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Pedalling his way to European and World track finals

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Date Published: {J}

FOLLOWING the retirement of Mayo’s David O’Loughlin from the International Track Cycling team recently, enthusiasts of the sport may be wondering just who will fill the void left by the former World Cup medallist? One answer may be Galway teenager, Eoin Mullen.

Having posted a new national record for the Flying Start 200 metres at the National Track Championships in July of this year, 17-year-old Mullen was so close to doing the same – missing out by just six-hundreds of a second – in the 500m discipline at the Leinster Track Championships in September.

Indeed, that 500m time of 36.84 was the fastest of the day and, to put this time into perspective, if the Aran Islands native posted that time just one year previous, it would have been a new national senior outdoor record. As it is, Planet X’s Martin Irvine (36.23) currently boasts of that honour.

With another year left in the junior ranks, though, there is no denying Mullen’s potential. Again, this was underlined back in early July when he was part of a 10-rider Irish Track Development team that took part in the Dudley Grand Prix at the Manor Abbey Stadium in Halesowen, England.

Up against the cream of British sprinters, Mullen qualified in 12th place – in a time of 12.73 – for the latter stages of the competition . . . and this was seen as a major result for the Irish team. Mullen began to grow in confidence thereafter and despite being drawn against the likes of Callum Skinner (Edinburgh RC) – who set the fastest 200m time of 11.67 – he finished in third place going into the repecharge.

This pitted him against local sprinter Jim Varnish (HA & CC) and Rowan Elliot (VC St. Raphael) and while these two engaged in a game of cat and mouse with each other, Mullen launched his offensive right before the bell. Unfortunately, he was just caught on the line by Varnish, but Mullen still finished in a creditable seventh place overall.

Now back in secondary school after his season’s endeavours – he attends Kings Hospital in Dublin, alongside his sister Michelle and brother Aonghus – Mullen is satisfied with his progress over 2010, but acknowledges there is still work to be done to take his game to the next level.

“Yeah, I posted some good times this year,” says the Inis Mór teenager. “I am the national junior record holder for the 200m sprint (12.41) and I just missed out on the 500m record by six hundredths of a second. I suppose, I still have a year left at junior, so I would be hoping to improve on my times next year. I would also like to think that I can make it to the European and, maybe, even the World Championships next year. It will all depend on my times though.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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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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