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Progressive city triathlon club hosts big national event



Date Published: 12-Jul-2012

MANY of the athletes in Galway Triathlon Club are no strangers to breaking boundaries but the distance the club, itself, has travelled in such a relatively short period of time is absolutely astounding.

Since formed by a handful of City based athletes in 2000, the membership has swelled to approximately 250 and this as much reflects the hard work the committee has put in over the years as it does the growing popularity of the three-in-one sport, namely swimming, cycling and running.

To further underline the club’s growing status, Galway Triathlon will host – for the first time ever – the National Aquathon Championships (long course) in Salthill this Saturday in conjunction with its own Aquathon Festival. Indeed, so successful was the club’s inaugural Festival last year, it was awarded the national long course championships for 2012.

Then again, when you have people like Chairman Kieran Whyte, Secretary Keith Connolly and PRO Joanne Murphy on your committee, among many others, things are bound to happen. It’s Murphy who Talking Sport catches up with on this particular day and it immediately becomes obvious that the Cork born athlete is both a force of nature and a driving force behind the club. Her enthusiasm is infinite.

A fundraising manager with Enable Ireland, Murphy, who recently completed the Mallorca 70.3 (half Ironman) in May and has qualified for the World Championships in London next year, is not only club PRO but also public relations officer for the National Aquathon Championship and official race announcer for both the UK and Ireland.

Needless to say, she is excited about hosting the club’s second annual Aquathon Festival this weekend – and, of course, the national long course championships. The event, incorporating a 2km swim and 10km run, will attract over 500 athletes. In addition to this race, there will also be short course events (1,000metre swim and 5km run) and youth races for those aged between eight and 16 years of age on the day.

“There are shorter combination races for the youths and the first of these will be off at 1:30, with the U-10s, at Grattan Beach. Then the sprint race goes off at 2:15 from Palmers Rock to Grattan Beach before the long course race gets underway at Blackrock – they swim to Grattan Beach – at 3:15pm,” outlines Murphy, whose mother Joan (nee Mullins) originally hails from Bushypark in Galway City.

In the national long course championships, all eyes will be on Bryan Keane and Bryan McCrystal. Both of these are Irish professional tri-athletes and each showed they are coming into form at the right time when securing podium finishes at the ‘Hell of the West’ in Kilkee recently.

“Bryan Keane is a former international runner and cyclist,” continues Murphy. “He was vying for the Olympics but got seriously injured in 2010 and was forced out of the race for qualification for the Olympics. He won Hell of the West recently and Bryan McCrystal was actually third.

“Bryan McCrystal is a former Leeds United player turned tri-athlete. His knees went and he couldn’t play football anymore. He turned professional last year and he was 9th at Ironman Lanzarote and he was also the second fastest man on the bike at the event. He is a huge athlete.”

While it may well come down to the two Bryans to fight it out over the spoils, there will also be a strong Galway interest in the race. Aside from the Galway Triathlon Club contingent, led by the experienced Ruaidhrí Geraghty, a number of Galwegians will be returning home to compete, including Belpark/Kenitica’s Kevin Thornton.

“We have 250 members in Galway Triathlon Club at the moment and I would say 70% of them will race and everybody after that will marshal,” says Murphy. “Obviously, we need a huge amount of marshals and support on the day.”

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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