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Resolute Bob getting the job done



Date Published: {J}

John McIntyre is a member of the five-man Galway based Gaticoma Syndicate which has seen its red and black colours carried to victory by Rigour Back Bob on six occasions last season. He offers an unique insight into part-owning a horse which has been a model of consistency and is as tough as they come.

IT was 7am on Monday, May 3. After barely three hours sleep in the wake of Galway hurlers National League triumph over Cork in Thurles the previous evening, their team manager was driving around the streets of Galway city in vain pursuit of the Racing Post.

The fact that it was a Bank Holiday Monday hardly helped my quest for horse racing’s bible, but I was couldn’t wait to find out the experts’ view of Rigour Back Bob’s chances in the McConville Construction Hurdle at Down Royal later in the afternoon.

Already our pride and joy had done his owners, the Gaticoma Syndicate, proud over a roller-coaster 12 months which left him chasing a sixth win from 11 runs at Northern Ireland’s premier racetrack. He had first gotten off the mark in a bumper at Ballinrobe the previous May.

Bob was supposed to be ‘going out to grass’ after his Grade 3 success at the Punchestown festival less than a fortnight earlier, but trainer Edward O’Grady made contact a few days before the league final to inform the syndicate that the horse was in “rude health” and the race in Down Royal was tailor-made for him.

O’Grady, who has the best strike rate of any modern-day Irish trainer at the Cheltenham festival, has been the key component in not alone Bob’s progress but in the syndicate ending up with the horse in the first place. He bought him at the Goffs Land Rover Sales before completing a deal with the five racing renegades from the West.

My partners in crime are Michael Needham, Willie Donohue, Jim Gallagher and Johnny Carroll, four basically retired individuals who, like me, can hardly believe our good fortune in coming across such a consistent and quality horse which is as genuine as the day is long.

O’Grady hadn’t beaten around the bush in outlining the trials and tribulations of owning a racehorse, but a couple of us didn’t need much marking of our cards about those pitfalls. We knew getting the horse to the racetrack wasn’t guaranteed never mind that he might be even competitive.

It’s fair to say, however, O’Grady liked the chestnut (out of Rigorous and Bob Back) from the start, but none of us were prepared for him finishing a close up fourth behind Universal Truth on his debut appearance in a Leopardstown bumper last March 12 months. Galway were playing Cork in the league that same day and it’s the only time I have missed Bob running . . . getting the team bus to pull outside a bookies’ office in Cork so I could see the race was a bit of a surreal moment.

On the strength of that effort, Bob was one of the leading fancies for the Goffs Land Rover Bumper at the Punchestown festival and despite meeting trouble in running, he finished a gallant third before rounding off his first campaign in great style at Ballinrobe. That was some day and the syndicate celebrated as though we had won the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Epsom Derby all rolled into one.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune Galway Races Supplement

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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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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