD Paul Gogarty, powered beyond Lissan of Derry on a scoreline of 0-15 to 0-6 in the semi-final.

In the context of the season that has gone by, the 22-year-old defender says it is now important to claim a victory over Tony Cascarino’s Killeshin of Laois in the final of the tournament in Parnell Park on Friday (7:30pm).

“I think it is important that we get some sort of silverware out of the season. As I said, we have dedicated eight months of the year to this [season] already and it has nearly been a full-time job with both competitions going on. So, if we finish the season now with nothing, it will be awful hard to take.

“Then again, there is less pressure going into this final. With the intermediate, it was all about going up and playing senior football [in 2012] and that was what we were depending on achieving and hoping that we would do it. Now, though, we can go into this game with a lot less pressure on us and enjoy the occasion. It is not often you get to play an All-Ireland of sorts in Parnell Park.”

Then again, it is not often you would have a former Green Party TD as manager. Initially, the players thought they would get someone with connections to the area – funny man Tommy Tiernan, sexy TV presenter Síle Seoige or, even, the country’s newly elected President, Michael D. Higgins!

“When Paul [Gogarty] walked in, though, we hadn’t a clue who he was!” laughs the NUI Galway physiotherapy masters student, who also works part-time, locally, in Welby’s Filling Station.

Still, the players have got to know the Dubliner pretty well over the last number of months, with O’Toole noting a relationship has now built up between the celebrity manager and his charges. “Over the two or three months, he has shown great commitment, coming down to trainings and he has come down to league and championship games as well. He has been very dedicated to us, I must say that.”

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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