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St. James’ just fall short after titanic struggle



Date Published: {J}

St. James’ 0-15

Lisnaskea 1-16


Dara Bradley

at Croke Park

IF it were a rugby match, you’d look to the Television Match Official; if it were a horse race there’d have been a stewards’ enquiry; even in cricket the umpires would have asked the third official to review the video replays.

But in Gaelic football, you take your beating. No matter how wrong the decision, you take it on the chin. Look what happened to Louth in the Leinster final.

On Saturday under floodlights at Croke Park, the GAA’s reluctance to embrace technology in deciding marginal calls could well have cost the St. James’ intermediate footballers an All-Ireland medal.

The City men were leading by a point, 0-10 to 0-9, with about a minute of normal time remaining in the All-Ireland final after a rousing second-half performance against the Fermanagh and Ulster champions Lisnaskea.

Their talisman, Paul Conroy, had just been fouled after making a penetrating run. The midfielder picked himself up, dusted himself down and then steadied himself before taking the kick into the Hill 16 goal.

Reporters in the press box had chalked it down as a point; the St James’ (and most of the Lisnaskea) supporters in the lower Hogan Stand and management and substitutes along the pitch felt it was a point; Conroy himself was convinced it was a score.

One of the umpires, who admittedly was closer to the action, disagreed and waved it wide. It was a tight call, probably the wrong call.

And from the ensuing kick-out, Lisnaskea went up and scored at the other end with the last kick of the match to force extra-time, a period in which they pushed on to outscore ‘The Jimmies’ by 1-6 to 0-5 to become the first Fermanagh side to win an All-Ireland club final.

In fairness, there were no sour grapes from the St. James’ players or management afterwards because the reality is – regardless of that controversial wide – the Renmore/Mervue/Ballybane outfit should, and could easily, have won this in normal time.

With nine minutes remaining, St. James’ were in control, cruising with a three point advantage after a remarkable gallant bounce back after the interval. They didn’t kick on. When the stewards were instructed to take up their end-of-match positions with about three minutes to go, they were still two points to the good and should have ‘shut up shop’.

Lisnaskea’s most threatening player, Daniel Kille narrowed the gap to just one with a pressure free but when Conroy’s effort was waved wide – it surely would have been the insurance score – disaster struck in the form of ill-discipline.

From the kick-out, centre-forward Stephen Carters was racing forward in search of the equaliser when he was deemed to have been fouled by wing-back Tommy Walsh. The free was awarded just outside of the danger area but after dissent from Walsh, Kerry referee Pádraig O’Sullivan move it in ten, Kille stole a few more yards and suddenly it was within his range. The corner-forward held his nerve and slotted over the pressure kick despite jeering from St. James’ fans.

He should have known better but it was tough call on Walsh, a leader in the St. James’ defence all season who had earlier saved their bacon by dramatically stopping a Lisnaskea shot on the line.

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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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