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Ten-man Utd start the new campaign on a losing note

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Date Published: {J}

St. Patrick’s Athletic 2

Galway United 0

Keith Kelly

GALWAY United’s season got off to a nightmare start in Richmond Park on Friday night, as Sean Connor’s new-look side conceded in either half and finished the game with ten men as Stephen O’Donnell’s competitive debut for his home town club was cut short after just 17 minutes.

The visitors can have little complaint about Friday’s result, or the sending off, but there is certainly no need for alarm bells as United more than matched their hosts at times, and the outcome could have been different had United kept their full complement on the pitch.

United opened their league campaign at the same ground last year and cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win, but it was a vastly different maroon-clad team that started on Friday night, Connor handing competitive debuts to seven players.

Barry Ryan, Seamus Conneely, Derek O’Brien and Jason Molloy were the only survivors from 2009 to start on Friday night, and it will take this new-look side some time to gel as a unit. But despite the loss, there were some positives to be taken from Friday’s game.

Gary Curran and Ciaran Foley each put in a good shift in midfield, especially considering the extra workload they had to shoulder following O’Donnell’s dismissal, while up front Karl Sheppard looks like he has some goals in him.

Cian McBrien also impressed when introduced midway through the second half, and with Bobby Ryan to be available for this Friday’s game with Bray, having missed the game against his former side through suspension, United have an ideal opportunity to put Friday’s defeat out of their mind.

“I thought Sheppard was tremendous tonight, he worked really hard. We haven’t got the ideal partner for Karl at the moment, and we have got to get used to playing with each other as well. We’ve a new team and preseason has been difficult, with putting a squad together and training here and training there.

“There were lots of positives for us out there tonight, you watched the game I thought we passed the ball better than they did tonight,” Connor said after the game, though Pats manager Pete Mahon offered a different opinion on that last point, saying “I don’t know what match Sean was watching if he thought that his team passed the ball, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt”.

The truth was probably somewhere in between – Pats went off the boil after that early goal, and United were the better team in the first half. But, as the game wore on, tiredness took its toll on the visitors and Pats sprayed the ball across the pitch, stretching United and there was only one team who looked like scoring in the second period, which they did 20 minutes from time.

It was all Pats in the opening stages, with Stuart Byrne directing a header straight at Barry Ryan, while Alex Williams somehow fired over from four yards after being teed up by Ryan Guy, and their pressure finally paid off in the eighth minute.

The home side won a throw-in down the left, and Gareth Coghlan clipped a ball into the box to no-one in particular. Thomas Heary attempted to drive the ball down the pitch, but it clattered off Curran and into the path of Stuart Byrne, who played in Ryan Guy down the left channel.

Guy took a touch before smashing a powerful shot high into the roof of the net inside Barry Ryan’s near post, the ‘keeper getting a hand to it but unable to keep it out as the American scored the first goal of the new Premier Division season.

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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Archive News

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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