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The Maroon explosion!



Date Published: 12-Jul-2012

Dara Bradley

GALWAY: Leinster senior hurling champions, 2012. Are you over the shock of it yet? It’s a few days on from Galway’s historic, incredible feat at Croke Park on Sunday and even now it hasn’t fully sunk in.

It’s not so much the win that shocked. In the build-up, even if they were given no hope by the majority inside and outside of the county, there was always a vague possibility of springing an upset and winning; the 2001 and 2005 defeats of Kilkenny proved Galway can raise their game and are a bit of a bogey team for the Cats every so often.

But it was the emphatic nature of the win and the ruthless manner in which the highly effective game plan was executed, the fact that Galway completely dominated one of hurling’s all time greatest teams, which took everybody by surprise. Not least Kilkenny.

Right from the get-go Galway set out their stall. Galway set the intensity levels, Galway set the pace, Galway raised the physicality levels, Galway dictated everything.

In the All-Ireland final two Septembers ago, the winners, Tipperary, did likewise and exposed a few chinks in Kilkenny’s armour in halting their ‘drive for five’.

But for such a relatively young Galway team and new management, in their first year in charge attempting to rebuild after a series of championship disappointments, to produce such a stunning, complete, all-round game of hurling was incredible.

Galway did to Kilkenny what Kilkenny have done to Galway and virtually every other team they’ve faced over the past decade – remarkably, they out-‘Kilkennyed’ Kilkenny. The Tribesmen completely wiped out Kilkenny; and when they had them on the ropes, they were unrelenting, upped the pressure another level and hit them again.

The whole 70 minutes plus was surreal but the first-half in particular was unbelievable stuff. Where did that performance come from?

In the league earlier this year, Kilkenny won the day with 25 points to spare; so for Galway to totally outplay the Cats – hammer them, in fact – and emerge with a ten point victory, 2-21 to 2-11, is a seismic reversal.

The attitude was spot-on. The maroon and white rattled Kilkenny with a first-half tsunami of fierce intensity and controlled aggression, the likes of which the All-Ireland champions have rarely experienced.

Galway tore into them with bone-crunching tackles, 15 Tasmanian Devils whizzing round the Croke Park pitch, hunting their prey in packs, hooking and harrying, throwing their bodies on the line, smothering the Kilkenny men into submission. Kilkenny don’t like it up ‘em, and it showed.

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody would have been forgiven for applying for restraining orders to protect his charges such was the intense level of harassment applied to them by the Galway players. There really was no let-up.

Anthony Cunningham’s men needed to start well, but this was fairytale stuff: 1-2 to no score up after four minutes, 1-6 to no score up after 17 minutes, 2-11 to 0-1, a 16 points lead, after 29 minutes. You couldn’t make it up. The Tribesmen were on-fire, unstoppable. Kilkenny were stunned.

Gunning for their eighth provincial title on the trot, the out-of-sorts reigning Leinster champion’s first score came after 19 and a half minutes, a free; their next score, their first and only white flag from play in the opening half, came on 30 minutes, and they went in at the break with a tally of just four points to Galway’s 2-12. Incredible – that must be a record in the Cody era.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



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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