Date Published: 07-Aug-2012
RAHOON/Newcastle’s Tony Óg Regan says Galway can expect a “ferocious battle” when they meet Cork in the All-Ireland senior hurling semi-final at Croke Park on Sunday (3.30pm) . . . and anyone writing off the Leesiders do so at their peril.
Galway’s mesmerising – and emphatic – victory over reigning All-Ireland champions Kilkenny in the Leinster final has left the bookmakers slashing the odds on the Tribesmen’s title credentials but Regan has been too long around the block to buy into notions of favourites’ tags and all that sort of ‘mullarkey’.
Indeed, he stresses that Anthony Cunningham’s outfit are very much on their guard for this one. “Oh, absolutely,” states Regan. “We know there is a huge challenge in front of us and we really need to produce a top class display and have a huge work-rate and intensity on the day if we are to win. You know, in my eyes, it is a 50/50 game.”
Still, given the Tribesmen have produced the display of the year to date, it is hard for most to consider anything but a Galway victory. It’s not a premise, though, that Regan – or the Galway management and players – is buying into.
“If you look at any of the championship matches so far this year, there were no two games alike. This (semi-final) will be the same. It will just come down to who performs better on the day; past performances count for very little in All-Ireland semi-finals.
“I suppose, all you can do is gauge what Cork have done this year. I thought they were the best team in the league bar the league final [defeat to Kilkenny]. Also, they should have beaten Tipperary in the first round of the Munster championship – and Tipp have been in the last three All-Ireland finals.
“Cork did beat Waterford by three points [in the quarterfinal], a team we have failed to beat over the last three or four years – and they (Waterford) gave us a good trimming last year. So, I think Cork are definitely on an upward curve and we are going to have to play extremely well to get the better of them.”
Consequently, Regan refuses to look beyond August 12th or speculate if there is a Liam McCarthy Cup in this team in 2012.
“We are ready to play Cork and that is all we can do for the time being,” he insists. “For this match, the lads really have to tune in and get their heads around that because we are facing a ferocious battle now to get to the next stage [of the competition].”
No doubt, for Regan – who is only one of three survivors who played in Galway’s last All-Ireland final appearance in 2005; the other two are David Collins and Damien Hayes – it has been a long road to get back to this point in the championship.
Seven years, by and large, of championship disappointments and heartaches.
“I suppose, we lost a number of quarter-finals over the last number of years and that was really hard to take,” says Galway’s centre-half back. “It does take a long time to recover after those setbacks but it is great that this year we are in a semi-final. Hopefully, we can right those wrongs.”
In any event, for Regan and company, it is all about keeping those Galway feet on the ground heading into this high profile fixture . . . and managing the expectation that is out there. He has lived through enough false dawns – is there a fear that this could be another?
“No, I wouldn’t say there is a fear of that, but I just think there is a realism there of what it takes to win a championship match . . . that you have to prepare and give respect to every individual and team you play. Because, if you are a bit off on any given day, you will get blown out of it.
“We weren’t spot on the day against Waterford [in the quarter-final] last year and they blew us out of it. So, there is a bit of fear in lads that they have to be 100% right and prepare well, both mentally and physically. You have to be tuned in or you are not going to win a semi-final, which, of course, we want to do.”
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
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
Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013
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.