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The statistics blow up in faces of Galway footballers



Date Published: {J}

STATISTICS don’t win matches as Galway footballers discovered to their cost when sent tumbling out of the Connacht championship at Markievicz Park last Saturday evening. The Tribesmen may never have lost a replay to Sligo before but that record finally fell by the wayside against Kevin Walsh’s rejuvenated charges.

Galway would also have drawn comfort from the fact that team manager Joe Kernan had never suffered defeat in a replay either when stewarding the sideline with Crossmaglen Rangers and Armagh, but Sligo’s overall tenacity ensured that tradition went out the window as they pulled off an improbable victory thanks to a late points scoring surge.

When substitute Paul Conroy angled over a disputed point in the 68th minute to put Galway two clear, the game appeared up for the home team, but Sligo remained unflustered and, in a welter of excitement, landed three unanswered points to snatch the spoils and set up a only the second ever Connacht final showdown with Roscommon.

On an evening of high tension, substitute Colm McGee emerged as the toast of Sligo when raising the match-winning white flag even if there was some question about the validity of the score as many observers in the crowd of over 12,00 thought the ball had drifted wide. At least, there was no doubt about Sligo’s resolve and the Division Three League champions deserve to be in the provincial decider.


Ultimately, the pre-match debate centred on an incident early in the second-half when Galway led by three points. Awarded a sideline ball about 35 yards out from his own posts, defender Gareth Bradshaw had what can only be described as a rush of blood to the head in trying to find his goalkeeper, Adrian Faherty. The wind affected the flight of the ball and the ever-alert David Kelly intercepted the pass before finding the Galway net.

It was a giveaway goal and threw Sligo a lifeline when Galway seemed to be taking control. Though they quickly re-established that three point advantage with Bradshaw admirably winning a free for a Sean Armstrong point virtually straight from the kick out, the manner in which Galway conceded the game’s only goal had to have rattled them.

Having lost both Michael Meehan and Finian Hanley to early second-half leg injuries, it was the last thing Galway needed and though they displayed no shortage of character with Joe Bergin, Armstrong, Padraic Joyce, who was again a class apart up front, and raiding wing back Gary O’Donnell all raising second-half white flags, they had little answer to Sligo’s power-packed finish.

Overall, there was a lot more cut and thrust to Galway’s performance compared to six days previously. Joe Bergin, who was prone to fouling, and Niall Coleman weren’t doing too badly in the midfield exchanges in the opening-half while the tireless Matthew Clancy was getting onto a lot of breaking ball. Joyce was also causing problems on the edge of the square.

But Sligo were up for the challenge too and though facing the blustery wind, they began well with the likes of Adrian Marren and Alan Costello picking off invaluable early points to settle a team which must have been still agonising over letting Galway off the hook the previous Sunday in Pearse Stadium. The experienced Mark Breheny was already an influential presence on the forty and he proved central to Sligo’s victory.


For more, read this week’s Connacht 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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