Date Published: 08-Nov-2012
Seven years almost to the day this Sunday, Salthill/Knocknacarra seized the club’s second ever Connacht senior club championship title, cruising to an unexpected eight point win over St Brigid’s in the provincial final at Pearse Stadium.
It’s fair to say, things won’t be such a breeze this weekend as the Galway champions lock horns with the Roscommon kingpins at the same city venue (throw-in, 2.30pm) in the semi-final of the Connacht series.
The team sheets may have a familiar enough look to them – Salthill’s full-back line of Cian Begley, Finian Hanley and Ruadhri McTiernan is the same as in 2005; Alan Kerins, Seán Armstrong and Seamie Crowe all played starring roles; while Tom Burke came on as a sub.
St Brigid’s had four starters that day – ‘keeper Shane Curran, Ian Kilbride, Karol Mannion and Frankie Dolan and one substitute who made a scoring impact from the bench, Senan Kilbride – who are expected to line-out this weekend.
But this St Brigid’s outfit is a different beast to that which had effectively accepted their plight as irredeemable and gave up with 20 minutes to go in their first ever Connacht final appearance when they trailed 1-8 to 0-3 points – they limped to a humbling 1-10 to 0-5 defeat in the end.
Nobody would have predicted that day that it would take Salthill so many seasons to emerge top dogs in Galway again; and few could have foreseen that St Brigid’s would materialise into one of the most consistent performing senior club teams in Connacht, claiming three provincial titles in the past six years including the last two.
This year, they come to Galway brimful of experience gleaned from several Connacht campaigns and are slight favourites (8/11) with local bookmaker John Mulholland’s to reach their third final in a row at the expense of Salthill (11/8).
The Kiltoom outfit’s facile win over Leitrim’s Melvin Gaels in the first round a fortnight ago also proves that they do still possess a very real scoring threat and spread – seven of the starting side and three subs got their names on the score sheet in that 2-19 to 0-10 win at home.
There are injury concerns in the Brigid’s camp over Frankie Dolan, their talisman, although the vibes coming from Roscommon is that the former county star will start regardless and play through the pain barrier.
His memories of facing Salthill won’t be too fond – Dolan was fairly anonymous in the two-man inside forward line in the 2005 Connacht final, as their tactic of bunching centre-field with a third midfielder, something Salthill will more than likely do this weekend, backfired on the visitors.
Deadly from placed balls – he scored five frees and a ‘45 against Melvin Gaels – Dolan is just too important a figure not to risk playing, and he’s likely to have a major bearing on proceedings.
His brothers Garvin and Darren Dolan are said to be nursing injuries although they too are expected to feature at some stage.
The high profile and high calibre backroom team of manager Kevin McStay, RTÉ Gaelic Football pundit and analyst, and selector Liam McHale, his former Mayo team-mate, may be in their first season with Brigid’s but the pressure is on.
The Kiltoom and Roscommon GAA public not only want Brigid’s to win a third Connacht title on the trot, but also expect them to be challenging for honours in the All-Ireland final next St Patrick’s Day and the appointment of McStay and McHale is an indication of the club’s ambitions.
McStay could not be reached when contacted by Tribune Sport but he told the Roscommon Herald this week that the Salthill match was a “season defining” one for his squad.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
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.