Date Published: 14-Aug-2012
RTÉ really lost the run of themselves.
We win a gold medal in what can only be described as a minority sport and they go into orgasm. But then, maybe as a nation we are happy to win gold medals in women’s boxing and that is the extent of our ambitions.
And fair play to Katie Taylor for giving the RTÉ sports department everything they were looking for even if she and her opponent were almost afraid to throw a punch in the final.
But everyone from Bill O’Herlihy to Jimmy Magee to Marty Morrissey could hardly contain themselves and almost conveyed the impression that this was the greatest moment in Irish sporting history.
Even one of the panel believed that everyone in the country would remember for the rest of their lives where they were or what they were doing when Katie Taylor won a gold medal at the London Olympics.
For the record, I was cutting the lawn just before the fight and bitched over the fact that I ran out of petrol. It is etched in my memory forever.
This is how ridiculous the whole caper got on RTÉ when a gold medal for women’s boxing equates to an archery gold medal or one achieved for playing table tennis or possibly that so-called sport which involves horses dancing from one side to another. In fairness, it is no more significant than that.
Yet, the sporting pundits on RTÉ conveniently fail to address the fact that our athletes cannot run for nuts, we are not capable of flinging a javelin any great distance and let’s not talk about our incredible swimming prowess.
The commentaries were hilarious. Jimmy Magee spent much of his time talking about what a nice girl Katie is and what a nice family she comes from. Over on radio, Marty Morrissey was banging on about what a great crowd was in the stadium for the event and how they were roaring “Katie, Katie, Katie” but neither commentator had very much to say about what was going on inside the ring.
The question is, does Katie Taylor’s gold medal have any more significance than the silver medal won by John Treacy in the Olympic Marathon back in 1984? The answer is an emphatic no. In fact that performance in Los Angeles goes down as one of the best from any of our athletes.
But Katie Taylor’s success was a convenient way for RTÉ to totally ignore the fact that our track and field representatives had failed miserably to come within touching distance of a medal. We had a fourth place in the walk and that was about as good as it got.
While the coverage was understandable and it was great that she won gold and all of that but its significance is really exaggerated when the emphasis really should be on why we are so crap at track and field which is really the essence of the Olympic Games.
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.