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St. Mary’s bid for FAI Cup glory

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

Keith Kelly

St Mary’s College will be looking to keep the FAI Senior Schools Cup in Galway for another year when they travel to Flancare Park in Longford on Thursday to take on Salesian College Celbridge (kick-off 1pm) in this year’s decider.

St Joseph’s College (the Bish) won the title last year, and St Mary’s are expecting to bring a large travelling support to the Midlands for the school’s fourth appearance in the FAI Cup final, where they will be looking to maintain their 100% record in the decider, having lifted the Cup in 1988, 2001 and 2006.

The city side will go into the final as favourites, but manager Paul Concannon watched Salesians beat Cardonagh of Donegal in extra-time in their semi-final in Monaghan on Friday, and is expecting a tough battle.

“They looked very good, they were solid and worked hard and we certainly won’t have it easy against them. For some strange reason, the game in Monaghan was played on an astro-turf pitch, so that made it difficult, but I thought they did well, they look strong and it should be a good game,” Concannon told Sentinel Sport yesterday.

 

St Mary’s have cut a swath through the opposition on their march to the final, scoring a staggering 29 goals in their seven games to date, with the only real test coming against Presentation Athenry in the Connacht semi-final, with penalties needed to separate the sides after they finished 1-1 after extra time.

The partnership of Tony Ward and Shane Maughan up front has caused havoc for many a defence, with both chipping in with a goal apiece in the 4-1 demolition of Marist Athlone in the Connacht final, and Ward got on the scoresheet again last Monday in the national semi-final win over Scoil Mhuire Cobh.

Mary’s struggled to find their groove in that Connacht final win, but a three-goal salvo in the space of 13 second-half minutes effectively ended the game as a contest, and they were more composed against Scoil Mhuire last Monday.

Sean Glynn, who was sent-off in the Connacht final, returns from suspension having missed last Monday’s game, but Concannon is sweating on the fitness of Schoolboy international Rory Gartlan, who picked up a knee injury in the game with Athenry, and time looks like being against him.

“We are on a good run, and the amazing thing is that in the seven games we have played, we have only had a full squad to choose from once, but that shows the strength of the whole squad, and it will be very difficult to pick a team for Thursday,” Concannon said.

He has already had to make one difficult decision this week – the school’s U16 side played the Bish in the Connacht semi-final yesterday, and a couple of his players are also members of that squad. He and U16 manager Martin Horgan decided that the FAI Cup final had to take priority, and those dual grade players were withdrawn from yesterday’s squad, with the result that an understrength St Mary’s side lost 3-1.

“We looked to get the U16 game moved but we couldn’t, so we had to make the difficult decision to withdraw the players as the senior squad in the FAI Cup final takes priority. Obviously we would have preferred avoiding having to make that decision, but that wasn’t possible,” Concannon said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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

Ruby ready to rock again and Bob is worth a big flutter in Gold Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 06-Mar-2013

New edge to Galway hurling championship title pursuit

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A battle of talent and the ability to pull in public votes

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 11-Mar-2013

Here is a question. And there is no holiday or grand prize for getting the answer. But can anyone name the people who have won The Voice of Ireland and what has become of them?

Over across the water in the UK they have The X Factor and while I hate the concept of it, it has produced a few stars even though they don’t last long in the whole scheme of things.

But The Voice of Ireland seems to generate false excitement with the winner ending up become more anonymous than they already were. And it is costing families a fortune in the process.

While the programme is a ratings winner, strangely, it has resulted in those getting through to the final stages investing huge amounts of money in the hope that they will receive enough votes to get through to the next stages.

So, suddenly, it is not about the voice or the talent involved, it is all about votes and who the participants can convince to pledge their support for them. So it is obvious that talent goes out the window.

It means that someone with half a talent could realistically win the whole thing if they generated enough support behind them. From now on, the judges will be taken out of the equation and it will be left to the public to generate income for some phone operator.

Those who get through to the live performances have to engage in a massive publicity campaign in an effort to win votes which makes this whole effort a pure sham. It is no longer about their ability and just an effort to win appeal.

While the initial process does involve some vetting of the acts, now it becomes a general election type exercise in which the most popular will win the competition and the judges will have no say whatsoever.

It is a bit like the recent Eurosong in which the judging panel across the country voted for their favourite song, which incidentally was the best of a very bad lot, but then this was overturned by the public who chose a relatively crap song to represent us.

But again, this was all down to convincing the public about who to vote for rather than having any bearing on the quality on offer. There are times that genuine talent becomes overlooked because of the need to extract money from the voting public.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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