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Skehill’s dismissal hands it on a plate to Portumna

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 18-Sep-2009

PORTUMNA got the knockout stages of the Stone Crushing and Recycling Ltd Galway senior hurling championships off to an inevitable start when they demolished St. Thomas’ and recorded their biggest win of the campaign to date in Loughrea on Saturday.
The most worrying thing for the remaining clubs in the competition who are trying to wrestle the county title away from the All-Ireland champions is that this was by no means a vintage performance, yet still Portumna did more than enough to book a spot in the last eight.
St. Thomas’ hopes rested on playing the match of their lives and catching Johnny Kelly’s men on an off day. In hindsight, given that Joe Canning struck six wides in the hour, the door had been left slightly ajar for St. Thomas’ to burst through but, although the half time margin was as low as four, the game’s defining moment had already robbed St. Thomas’ of any chance of glory.
Only Patrick Skehill can explain why he did what he did, but a rush of blood to the head can be the only reasonable explanation. After catching Damien Hayes’ shot in the 20th minute, the St. Thomas’ ‘keeper advanced, under pressure from Ciaran Ryan, and inexplicably lashed out at the forward before attempting to clear. A straight red was referee Christy Helebert’s only option and Gerald Murray was sacrificed as James Barrett took up duties between the sticks.
With Ollie Canning now operating as the spare man in defence, goal chances were never going to come easy and so it was that Portumna pulled away in the third quarter and restricted St. Thomas’ to long range efforts and frees that were never going to get them close.
Despite his misses, Joe Canning still managed a more than healthy haul of 2-8, which began with a hat-trick of frees in the opening six minutes. James Regan and David Burke had levelled the scores twice with fine points from play, as Bernard Burke looked lively in midfield and Richie Murray knuckled down to the task of shackling Canning.
By the 10th minute, though, a six-point gap had developed as first Damien Hayes flashed over a point from the right sideline before the versatile Martin Dolphin, operating at corner forward, burst through at pace to net the game’s first goal. Damien Hayes tacked on another point and the most noticeable tactic at this point was the positional freedom of Niall Hayes, Joe Canning, and Damien Hayes, who swapped roles with frequency and popped up all over the forward line.
Portumna looked set to produce a stunning display after the long lay-off, but instead failed to score for 12 minutes after Canning missed a simple free, by his standards, in the 11th minute. Two players from each team were then booked in a niggly spell in which Enda Tannian cut the deficit to five before Skehill’s dismissal.
A Canning free restored the two goal margin, but this was halved over the next six minutes as Kenneth Burke fired over three placed balls with Richie Murray providing some much-needed defiance from the half back line. Stand-in ‘keeper Barrett also had to be alert to deny Dolphin a second goal, while Joe Canning added the last score of the half in injury time.
St. Thomas’ had missed two chances either side of the whistle, and they were made to pay when Niall Hayes raced onto Canning’s handpass to fire to the net after 90 seconds of the half. Two minutes later
Canning had his first goal when a 20 metre free was moved to a more central position after some verbals. There was only ever going to be one outcome.
With the result now beyond doubt, Portumna cruised through the last 25 minutes, introducing Kevin Hayes to the fray after David Burke had made it 3-7 to 0-7. Kenneth Burke continued to fire over frees, but his chances were limited and Eugene McEntee, Michael Ryan and Ollie Canning were in no mood to concede a goal.
Joe Canning and Damien Hayes bagged 2-5 between them in the closing stages as St. Thomas’ challenge wilted; Canning’s goal coming from an identical free to his earlier effort after Barrett had the temerity to deny the Portumna star with a stunning point-blank save minutes earlier.
Portumna lost their numerical advantage with ten minutes remaining when Davy Canning, only on the field a matter of minutes, got his marching orders for a reckless challenge on Donal Cooney. With Cooney suffering from breathing difficulties and clearly in some distress, the lack of instant medical support at these fixtures again came into sharp focus.
At 14-a-side, hopes for a consolation St. Thomas’ goal rose, but they had to make do with late points from David Burke and Enda Tannian, as Damien Hayes grabbed his fourth point of the day in injury time to round off the scoring.
Hayes was Portumna’s liveliest forward on the day but was slightly fortunate to escape with only a booking in the first half. His brother Niall was also prominent, while Andy Smith, Michael Ryan, Garret Heagney, and Eugene McEntee carried out their duties with the minimum of fuss.
St. Thomas’ were brave competitors throughout this campaign and have a young panel with a bright future. They had noteworthy performances on Saturday from David Burke, Richie Murray, Enda Tannian, and Justin Kelly.

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

BallinasloeÕs young squad aiming to floor Armagh junior champs

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

A new chapter in the history of Ballinasloe football will be written at Breffni Park, Cavan, on Sunday when Sean Riddell’s young side take on Ulster champions An Port Mor of Armagh in the All-Ireland Junior semi-final (2pm).

It’s the first competitive game outside the province of Connacht in 33 years for Galway football’s ‘sleeping giant’ with the enticing prospect of an appearance at Croke Park on February 9 on offer for the winners of what should be a competitive tie.

Ballinasloe have romped through Connacht since overcoming a couple of tricky hurdles on their way to collecting the Galway junior title, which was their target for the campaign this time last year.

With a return to Intermediate football secured, Riddell’s youngsters really have nothing to lose – while their triumphant march to county and provincial titles has revived memories of the club’s glory days when they contested three Galway senior finals in a row between 1979 and ’81.

Intriguingly, the seniors of St Grellan’s never got to play in Croke Park when they reached the All-Ireland final back in 1980 – they lost by 3-9 to 0-8 to St Finbarr’s of Cork in Tipperary Town.

This team’s progression has provided rich rewards for an abundance of hard work at underage levels in the past ten to 15 years and the current side’s ‘do or die’ attitude was very much in evidence in the cliffhanger wins over Tuam and Clifden in the domestic championship.

 

They are a well-balanced side who really never know when they are beaten and have an inspirational leader in county panelist Keith Kelly, whose exploits at centre back have been among the key components in their dramatic run to reach the All-Ireland series.

Riddell, who recalls playing senior football with the club during their heyday, is determined to get Ballinasloe back among the county’s leading clubs but, for the moment, he is delighted just to have a shot at getting to Croke Park in a bid to emulate Clonbur’s achievement in winning the title outright last year.

Riddell went to Newry on a ‘spying mission’ to see the Armagh champions overcome Brackaville of Tyrone by 2-9 to 0-11 in November – and was impressed by the quality of the football produced by An Port Mor in the Ulster final.

“They are a nicely balanced side who play good football,” he said. “There was a bit of the physical stuff you’d expect from two Ulster side, but I was impressed by their performance.”

An Port Mor became the first Armagh side to win the provincial junior decider. First half goals from Shane Nugent and Christopher Lennon sent them on the road to victory, before a red card for Brackaville captain Cahir McGuinness eased their progress to the All-Ireland series.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Coalition promised an ocean of reform Ð but the wind has gone out of its sails

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 30-Jan-2013

CITY ENERGY COMPANY TO CREATE 12 NEW JOBS

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