Date Published: 29-Apr-2013
As referee Danny Corbett blew the final whistle at Fahy’s Field on Sunday, the post-match civilities took place and the Mervue celebrations appeared rather muted. Gary O’Connor and Ger McGrath’s charges had secured a point in a 1-1 draw with NUI Galway, but they awaited the final score on the nearby Jesuits Pitch where challengers Athenry required a win to maintain their distant challenge.
It didn’t take long to ascertain that OLBC were running out comfortable 5-2 winners and within seconds the Mervue huddle gathered and sounds of “championes” filled the air.
It was only the start of the celebrations, for as Niall Crossby brought proceedings to a conclusion on the adjoining pitch, Mervue United B had defeated Bohemians 4-2 and in the process were confirmed as Second Division champions.
A giant ring of two teams danced a jig on the lower pitch, before the B team eventually made it to the dressing room area, where the Galway FA’s Donnie Farragher presented the League trophy to winning captain Barry Connolly.
The defeat of Bohemians could have a huge significance for the long serving city club. Needing a win to preserve their Second Division status, did everything within their ability to gain a reward, but it was of no avail and whether the club have the stomach for Third Division football remains to be seen.
The long evenings allowed a full programme of Western Hygiene Supplies Premier Division action in midweek and with Mervue United, Corrib Rangers and a distant Athenry chasing title honours, the action was frantic.
At the bottom, matters are even more complex, for while Salthill Devon are already relegated, a posse of clubs are doing their best to avoid going down with them. West United were in the second relegation position, while above them Hibernians, East United and NUI Galway were all looking over their shoulder, as everyone required points for salvation.
In a tough contest at Fahy’s Field, an opening-half Eric Browne goal was enough to give Mervue United a hard earned 1-0 win over neighbours East United. Over at Westside, an early Barry Moran goal gave second-placed Corrib Rangers the lead at home to Athenry, but a strong recovery by the visitors saw goals by Ray Moran and Cathal Fahy help them to a 2-1 win.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
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
Sinnott hat-trick keeps Mervue Utd top of the Premier Division
Date Published: 18-Mar-2013
Paul Sinnott notched Mervue United’s first goal of the season back in August and the cultured midfielder hasn’t stopped scoring since as his hat-trick on Saturday made it 13 for the season as the Western Hygiene Supplies Premier Division leaders maintained their top spot with a one sided 5-0 win over an under-strength OLBC.
At Drom, second placed Corrib Rangers had it easier than the 3-2 margin suggests against Salthill Devon, while the students of NUI Galway eased their relegation worries a little with a comfortable 3-0 away win over Hibernians.
Corrib Rangers 3
Salthill Devon 2
Despite home custodian Juline Yaho having an absolute blinder, goals from Paul Scally(2) and David Goldbey that sealed this win for Rangers as they kept the pressure on Mervue in the challenge for honours.
That it took the visitors until the 33rd minute to make a breakthrough was solely down to the ability of Yaho to be in the right place at the right time, as a series of reflex saves was to thwart Rangers.
Controlling the early exchanges, Goldbey flashed a Moran cross off the crossbar and then returned the rebound at Yaho. The custodian then proceeded to frustrate Dave Smith and Scally with more close range saves, before outstanding central defender Enda Cullen produced one of many goal saving blocks in the penalty area.
The life saving of Yaho and Cullen could not continue and two set-piece goals before the break eventually gave Rangers a merited 2-0 advantage.
A Simon Walsh free-kick in the 33rd minute was met by the head of Scally. Walsh was again the provider on 45 minutes as Goldbey powered in another header following a left wing corner.
Despite the general Rangers barrage, the home side had their moments and opportunities. Tommy Bradshaw brought an early save from Geraghty, before a sloppy misplaced Walsh pass released Enda Dunne from half-way, but his terrific strike rebounded off a post.
Devon certainly made a quick impact on the resumption as Dunne clattered the woodwork once more from a free kick outside the box on 51 minutes, but were rewarded when Gus Ademoye finished the rebound to make it 2-1.
Rangers responded when Scally tapped home his second on 62 minutes and Jason Smith was denied a reward when smashing an effort off the crossbar.
Devon could just find a late Greg Sheedy goal as a reward and with just four games left in their campaign, they are running out of time in order to preserve their top-flight status.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.
No Doubting Thomases are left in Galway now
Date Published: 20-Mar-2013
IT’S no accident that St. Thomas’ are where they are this week – basking in the glory of just being crowned the best club hurling team in the land – as it wasn’t just talent alone which propelled the Galway champions to an historic achievement. They also possessed an admirable single-mindedness and absolute dedication in pursuit of their objectives.
Last year four of the squad, Cathal Burke, Patrick Skehill, James Regan and Cian Kelly all turned 21, but there were no parties or celebrations until a combined event was staged over the Christmas, as reported by the Sunday Times over the weekend. That’s extraordinary commitment by any standards and underlines the maturity which runs through a largely young team.
In becoming the seventh Galway club to lift the Tommy Moore Cup, St. Thomas’ broke new ground in becoming the first of them to go the whole way in their debut season at this level and though Sunday’s hard-earned success over a gallant Kilcormac-Killoughey wasn’t as swashbuckling as a couple of Portumna’s Croke Park victories, it won’t matter a whit to the proud people of Kilchreest and Peterswell this week.
Having got no help from referee John Sexton for nearly 50 minutes of an earnest struggle fought out in difficult conditions, the Cork official gave them plenty of help from there to the finish by controversially dismissing Kilcormac midfielders Killian Leonard and Damien Kilmartin. Both decisions were harsh and left the Offaly champions seriously handicapped in the closing stages after the teams had been tied at 1-9 each when the referee started brandishing red cards.
Of course, it doesn’t really matter now what would have happened if Kilcormac had finished with 15 players, but it is fair to speculate that there was no guarantee St. Thomas’ would have gone on to carry the day, although they had survived a mini-crisis in the third quarter. Leading by two points at the interval, Robert Murray and his team-mates struggled on the resumption and conceded four unanswered points to fall 1-11 to 1-9 behind.
St. Thomas’ were clearly rattled and with the heavy rain more disadvantageous to their brand of slick hurling, they were struggling to create the necessary space and openings against dogged opponents. They needed someone to display leadership in their hour of need and into that breach stepped former county player, the influential Richie Murray, to land equalising points while Kilcormac still had a full complement of players.
With young substitute Eanna Burke effectively swooping on breaking ball around his own half-back line, St. Thomas’ had no shortage of possession or territory down the home stretch, but their wayward shooting – 14 wides in total – continued to make life difficult for them until Conor Cooney landed the match-winning scores from out the field after intelligent lay-offs from Sean Skehill, one of the heroes of the club’s unforgettable season, and Eanna Burke respectively. The better hurling team had pulled it off, but St. Thomas’ also had to show courage and resilience against under-rated Kilcormac.
Sometimes, people forget how difficult it is for a young team to keep their focus when they are strong favourites to win an All-Ireland title and their opponents lose one of their best players, the injured Daniel Currams, days before the big match. Everything appeared to be falling in their favour and they also had to contend with all the loose talk around about the result being nearly a formality.
It is to St. Thomas’ credit that they didn’t get ahead of themselves against that background and though the team wasn’t at its best in Croke Park last Sunday, they still got the job done. It represents an extraordinary achievement and great credit is due to their management team of John Burke, Justin Flannery, Jimmy Kelly and Dinny Cahill for masterminding a glorious campaign.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.