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Relief for Kidney as Ireland scalp visiting Pumas



Date Published: {J}

DECLAN Kidney was surely a relieved man after Ireland’s comprehensive victory over bitter foes Argentina in their final match of the Autumn International series at the Aviva Stadium last Sunday. Having only recorded one win in the team’s seven previous outings, the Irish coach was coming under some pressure and badly needed

encouragement to take into the  Six Nations campaign next  Spring.


Having guided Munster to two Heineken Cup triumphs and Ireland to only the country’s second ever Grand Slam in 2009, Kidney has obviously still a fair amount of ‘credit’ left in his coaching balance sheet, but the Cork native has been struggling to get the balance right in his team selections recently and has also shown too much loyalty to players who are clearly past it at international level.

On top of a bad run of results and typically uninspiring media briefings, Kidney must have been feeling the heat in advance of hosting the abrasive Pumas who had performed adequately against the French the previous weekend.

The initial exchanges, however, were not encouraging as a ground devouring Argentinean maul led  to them being camped on the  Irish line, but they were unable  to engineer that precious touchdown.

The opening ten minutes asked serious questions of Ireland, but they hung in there and, gradually, Brian O’Driscoll and company lifted the siege. Jonathan Sexton, who was in fine kicking form, put the home team in front with a converted penalty before Tommy Bowe and Jamie Heaslip combined to send the teak-tough Stephen Ferris over the Argentina line in the 20th minute. Sexton converted and quickly added another routine penalty to put the men in green 13-0 clear.

Ireland eventually retired in a commanding position, 19-3 ahead, but it was a flattering scoreline as Felipe Contepomi had fluffed two penalties and a drop goal attempt in the opening 40 minutes. The former Leinster out half missed another one early on the resumption as his brittle temperament was again plain to see.

Unfortunately, Ireland failed to drive on in the second-half as Argentina began to dominate possession and territory. They had the Irish under serious pressure, but poor handling, unforced errors and a lack of penetration behind the scrum resulted in them rarely threatening the opposition line. The match was now providing little in the way of entertainment for the perishing crowd of over 30,000 and only a magnificent opportunist try from the excellent Gordon D’Arcy in injury time lifted the gloom.

The previous weekend Ireland had lost by 20 points to New Zealand, but supporters and pundits were reasonably content with the performance; last Saturday they won by 20 points, yet those same observers were not nearly as positive. Sometimes, a team can be perceived to ‘lose’ in the public’s mind when they actually win. True, Argentina are in transition while France’s hammering by Australia last Saturday showed the Pumas’ performance against Les Blues a week previously in a far different light, but Ireland were in dire need of a result at the weekend and they got it.

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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