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Salthill men fail to cope with steep rise in class

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 14-Nov-2012

THE Connacht Club football championship hasn’t been a productive hunting ground for the Galway title holders in recent seasons and that trend continued at Pearse Stadium last Sunday. After their emphatic county final dismissal of Tuam Stars last month, Salthill Knocknacarra were being tipped as a serious threat to the current dominance of St. Brigid’s at provincial level, but they came up badly short on home turf.

 

There were mitigating factors, however, against Salthill reproducing the quality of their Galway title victory before even the ball was thrown in at Pearse Stadium. Having to field without injured defender Ruaidhri McTiernan and midfielder Gary Cox naturally did them no favours, while losing their top sharpshooter Seamie Crowe in the opening five minutes against the experienced Roscommon men was another untimely blow.

But given the trend of Sunday’s provincial semi-final, it’s doubtful if Salthill would have carried the day even operating with a full hand. St. Brigid’s were just too physically powerful and with a sprinkling of Roscommon inter-county players through their team, the title holders have no shortage of quality and battle-hardened individuals who know how to win at this level. They also performed with a greater intensity.

Chasing a third consecutive Connacht championship, Frankie Dolan and company were far more direct too than a Salthill outfit which burned up a mountain of energy by an almost slavish devotion to a short passing game. Frequently, they made heavy work of breaking out of defence and their build ups were just too slow. Worse again, they also needlessly lost possession in not adopting a more direct approach.

To St. Brigid’s credit, they tended to swarm the opposition player in possession, but Salthill’s laboured progress up the field made them an easy target and they can have no complaints over the nearly double scores defeat. Initially, however, the Galway champions were holding their own. Tom Burke, quick to get to the pitch of the game, opened their account with a fine effort and also supplied the decisive pass for Sean Armstrong to raise a white flag in the sixth minute.

Substitute Eoin O’Mahony, who had already replaced the injured Crowe, landed a free as well to leave Salthill on level terms after ten minutes. It was an encouraging opening, but gradually St. Brigid’s began to impose their authority on the exchanges. Senan Kilbride, who proved a handful up front, was on target from play and frees, while they also had the bonus of landing points from raiding defenders Darragh Donnelly and Garvan Dolan.

Salthill were now struggling to make headway up front and when Armstrong drove over a 40 yards free near the end of the half, it was their first score for 16 minutes. That left them trailing by 0-8 to 0-4 at the interval and while the city men weren’t out of it, a vast improvement was clearly required on the resumption. They needed to hit the ground the running at the start of the second-half, but young O’Mahony missed a relatively routine free, while Salthill also began losing their discipline, highlighted by conceding so many frees.

They were unable to take advantage either of Shane Curran’s rush of blood to the head in the 33rd minute when the St. Brigid’s goalkeeper set off on a risky solo run – he must be reading too many ‘Roy of the Rovers’ comics lately – only to lose possession about 45 yards out from his own posts. Salthill, however, failed to make Curran pay. Instead, they fell 0-11 to 0-4 behind as Frankie Dolan, Kilbride and Damien Kelleher all found the target at the other end.

To be honest, Salthill’s cause was already lost but they did launch something of a mini-revival with three points ( two frees) from the hard working Armstrong, but he also missed the posts from two placed balls, while Conor Healy was also wayward when the margin was back down to four points. Subsequently, Healy was harshly penalised for a ‘foul pass’ in his own half back line and when Dolan landed the resulting free, Salthill’s fate was sealed.

They never gave up, but all Gerry Hughes’ squad could manage in the final quarter was an injury time close range effort from David Tierney. There were no such problems for St. Brigid’s, who also had big influences in midfielders Ian Kilbride and Karol Mannion, as they emphasised their superiority with three further placed ball efforts from Dolan and an effort from play by Niall Grehan to advance on a 0-15 to 0-8 scoreline.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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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