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Stadium detractors come under fire at convention

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Date Published: 23-Dec-2009

COUNTY Board Treasurer Bernie O’Connor has launched a stinging attack on those who have made negative and derogatory statements regarding Pearse Stadium.

Speaking at the County Board Convention, O’Connor hit out at those who had bemoaned Pearse Stadium as the county’s premier GAA venue, particularly those around Tuam and the North Galway area.

“If people want to enhance their stadium in Tuam, there are plenty of other ways to do that than making negative comments about Pearse Stadium,” said O’Connor. “Making these comments on Pearse Stadium will not enhance Tuam Stadium in any way.

“So, I would ask people not to be making negative comments on Pearse Stadium as it serves no purpose to anybody,” he added.

No doubt, there is a perception among many in the county that Pearse Stadium is hampered by its geographical location. Indeed, many in North Galway – and, indeed, visiting supporters – have alluded to the traffic and parking problems on big match days at the venue, as was underlined when Galway played Westmeath in a qualifier tie at the venue in 2006.

Aside from that rare backdoor fixture, there has been a lack of high profile inter-county qualifier games at the City venue, particularly in hurling, and this has also coloured some Galway gaels views regarding the viability of the Stadium.

But Chairman of the Pearse Stadium Committee, Frank Burke has defended the location as the county grounds. He acknowledged there had been negative comments made in relation to the venue, but added: “The players are very fond of it and they are the people I respect most.”

He also highlighted that a lot of people had worked hard to progress Pearse Stadium and he, especially, thanked Tom Leonard who almost singlehandedly raised €100,000 in commercial income. “It is a tremendous achievement and I would like to thank him for his energy and enthusiasm.”

Burke also hoped Galway businesses would maintain their show of support for Pearse Stadium, which continues to service a €1.2 million debt, although he did recognise that it was “a very challenging time for both them and ourselves”.

He regretted that the financial downturn had forced The Eagles concert, scheduled to take place at the Stadium in June, to be cancelled, but he said discussions were ongoing with the only interested promoter.

“We are in on-going discussions with a promoter. I am not going to give a promise, but we are working very hard at it to ensure we have that income coming in next year,” said the Vice President of Connacht Council.

Burke also said the Committee would continue to push ahead with their plans to have permanent floodlights erected in Pearse Stadium and he called on Galway City Council to finally grant them permission to do so.

“Hopefully our proposal will be considered favourably,” said Burke. “It is a serious proposal that will enhance the sporting life of the city, along with benefit the domestic tourism industry. It will also enhance businesses around Salthill, and that has to be seen as positive. Our proposal deserves to be supported.”

For further reports from the convention see page 29 of this week’s Connacht Tribune

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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