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Tiger’s a cheetah – and a leopard never changes spots



Date Published: {J}

SO there you have it – the Tiger was really just a cheetah after all. And if he’d bagged as many birdies on the golf course as he did in real life, he truly would be out of sight on the all-time winners list.

But transgressions can wreak terrible havoc on a man, even moreso when you sell yourself as the clean-cut sporting icon whose so chiselled chin makes you a perfect choice for cutting edge razor technology.

Obviously Irish soccer fans stabbed the wrong voodoo doll when they swore revenge on the Gillette endorsers – although Thierry Henry has some form in this department too, having driven off at some speed (and at some cost) from the lovely Nicole once the dust settled on those Renault ads of old.

It will of course be harder to hang anything on Roger Federer to complete the set, partly because the Swiss aren’t the most exciting race in the first place – but mainly because Roger is so dull he makes the rest of his fellow citizens look like the maddest of party animals.

But until Thierry Henry is hanged, drawn and quartered for his hand ball crimes against humanity, it’s Cheetah Woods who’ll continue to endure the closest of shaves.

How we love to see the mighty squirm –the man who, as the Sun put it, let his family down and his pants down has suddenly lost the veneer of an untouchable champion with the perfect wife – made in Sweden, finished in the US – to show his true colours.

It transpires that this Tiger just couldn’t keep his tail under lock and key and seems to have acquired more cocktail waitresses and nightclub hostesses than Simon Cowell.

Of course part of the problem is that sports stars like Messrs Woods, Federer and Henry have a different vocabulary to the rest of us – to a tennis player love means nothing; for a soccer star, scoring regularly is the key to success, and for golfers, birdies are the vital ingredient to playing a round.

Tiger broke down so many barriers as a sportsman – the expression on the faces of the old boys in Augusta when a black man first donned the US Masters green jacket would justify his entire career for a start – but in the end the man was just as human as the rest of


It didn’t matter that he epitomised the American dream; the greatest golfer of his day married to the beautiful Swedish au pair with the perfect children, the big houses, the Nike and Gillette endorsements to outstrip anything he could ever win on the course.

If you include Obama and Mandela, he is one of the three most famous black men on the planet – which is why you’d have to wonder how he thought he’d get away with it in the first place.

Of course he’ll recover, and in some quarters he has finally acquired an edge. Because being flawed can be an even bigger moneyspinner than being perfect.

Think of George Best, John McEnroe, Mike Tyson, Gazza, Eric Cantona, Eddie Irvine, even OJ Simpson; most of them brilliant at their chosen sport but equally as famous for their activities outside of it.

Of course we shouldn’t think of sports stars as role models in the first place – who’d want their son to base their moral code on your average Premiership footballer for whom roasting is never something to be done in the kitchen?

Tiger Woods will win more golf tournaments and – if he thinks he can get away with it – he will probably entertain a few more cocktail waitresses or nightclub hostesses at some stage on the golf tour as well.

Because when the nightmare is over, he’s still livin’ the dream. And if a Tiger is really a cheetah, he’ll know one thing about another of his wild friends from the jungle – a leopard never changes his spots.

For more see page 13 of 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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