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Thrashed in Thurles



Date Published: {J}

Tipperary 5-22

Galway 0-12

Dara Bradley

in semple stadium

By now you’ve probably all heard a variation of the cruel joke – ‘fair play to the Galway players for sticking to their boycott and refusing to play in the All-Ireland U21 final at Semple Stadium’.

But there was nothing funny about Saturday night in Thurles as Galway slumped to a humiliating 25 points defeat – the biggest ever losing margin of any side contesting a final in the 47 year history of this competition.

It is also the worst losing margin suffered by any Galway outfit in a final in the modern era, be that at minor, U-21 or senior.


The decision by the ‘suits’ in the upper echelons of the GAA to allow this final to go ahead in Tipperary, turned what most observers expected to be a fairly uneven contest into an absolute shambles. It must be said that Tipperary, playing like they did, would have won this match in Limerick or Portlaoise but the CCC turned a difficult task into an impossible one for Galway with a stroke of a pen.

This was a farce; a farce from the moment on August 30 when the Competitions Control Committee (CCC) reconfirmed that the decider would be played in Tipp’s backyard, to the moment referee James McGrath sounded his final whistle to put all Galway people out of their misery.

And of course, let’s not forget the other ridiculous situation of allowing the Tipperary faithful flooding onto the pitch afterwards – attempts by the stewards to stop them were pathetic. No, GAA President Christy Cooney hadn’t much to say about pitch invasions on Saturday night.

Nobody has escaped from this sordid affair with reputations unscathed. The CCC was once again shown up for what they are in inexplicably deciding that Thurles was the fairest venue; while the Hurling Board officials, management and players must shoulder their share of the burden for this embarrassment.

Boycotting the final wouldn’t have done anybody any good and playing it didn’t do Galway any good either. But it could inflict serious harm on the fragile confidence of the young Galway players who may struggle to recover from such a hiding.

Galway played the decider ‘in protest’ but you wouldn’t have known it, apart from the virtual non existence of travelling support from Galway fans – many of them dyed-in-the-wool hurling people – who stayed at home on principle.

Perhaps the players should have refused to take part in the pre-match parade, a protest gesture to articulate their distain at having to play in Thurles and one that would have sheltered them from having to ‘run the gauntlet’ of more than 20,000 screaming Tipp fans during the traditional walk around the pitch before throw-in.

Hurling Board Chairman Joe Byrne and Secretary John Fahey fought hard to get the final switched but ultimately failed and now must take action to ensure this never happens again.

If they haven’t done so already, the Hurling Board needs to sit down this week and start drafting a motion to bring before the GAA’s Annual Convention this Winter that no final should be played in the home ground of one of the competing teams, and they need to begin lobbying other counties to support such a motion.

For more, see 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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