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Pressure on Connacht to overcome Scottish visitors



Date Published: 29-Nov-2012

CONNACHT’S RaboDirect Pro12 campaign usually dips off around this point in the season and their poor display in Newport last Friday in a 14-3 loss to the Dragons underlines a familiar feeling to this current campaign.

A crucial and hectic period of action lies ahead starting with the visit of Edinburgh to the Sportsground this Saturday at 5pm. The Scots are just three points ahead of Connacht in the table and if there is to be any momentum carried into the back-to-back Heineken Cup meetings with Biarritz, a win and a much improved display on last week is essential.

Making progress in the Pro 12 is a huge challenge, perhaps a bigger one than the goal of finishing second in their Heineken Cup pool. and it’s very hard to see how one-off displays against the big sides will bring in enough points at the end of the season. Nights like Saturday are the real test of this side.

Eric Elwood has plenty of injury concerns in the camp. George Naoupu and John Muldoon are key men to be without and last weekend he was also missing Tongan try scoring hero Fetu Vainikolo who helped his country beat Scotland. He’ll be back on Saturday, but Irish international Mike McCarthy might not as he’s carrying a back injury. Plenty to ponder.

Eagles Fail To Shine

A cold but dry Sportsground proved to be a perfect setting for the A inter-provincial which saw Leinster defeat the Connacht Eagles 31-9 on Friday evening, building on a seven point half time lead and pulling clear in the final quarter.

Leinster were driven by some key up and coming stars, including Irish under 20 scrum half Luke McGrath who was superb throughout, along with Tom Denton in the second row and Jack Conan in the back row.

They led 7-0 after 20 minutes and were camped out on the home line and looked to be lining up a second score but out half Cathal Marsh dropped possession when the ball went to the backline and Brian Murphy hacked downfield, tackled Adam Byrne who had scrambled back, and forced the penalty which Matthew Jarvis slotted.

Five minutes later, Connacht had narrowed the gap to one with a long range effort from their full back, but two Marsh penalties before the break underlined a much improved finish to the half by the visitors and put them 13-6 in front at the break.

Early in the second-half, Marsh stretched the lead to nine before the Westerners raised hope with some bright play from Eoghan Grace, Aaron Conneely and Paul O’Donoghoe leading to Jarvis’ third penalty to bring them back within seve, but that was as close as it got for Connacht as they conceded two tries in the final quarter.


In the pack, the bright sparks for the home side were JP Cooney, Kevin O’Byrne and Jonathan Gardiner while, in the backline, Murphy battled well in the second half alongside Conor Finn with Jarvis industrious at full back, but overall this was a sold trimming for the development side.

For more, read this week’s Gal

way 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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