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Archive News

Stars finish with 14 in bruising decider



Date Published: 10-Dec-2009

HATRED might be overstating it but it’s safe to say Cortoon Shamrocks and Tuam Stars aren’t that ‘gone’ on each other. There was a real bitter bite in the air at Tuam Stadium on Sunday as these two neighbouring North Galway clubs squared up for the final of the Clayton Hotel senior A football league … and that’s without even mentioning the chilling winter winds.

Cortoon and Tuam unceremoniously tore into one another from the outset and it was looking early-on that the natural residual dislike of these linked parishes was going to bubble away at the surface for the remaining hour. And so it turned out.

There was ample fair, but tough, bone-crunching tackles, as well as niggling fouling and ‘afters’, ‘mouthing’ at and goading of opponents, the odd late and high challenge, and a couple of off-the-ball incidents as Cortoon were aiming for their first major title in recent years and Tuam sought to get back in the big-time by winning silverware again.

As if it needed it, a controversial decision from officials just before half-time, in which Cortoon were awarded a dubious point and Tuam were reduced to 14-men after an altercation with a player and umpire, only added to the tense atmosphere.

The December conditions didn’t help either and there was always a sense that the match could ‘boil over’ at any minute and turn into an all-out brawl but in fairness to both sets of players, it never got ‘out of hand’.

However, far from marring the contest, the intensity and physicality of the challenges, which brought a fresh meaning to the term‘bitter rivals, added a dollop of intrigue to what was a highly entertaining decider that went right down to the wire.

We won’t dwell on it too long but that dubious point was a real turning (and talking) point. The teams were tied three points apiece with a couple of minutes to go before halftime when Cortoon captain Derek Savage got on the end of midfielder Shane Gilmore’s punt down the left flank and the former All-Ireland medallist hit a left-peg shot into the town-end goal.

The ball was aided by a strong breeze and was curling all the time but in this reporter’s humble opinion, it actually just sailed wide of the right post. In fairness to the umpire, who was closest to the action, it was a close call but his decision to award a point drew the wrath of the Tuam defence.

Full-back Donal Marley was so outraged with the decision he became involved in ‘verbals’ and appeared to make physical contact with the umpire – referee Gerry Kineavey had no option but to issue a straight red card and early shower.

Up to that juncture points from Shane Curtin (frees) and Jamie Murphy had cancelled out Cortoon’s three scores which came courtesy of Shane Gilmore, Alan Tierney and Michael Martin (free) and Tuam would have been pleased going into the dressing room level, particularly given that Martin and Savage were not their usual selves and accumulated five first half wides between them.

The first 15 minutes of the second-half brought more intense challenges, was exciting and full of honest endeavour

but failed to produce a score until Tuam introduced two substitutes, John Ross Bodkin, who scored a point with his first kick of the match, and Rory Gaffney, who also split the posts, to freshen up their attack.

Gary O’Donnell, who was otherwise subdued at centrefield, bagged a monstrous long range point while Curtin converted a free and, suddenly, the pendulum had swung firmly in Tuam’s favour as they led by three points with seven minutes remaining.

Cortoon’s full-forward David Warde then scored a sensational goal, which was disallowed as Kinneavey had already blown the whistle for an indiscretion by defenders, although Martin converted to start the fight back.

Warde landed a free of his own a minute later and now the momentum was with Cortoon, and their dogged persistence was rewarded on the stroke of full-time when Warde was pulled down close in on goal giving Martin a simple tap-over equalising free.

It was helter-skelter for the remaining three minutes added on with Shane Gilmore and Curtin having opportunities to win it in injury time for Cortoon and Tuam respectively but neither efforts came close, which ensures a cracking replay is in store this weekend.


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

Call for poets to enter new competition



Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust is seeking entries for a new poetry competition.

The winner will have her or his poem published and displayed on the Arts Corridor of University Hospital Galway as part of the 2013 Poems for Patience. This is a long-running series which has previously featured work by leading Irish and international poets including Seamus Heaney, Philip Schultz, Michael Longley, Vona Groarke, Jane Hirschfield and Tess Gallagher.

The winner will be invited to read her or his winning poem in April, at the launch of the Poems for Patience during the Cúirt International Festival. Prizes also include accommodation in Galway for one night during Cúirt.

Poems should be less than 30 lines long and must be the entrant’s original work. The entry fee for one poem is €10. For two or more, the entry fee is €7.50 per poem. Payment should be made by cheque or postal order to Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust. The closing date is Friday, March 1.

The judge is Kevin Higgins author of several books of poetry and Writer-in-Residence with Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust.

Entries should be posted to Margaret Flannery, Arts Director, Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust, Galway University Hospitals, University Hospital, Newcastle Road, Galway. Entrants should put their names and contact details on a separate sheet.

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Archive News

The true story of the saint that the church wanted to airbrush



Date Published: 30-Jan-2013

Italian saint, Francis of Assisi will get a new lease of life in Francis, the Holy Jester, a free one-man show being performed at Muscailt Arts Festival on February 5.

The play about the renowned saint, who died in 1226 was written by Italian Nobel prize-winner Dario Fo, and this performance is by Mario Pirovano, a long-time collaborator with Fo, who translated the piece into English.

It embraces papal history, biblical stories, and controversial Italian politics while exploring the life of one of the Catholic Church’s most famous saints. It also shows how the medieval Church was so afraid of Francis and his relationship with ordinary people that it set about sanitising his legacy and elevating him above the reach of his followers.

Mario, who lives near to St Francis’s home of Assisi, speaks eloquently and passionately about the saint and the way that Dario Fo has brought the Francis’s message to modern audiences in a timeless, dramatic way, while casting new light on the famous Italian Franciscan monk.

But first, he explains why this was necessary.

Francis was born at the end of the 12th century and died at the age of 46. By then, he had created great embarrassment for the Church, simply because of the way he lived his life, explains Mario. He treated people in a genuinely Christian way and wanted to tell the Gospels in people’s own language rather than in Latin.

The Church hierarchy – what an awful word, he says – decided to rewrite the story of his life and, 50 years after his death, only one official account of his life was permitted by the authorities. That was written by a fellow Franciscan, St Bonaventure, who had been ordered to destroy many of Francis’s papers and write a sanitised biography. All other books on him were deemed heretical.

The Church was afraid of him, stresses Mario, and so decided to distance him from the ordinary people, by canonising him shortly after he died. Francis was the fastest saint ever produced in the history of the Church, being canonised within three years of passing on, says Mario. That took him away from ordinary people, as they felt they couldn’t aspire to such greatness.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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