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Spotlight turns on group action after Galway’s troubles



Date Published: {J}


Hurling in the county may be at something of a low ebb following the tame conclusion to Galway’s Allianz NHL campaign, but the focus switches to the club scene this weekend as there are eight senior hurling championship games down for decision on Saturday and Sunday.

The Tribesmen’s annihilation by Tipperary and the disjointed one point defeat to Waterford last weekend have marooned expectations for the coming summer and yet the presence of two of the last three All-Ireland club champions should ensure plenty of interest in the local tussles this year.

Last year’s semi-finalists – champions Clarinbridge, former champions Portumna, Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry, and Loughrea – will hold their fire until the second weekend and some clubs will already be targeting their opening games as ‘must win’ fixtures with tougher tests to come.

That’s certainly the case in respect of newly promoted Padraig Pearses and 2010 relegation candidates Athenry, who meet at Ballinasloe on Sunday afternoon. Defeat for either side would be a huge blow ahead of tough assignments against Portumna, Mullagh, and Tommie Larkins, each of whom won their groups last year.

Mullagh face Larkins in what has the makings of a competitive tie at Loughrea on Sunday, part of a double bill which also features St Thomas’ and Sarsfields. There is another double header in Athenry on Sunday evening, where Mellows will be expected to account for Ardrahan and Kiltormer have a host of injury worries ahead of their showdown with Carnmore.

Fans of the game will hope to see the emergence of a new and youthful force to enliven the scene this year, despite the novelty of Clarinbridge’s first county championship success in nine years last November.

But local bookmakers John Mulholland are not expecting any major surprises over the coming weeks and months, as they have installed Portumna as unbackable 4/7 favourites to regain the title after Loughrea (16/1 this year) ended their glorious domestic run in last year’s semi-final replay.

The bookies do not see any genuine challengers to the Shannonsiders at this stage, as Clarinbridge at 10/1 are second favourites, followed by Gort and an exciting young St. Thomas’ side at 14/1. Pearses, at 150/1, will be fighting hard just to stay up as the bookies do not give them a prayer of being in contention in the Autumn.


Mullagh v Tommie Larkins (Loughrea, 4pm)

A Mullagh team who expect to get to the knock-out stages of the championship every year will have to plan without long-term injury victims Johnny Rafftery (knee) and Derek Hardiman (ankle), both of whom underwent surgery during the winter months. Neither is expected back for the group stages, while manager Padraig Donohue has added three youngsters to his panel who might not be quite ready to start at senior level just yet.

Larkins’ youthful side reached the county quarter-finals last year, losing to the eventual All-Ireland champions, and will feel they made good progress in 2010 given that they topped their group and picked up the League title. Last year’s captain Alan Garvey emigrated to Australia while county minor Jason Flynn is a new addition to the panel. They might fancy springing a surprise here.

Craughwell v Gort

(Athenry, 5.30pm)

County star Adrian Cullinane is waiting on the results of a scan after picking up a knee injury against Waterford last Sunday, while his Craughwell team-mate Aiden Ryan has emigrated to London. Both young Thomas Ryan and the long-serving Hugh Whiriskey have retired, while injuries to Shane Dolan (shoulder), Dermot Ryan (ankle), and Mark Horan (head) have hindered Craughwell’s preparations for what looks an evenly-matched tie.

Gort have been unable to call on the services of county panellist Richie Cummins (ankle) since last year and Gerry Quinn is another key forward who will have to miss this one due to injury. Mattie Murphy’s men were a mixed bag in a mediocre group last year, winning two and losing two, but will expect to capitalise on Craughwell’s lengthier injury woes.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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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Archive News

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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