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St James’ minors aiming for 3rd title in 4 years

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 30-Oct-2009

THE task of preventing Corofin from pulling off a senior and U-18 double for the second year in succession will rest firmly on the shoulders of city side St. James’ when the two clubs clash in the county minor ‘A’ football final at Pearse Stadium on Saturday (2.30pm).

It promises to be a mouth-watering showdown between the two clubs who have dominated this grade in recent years as 2008 title holders Corofin face the Renmore and Mervue men who put back-to-back titles together in 2006 and 2007.

Corofin have been the giants of underage football in the county for two decades, famously winning eight titles in a row between 1992 and 1999, but St. James’ underlined their status as a coming force with their wins at the grade over Annaghdown (’06) and Monivea-Abbey (’07). Surprisingly, the clubs have not met at this grade in the championship in recent years, despite their ‘duopoly’, as they have not come out of the North Board and West Board in the same year. The minor championship is run along regional lines up to the showpiece final.

But both sides have ample experience at this level, as the champions will feature six of the side who accounted for Killanin last year on Saturday while St. James’ still have five survivors from the extremely youthful side who were top dogs in the county two years ago.

Both managers, the city club’s Sean Conroy and the champions’ Martin Collins, have completely clean bills of health going into the decider. It should be a fabulous game of football between two skilful sides.

“I’ve been very happy with our lads this year,” said Conroy. “I’ve been kind of surprised in a way that they came so far, because we thought Salthill and Killanin would be strong this year. I thought we were stronger in ’06 and ’07, because we had bigger men in those years, but we have improved as a team all-round this year.”

Micheal Breathnach took the city boys to a replay in the West Board final, and Conroy’s management team duly learnt their lessons by making two changes in personnel and eight switches for the replay, which they won by 0-16 to 0-9.

The selection of goalkeeper Nigel Walsh proved to be a significant change for the eastside club, who will look to the experienced Johnny Duane, Ronan O’Connell, Shane Coughlan, Mike Elwood, and Philip Ryan to build on their success at this grade two years ago.

While St. James’ are going for three titles in four years, and the club is hoping to put the disappointment of missing out on senior football behind them, Corofin are the undisputed kingpins of Galway underage football since Frank Morris and company radically altered their coaching structure in the 1980s.

An early burst of scores saw them hammer Monivea-Abbey by 4-9 to 0-8 in the North Board final and St. James’ will have to be wary of an attack in which Niall Collins, Ciaran Canney, and new club senior star Ronan Steede (two) all found the net in that final.

Steede, Collins, Adrian and Alan Molloy, Daithi Burke, and corner back Kieran Cunningham were all on the team which accounted for Killanin in last year’s final and another win on Saturday would wrap up a memorable year for the club in the county championships.

Team manager Martin Collins has been with these players since their U-14 days and was at the helm for last year’s title triumph. Collins coaxed an admirable performance from his youngsters as they avenged their defeat to Monivea-Abbey in 2007 and they never relented after building up an 11-point lead by the interval.

“I was only worried about our side of the draw, so I wasn’t worried about what St. James’ were doing,” he told Tribune Sport on Wednesday. “But I’m aware that they have a good underage structure and the teams who won the two-in-a-row were exceptional. They were very strong. We did a lot of work early in the year, but we didn’t look past each game.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy



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



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



Date Published: 30-Jan-2013


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