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Portumna in no mood for mercy against Dunloy

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Date Published: {J}

STEPHEN GLENNON

REIGNING All-Ireland club champions Portumna boast a clean bill of health ahead of their semi-final showdown against Dunloy at Parnell Park on Sunday (2:30pm).

But manager Johnny Kelly and his management team do have somewhat of a selection headache, as hardworking wing-forward Niall Hayes will miss the clash through suspension. Hayes, somewhat unfortunately, received his marching orders against Loughrea in the county decider, and, consequently, must serve his one-match ban in this competition.

He will, though, line out earlier in the day for Galway senior hurlers at the same venue as the Tribesmen face Dublin in the Walsh Cup decider. No doubt, that should keep Hayes sharp, but it has left a selection dilemma as Kelly seeks to fill the right half-forward position.

 

There are three front-runners for the berth. Ciaran Ryan – a real goal-getter for Portumna in their 2008/’09 campaign – and the experienced David Canning both look to be the safe options, but if Kelly is tempted to take a chance on another young player – as he did with Martin Dolphin last year – then 21-year-old Conor O’Hare could be in line for a call-up.

Other than that, there should be little change from the side that demolished Loughrea on a scoreline of 5-19 to 1-12 in the 2009 county final. Ivan Canning will line out between the posts, with Aidan O’Donnell, Eugene McEntee and Ollie Canning forming the full-back line partnership.

Garret Heagney, Michael Ryan and Peter Smith should make up the half-back line, while Eoin Lynch and captain Leo Smith will undoubtedly renew a midfield partnership which has served Portumna so well in recent times.

Centre-half forward Kevin ‘Chunky’ Hayes will spearhead the attack, with Andrew Smith flanking him on the left wing. As noted, the right-half forward position is up for grabs, but one scenario could see the versatile Martin Dolphin move from corner forward to wing-forward to accommodate any of the leading contenders for the then vacant position in the corner.

In any event, the inside threat will be posed by Damien Hayes and Joe Canning, both of whom were in scintillating form for the club in last year’s championship. In the county final alone, Hayes finished with a whooping 3-3 from play, while Joe Canning hit an incredible 1-10, all from placed balls.

Indeed, Canning looks to have carried that form into 2010, scoring 3-8 (3-3 from play) in LIT’s 3-14 to 1-6 round robin Fitzgibbon Cup win against UCC in the Mardyke recently. Praising his full-forward, manager Kelly said: “In fairness to Joe, he has been working very hard, be it with Portumna or the college or by himself, which a lot of the other guys have been doing as well. Joe did very well for LIT last week, but, then again, Joe might not get the same freedom against Dunloy. If that happens, then it will be up to the other guys around him to provide.”

Another impressed with Canning’s early season from was captain Leo Smith. “Sure, it is better he is getting,” said the Portumna midfielder. “He is something special alright. Every day, he goes out, there is pressure on him to perform and he never lets anybody down. Be it training or a challenge match with Portumna, he never misses any of those and he always gives it 110%. His work-rate is phenomenal and you often see him tracking back. He has a great attitude, which is exactly what you need.”

No doubt, the form of Canning – along with that of Damien Hayes – will not only be crucial to a Portumna victory against Dunloy, but also to any hopes of the reigning champions securing a coveted, unprecedented three-in-a-row of All-Ireland club titles.

For more, read page 56 of 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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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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