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St. Mary’s bid for FAI Cup glory

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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

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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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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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

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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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