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Pressure on Tipperary to come up trumps against Cork

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Date Published: {J}

IT’S a tough burden to have to carry, but Tipperary hurling supporters will have a better idea of their team’s capacity to justify the ‘champions in waiting’ tag this year after colliding with arch rivals Cork in the Munster quarter-final at Pairic Ui Chaoimh on Sunday. In reality, defeat is not an option for Liam Sheedy’s squad.

That is immense pressure to deal with so early in the season, but there is no escaping the fact that a Cork victory, even allowing for them being at home, would be a significant setback to the 2009 All-Ireland finalists. Tipperary really fronted up to Kilkenny last September and only for a magnificent goalkeeping display from PJ Ryan together with a couple of controversial refereeing calls going against them, they would have carried the day.

It’s doubtful if ever a losing team in an All-Ireland final has played better and they had Kilkenny on the rack for long periods, but the champions still survived. It was the type of heartbreaking defeat that takes players a long time to get over and though Tipperary had a reasonable National League campaign, Sunday’s showdown will be the first big test of the squad’s mental strength in 2010.

Two years ago, Tipperary recorded their first championship victory over the Rebels on Cork soil since the twenties. That was a landmark achievement, but having to do it all over again so soon makes a repetition of it all the more difficult. It’s an All-Ireland or nothing for Tipperary this year and while they are strong 4/6 favourites to continue their current championship dominance over Cork, Eoin Kelly and company are certainly not banker material down by the Lee on Sunday.

Neither team was available at the time of going to press, but there is growing speculation that rookie Brian O’Meara, who has yet to play a competitive match for the county, could be handed the number 14 jersey after impressing in a couple of challenge matches. The young Kilruane McDonagh’s player has been proving a good target man in those games, but thrusting him into the white heat of championship battle with only minimal experience of inter-county hurling behind him would represent a big gamble.

Sheedy and his management team, including the Galway-based Eamon O’Shea, have been doing an excellent job since taking over from Babs Keating in the Autumn of 2007. Two Munster championships, a National League title and a massive contribution to arguably the greatest All-Ireland final of the modern era represents a successful tenure by any standards, but the team’s mentors realise more than anyone else that the big one has still to be secured . . . and they want it badly.

It’s to their advantage, that Tipperary have a reasonably settled team. The versatile Brendan Maher is really becoming one of their bigger influences, while the likes of Shane McGrath, Eoin Kelly and Lar Corbett have all a proven pedigree at the highest level. The big question is, however, will All Star full back Padraig Maher and Noel McGrath be able to reproduce the impact of their debut seasons? The primary ball winning capacity of their half-forward line remains a concern too.

Though some observers are inclined to dismiss Cork after their league final loss at the beginning of May, you can be sure that they will be seriously motivated to avenge last year’s defeat. Already, they have beaten Tipperary in the league and with full back Eoin Cadogan set to return from injury, Denis Walsh will have no problem in rallying his troops and the Rebels are never more dangerous than when they are generally expected to lose.

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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