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



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



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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