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Rahoon man in fighting mood

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Date Published: 27-Nov-2009

A CITY kickboxer is facing into the most important fight in his amateur career to date this weekend in England when he challenges for the IKF light-heavyweight world title.

Cathal Manning of Galway Dragon Kickboxing Club, who has won a plethora of National and European titles, is aiming for his first ever world title when he comes up against reigning double-world champion Ashley Collins at Amadeus nightclub in Rochester, Kent on Sunday night.

The bout, between the world’s two best amateur fighters at this weight, is the main billing at the English venue and truly is a grudge fight, with Manning from Rahoon seeking revenge for a previous loss to the Englishman.

About two years ago, Manning was asked to fight Collins at just a few days’ notice – the Galwayman battled hard and went the full five rounds but narrowly lost out on points. This time round, the 21-yearold has had at least six weeks to prepare and is now bigger, faster and has gained some invaluable experience, which could help to reverse the earlier result.

Though they live on either side of the Irish Sea, Manning and Collins have befriended each other, catch-up every now and again at various tournaments in Ireland and England when they invariably head for pints afterwards and they also keep in touch through internet social networking sites – but all the niceties will be left to one side come 8pm on Sunday.

“I’m looking forward to hitting him a few good slaps and then we’ll probably have a few pints when it’s all over,” laughs Manning, as he tells Tribune Sport he is looking forward to his most important bout ever, although he is nervous.

“I can’t wait to get in the ring with him and I was talking to him on Facebook the other day and he can’t wait either. We’re good friends and we know each other well – I was drinking with him last Christmas in Sally Longs when he was over but at the end of the day, it’s a sport and like any sport, you play to win regardless if you are playing against friends.

“I’ve played a lot of other sports but with kickboxing I’d be unbelievably nervous – when you get in the ring all you want to do is get out of there! But the moment the first punch is thrown you’d be fine. You’d be nervous because at the Amadeus, there’ll be about 1,000 Brits roaring at me, wanting my blood,” says Manning.

Around 30 family, friends and clubmates will travel over from Galway but Manning is acutely aware that those 1,000 roaring Brits baying for his blood could influence the three English judges and so he is hoping for a knockout to avoid the bout being decided on points.

“There are five rounds of two minutes and I’ll probably have to win four of them – it’s in England and there are three English judges and there could be a hometown decision so I’ll definitely have to drop him. He’s been dropped before and if I’m on-form I should drop him and knock him out. If either one of us land each other we could drop each other so I suppose it’s whoever lands it first.”

Manning’s ‘secret weapon’ that could achieve the knockout he desires is his lethal left hook to the body and anyone who knows him knows about his left hook which has been responsible for seven of his eight knockouts in his 34 bouts to date, of which he has won

23 and drawn two.

The Rahoon man, weighing 81.5kg and standing 6ft 3’ tall, kicks very hard as well and has range and reach but his opponent isn’t champion for nothing and possesses a fairly lethal right-hook, too – in his last fight Collins knocked-out well-known American kickboxer Travis Mason in Florida after just 37 seconds of the first round.

Both men do a lot of ‘dancing’, keep on the move and dodge punches but Manning has a “cast-iron chin” according to his coach, Pete Foley, and he should be able to absorb the hits.

“He caught me before with the right hook and it rocked me alright but I just smiled at him and kept going. I won’t go down easy, even if I’m tired,” he says.

No matter what happens on the night, Collins will go professional and it represents the last opportunity for Manning to get one over on his buddy and add a world title to his already bulging title list – he is a former WKN Junior Irish Super lightweight Champion and current IKF Senior Irish Number 1; current Golden Belt 4 Nations Middleweight Champion; current BIKMA European Middleweight Champion; current Golden Belt European Super middleweight Champion; current IKF European Super middleweight champion and a Full Contact & K-1 Fighter World Bronze Medallist.

Meanwhile, in an earlier fight, 15-year-old Charlie Ward of Cappagh Park and representing Galway Black Dragon will be fighting for a junior U16 world title against Britain and double-European titleholder Chad Sugden.

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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