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Time for hurlers to end miserable Waterford record



Date Published: {J}


IT is time to put an appalling championship record to bed. The Galway hurlers face their most important fixture in six years when they bid to end a nine game losing sequence and reach the All-Ireland semi-finals for the first time since 2005 against a wounded Waterford side at Semple Stadium, Thurles, on Sunday (4pm).

If it’s hard to believe that the Tribesmen have only reached the last four of the championship once in the past decade, it is even harder to countenance that they have never beaten Waterford in nine championship encounters down through the decades.

No matter what the bookies say, history is completely against Galway ahead of this quarter-final. And, since their humiliation at the hands of Tipperary in the Munster Final, quite a few former Déise stars have gone on record about their county’s lowly opinions of the Tribesmen.

“The Munster Championship is gone and the All-Ireland championship is in, so it’s a different championship,” said former Hurler of the Year Dan Shanahan. “That’s what the Waterford players have to keep saying. Waterford don’t fear Galway, believe you me.”

Nine defeats from nine meetings, it’s a record that needs to be broken. All three championship games in the modern era have gone the way of the Déise, who hammered Galway in all three clashes during Galway’s ill-fated sojourn in Munster back in the 1950s and ‘60s, including a 7-11 to 0-8 trouncing in 1959 and a nine goal blitz the following year. The stuff of nightmares from the bad old days.

More recently, they recovered from a Munster final defeat against Clare to hammer Galway at Croke Park in 1998, brought Conor Hayes’ All-Ireland finalists crashing back down to earth in a 2006 qualifier and, most painfully of all, won a quarter-final they should have lost with a late flurry in Thurles two years ago.

Galway have lost by just one point to go out of the championship at the quarter-final stage in the last two seasons. Sunday’s rivals are aiming to reach the semi-finals for the fourth successive year and the 2010 Munster champions have not suddenly become a bad team, despite their 7-19 to 0-19 defeat to Tipp last Sunday week.

Their supporters view the Tribesmen as nice but brittle hurlers, who are unable to live with fired-up physical opponents in the white heat of a championship battle. That theory received huge ammunition when Galway lost to Dublin by 0-19 to 2-7 in the Leinster semi-final, but Galway have been on the road to redemption since then.

It’s the third year of John McIntyre’s reign and, if progress has been made under his watch, it really is now or never for Galway. Reaching a semi-final with the kind of momentum they have built up in successive wins over Clare and Cork, scoring 6-48 over the two games, could turn the trauma of Tullamore into one of the most memorable campaigns in years.

A group of players whose reputations were in tatters after that Dublin defeat have responded magnificently and the five changes in personnel made before the Pearse Stadium showdown with the Banner have reaped rich rewards.

Unlike two years ago, when key defenders Shane Kavanagh and Adrian Cullinane picked up injuries over successive weekends, Galway have a settled 15 for the third consecutive game. The selectors have kept faith with the men who started against Cork and Clare, although veteran attacker Alan Kerins will face a late fitness test on a hamstring problem.

“The stakes are high, there is no getting away from that,” said McIntyre on Wednesday. “We are where we want to be and though the Dublin performance rocked us all, it’s a tribute to the players that they have recovered so well since that game. We had been plagued by injuries up to and including the Dublin match.

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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