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Suspensions hit United’s date with destiny

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 06-Nov-2009

GALWAY United host Cork City in Terryland Park tonight (kick-off 7.45pm) in their final league game of the season knowing that their Premier Division survival is in their own hands.

 

A win will definitely see United safe from the relegation play-off spots, but a draw or even a defeat will be good enough as long as they match the result of either Sligo Rovers, who are at home to Drogheda United, or St Patrick’s Athletic, who host Shamrock Rovers.

 

Bray Wanderers have been relegated following their defeat to Derry City at the weekend, while Drogheda United will be in the play-off spots as a result of their defeat to St Pats. One of either United, Sligo or St Pats will join them, but United hold a one point advantage over both of those sides, meaning they are not relying on results elsewhere to secure their safety, although a draw or defeat means it may come to that.

 

“Cork will be desperate for points so it won’t be easy, but we can’t rely on anyone else. Pats are at home to Shamrock Rovers and they’ll be fighting for their lives, Sligo Rovers are the same. I genuinely don’t know what will be enough against Cork, but we’ll be desperately trying to win the game,” said United manager Ian Foster.

 

The team boss has a major problem in defence for the visit of Cork City as both first choice central defenders, Shane Guthrie and Garry Breen, are suspended. Throw in the fact Mark O’Toole is out injured while Iarflaith Davoren is struggling with a hamstring strain, then his options in defence are seriously restricted.

 

Sean Kelly is likely to fill one of the central defensive positions against his former club, while full-back Seamus Conneely played for the Irish U-21 in the centre of defence against Switzerland two weeks ago, so he could also provide emergency cover, and if Davoren passes a fitness test, then he and Paul Sinnott are likely to fill the full-back slots.

 

Foster is also sweating over the fitness of John Russell, who continues to be troubled by a ankle problem, and the club is awaiting the report of the surgeon to see how bad the damage is, and if Russell needs further surgery, and his chances of featuring tonight are slim.

 

At 28, Alan Murphy is now one of the veterans of the United squad, and he said that while the loss of Breen and Guthrie was a blow, he had no doubt the players who are brought into the side will do the job that is required of them.

 

“We are a bit of a depleted squad at the moment with suspensions and injuries, but we’ve got good character and whoever takes to the pitch will do a good job. We are a blend of youth and experience, and the way the economy is, that is what we have to do, we have to bring young players through.

 

“Look at Seamus Conneely, he is in his second full year and is now in the Irish U-21 squad. Paul Sinnott is another young lad and I thought he was great against Shamrock Rovers, he is a true professional, he is always available to play and will do a job for you, he is a great pro.

 

“Aaron Greene is another young lad, he took his goal brilliantly against Rovers but I would say he worked even harder after that goal in his defensive play. It is exciting to have such good young players, but with that comes inexperience. We have a good, young squad here, but with the economy the way it is, it will be hard to hold on to all the players for next season” he said.

 

He insists that nerves are not a factor ahead of the season- defining game, pointing out that instead the players have been relishing the challenge of the last few weeks. “It is exciting to play in these kind of games, we know we are in a dogfight like last season, but we enjoyed those games last year and we are enjoying our football this year as well.

 

United have made an impassioned plea to the people of Galway to come out and support the side tonight, and considering more than 300 made the trip to Belfield for the last game of the season last year when United were in the same position, surely it is not asking for much to have at least a couple of thousand in Terryland this evening. 

 

“If we can’t get a big crowd out for a game that the side needs to get something from, then shame on Galway to be honest,” said Murphy. “We’d love to get a big crowd out, and hopefully the public will get behind us,” he said. 

It certainly won’t be easy against Paul Doolin’s Cork City on Friday night, as they are in search of points themselves to guarantee European qualification, though there are serious question marks over their being allowed play in Europe next season due to the financial mess the club is in. 

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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Henshaw and McSharry set to field for Irish Wolfhounds in clash with England Saxons

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

CONNACHT’S rising stars Robbie Henshaw and Dave McSharry look set to named in the starting xv for the Ireland Wolfhounds who face the England Saxons in Galway this weekend when the team is announced later today (Thursday).

Robbie Henshaw is the only out-and-out full-back that was named Tuesday in the 23-man squad that will take on the English at the Sportsground this Friday (7.45pm).

Connacht’s centre McSharry and Ulster’s Darren Cave are the only two specialist centres named in the 23 man squad, which would also suggest the two youngsters are in line for a starting place.

Former Connacht out-half, Ian Keatley, Leinster’s second out-half Ian Madigan and Ulster’s number 10 Paddy Jackson and winger Andrew Trimble, although not specialist full-backs or centres, can all slot into the 12, 13 and 15 jerseys, however you’d expect the Irish management will hand debuts to Henshaw and McSharry given that they’ll be playing on their home turf.

Aged 19, Henshaw was still playing Schools Cup rugby last season. The Athlone born Connacht Academy back burst onto the scene at the beginning of the season when he filled the number 15 position for injured captain Gavin Duffy.

The Marist College and former Ireland U19 representative was so assured under the high ball, so impressive on the counter-attack and astute with the boot, that he retained the full-back position when Duffy returned from injury.

Connacht coach Eric Elwood should be commended for giving the young Buccaneers clubman a chance to shine and Henshaw has grasped that opportunity with both hands, lighting up the RaboDirect PRO 12 and Heineken Cup campaigns for the Westerners this season.

Henshaw has played in all 19 of Connacht’s games this season and his man-of-the-match display last weekend in the Heineken Cup against Zebre caught the eye of Irish attack coach, Les Kiss.

“We’re really excited about his development. He had to step into the breach when Connacht lost Gavin Duffy, and he was playing 13 earlier in the year. When he had to put his hand up for that, he’s done an exceptional job,” Kiss said.

The 22-year-old McSharry was desperately unlucky to miss out on Declan Kidney’s Ireland squad for the autumn internationals and the Dubliner will relish the opportunity this Friday night to show-off his speed, turn of foot, deft hands and finishing prowess that has been a mark of this season, in particular, with Connacht.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Drinks battle brewing as kettle sales go off the boil

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 30-Jan-2013

You’d have thought there might have been three certainties in Irish life – death, taxes and the cup of tea – but it now seems that our post-tiger sophistication in endangering the consumption of the nation’s second favourite beverage.

Because with all of our new-fangled coffee machines, percolators, cappuccino and expresso makers, sales of the humble kettle are falling faster than our hopes of a write-off on the promissory note.

And even when we do make tea, we don’t need a tea pot – it’s all tea bags these days because nobody wants a mouthful of tea leaves, unless they’re planning to have their fortune told.

Sales of kettles are in decline as consumers opt for fancy coffee makers, hot water dispensers and other methods to make their beverages – at least that’s the case in the UK and there’s no reason to think it’s any different here.

And it’s only seems like yesterday when, if the hearth was the heart of every home, the kettle that hung over the inglenook fireplace or whistled gently on the range, was the soul.

You’d see groups gathered in bogs, footing turf and then breaking off to boil the battered old kettle for a well-earned break.

The first thing that happened when you dropped into someone’s home was the host saying: “Hold on until I stick on the kettle.”

When the prodigal son arrived home for the Christmas, first item on the agenda was a cup of tea; when bad news was delivered, the pain was eased with a cuppa; last thing at night was tea with a biscuit.

The arrival of electric kettles meant there was no longer an eternal search for matches to light the gas; we even had little electric coils that would boil water into tea in our cup if you were mean enough or unlucky enough to be making tea for one.

We went away on sun holidays, armed with an ocean of lotion and a suitcase full of Denny’s sausages and Barry’s Tea. Spanish tea just wasn’t the same and there was nothing like a nice brew to lift the sagging spirits.

We even coped with the arrival of coffee because for a long time it was just Maxwell House or Nescafe granules which might have seemed like the height of sophistication – but they still required a kettle.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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