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St. Mary’s athletes in winning form at Connacht Schools

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

DESPITE the blustery conditions and occasional squalls the crowd gathered at the Athlone IT track for the Aviva Connacht Schools Track & Field Championships were treated to a fine day’s athletics, one that saw a number of old schools’ records falling as eight Championship Best Performances were set.

For most of the senior (U-19) athletes competing, this was to be their last appearance in the colours of their school, and the determination to go out with a bang was evident in the high level of competition throughout the day. The senior boy’s events featured a number of double winners, chief amongst them Stephen Kelly from Yeats College who set a new championship record for the 400m Hurdles (56.5s) while also taking the laurels in the 400m flat event.

Ben Cooney proved to fastest man in the arena when winning both the 100m and 200m finals for his school St. Enda’s, while Keith Fallon of St. Mary’s College, Galway came second in the 1500m. Peadar O hAirbhi, of Colaiste an Eachraidh in Athenry, was a convincing winner of the 5000m while Presentation Headford, backboned by 110 hurdles medallists Simon Callaghan and Sean Kyne, showed a clean pair of heals to all-comers to help their team to victory ahead of St. Enda’s and St. Mary’s in the relay.

In the field events, it was a good day for west Galway as Jeac O Gaoithain from An Ceathru Rua and Seamus O Conghaile from An Spideal won the Shot Putt and the Long Jump respectively. Oscar Becs of St. Mary’s took the javelin gold medal for the second year running with an excellent final round throw and, in the process, helped his School to retain the overall shield for best senior boys school for the fourth year in succession.

The senior girl’s events were equally as competitive and Mary Heavey from Presentation Athenry took the 200m title, while teammate Ashley McDonnell won the Triple Jump.

Another star performer was Loughrea VS student Melissa Barrett who convincingly won the Discus before finishing second in the javelin.

In the Intermediate (U-17) boys competition, Loughrea VS athletes were to the fore in the technical field events as Paul Asacious took the Shot Putt title while teammate Caomhan Conaglan won gold in the Triple Jump and the High Jump. An exciting Hammer competition saw All-Ireland medallist Eamon Regan from Castlebar edge out Alan Murtagh from St. Mary’s, while Evan McGuire from St. Josephs showed his versatility to take the Javelin title and the 100m Hurdles.

 

Also in the hurdles, Anthony Hebron from St. Mary’s, Galway showed his great potential with a convincing victory in the 400m hurdles event.

The middle distance races were dominated by Galway athletes as Finn Stoneman from St. Enda’s won the 1500m while Gary O’Connell from St. Mary’s just held off the challenge of his teammate Paul Fahy to take the 1500m Steeplechase gold medal. There was an excellent sprint double for Darren Whyte of Holy Rosary Mountbellew, while St. Mary’s College, was the convincing winners of the best overall Intermediate boys school shield.

Athenry athletes were to the fore at intermediate level as Mairead McCann from Athenry VS captured the Long Jump title, while Maria McNamara from local rivals, the Pres, took the High Jump gold as well as finishing second in the Triple Jump. On the track, her teammate Sinead Gaffney took gold in the 300m, finished third in the 800m and then helped her team to victory in the relay. Loughrea VS athlete Ciara Hanlon continued the gold medal tally for her school in the field events with a fine win in the Discus

At Junior (U-15) Boys level, Nicholas Sheehan from Oranmore finished second in the 800m, while in the field events, St. Mary’s College athletes were to the fore as Moycullen students Darragh Mulkerrins and Ronan Higgins secured the Long Jump and Triple Jump titles respectively, while Gabriel Garwe finished just ahead of his teammate James McMahon in the Discus. A further set of medals were won by Conor Harlowe and Jack Felle as they finished second and third in the Hammer. Oisin McNally from Loughrea VS won the High Jump.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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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