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Squad agrees to defer wages as money troubles hit United again



Date Published: {J}

Keith Kelly

Once again the days leading up to a Galway United match are being dominated by financial matters rather than footballing ones, after the club announced on Wednesday that players agreed to defer a week’s wages in order for other bills to be paid.

The club issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon saying that following a meeting between club CEO Nick Leeson, manager Sean Connor and his playing staff, the players have given their blessing to the club withholding next week’s wages in order to meet other costs, believed to include rent to the Galway & District League for the use of Terryland Park and insurance cover for players.

Most sporting organisations predicted a drop in gates this year, and that has been borne out across the board – the Irish Independent yesterday reported that the GAA’s Provincial Councils are heading for a drop in gate receipts in the order of €1.5 million this year – but United’s gates have been worse than the most pessimistic predictions before the start of the season.

United are averaging paltry attendances of around 800 for their games, with that fortnightly take not being enough to even cover a wage bill that is one of the lowest in the league. As a result, the club looks like being forced to once again sell off its best players during the July transfer window in order to stay afloat, with the likes of Karl Sheppard, Stephen O’Donnell and Rhys Meynell all attracting interest from clubs abroad.

One player who is almost set to leave next week is Anto Flood, who is believed to be on the verge of signing for Scottish Premier League side, St Mirren. Manager of the Paisley-based club, Danny Lennon, is believed to be travelling over to Terryland Park on Monday night for United’s home game with Bray Wanderers, and Flood is one of two United players Lennon is believed to be travelling over to look at.

It has been reported that the Scottish club are in the market for a striker and central midfielder, and while Flood matches the brief for the former, it is thought Stephen O’Donnell could be a match for the latter.

O’Donnell would be known in Scotland, having spent time with Falkirk, but whether or not he fancies another shot at life in the Scottish top-flight will form a major part of his decision-making. United would receive a transfer fee for O’Donnell, but Flood would be available on a free transfer and so the club will not benefit from his expected move to The Buddies, as St Mirren are known.

Sheppard, who joined United from Everton, is attracting the interest of at least one marquee clubs in terms of name and tradition, and if the club in question pursues its interest in the striker and matches United’s valuation of him, it would cover the club’s projected shortfall in income and see it through to the end of the year.

Meynell has been one of the revelations of the season for United and is challenging Brian Shelley of Bohemians for the right to be called the best left-back in the league. His versatility is also a major asset – he has filled in at centre-back, and even had a stint between the posts when Barry Ryan was ruled out through suspension earlier this season – and he is also attracting interest from at least two clubs in England.

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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