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Tipperary hitting form at just the right time



Date Published: 18-Aug-2010

WE are back to where we were last September. And, frankly, another All-Ireland hurling final showdown between champions Kilkenny and Tipperary comes as no great surprise. It’s what the pundits had predicted; the bookies had restricted their odds against; and what the general sporting wanted. Last year’s classic has whetted the appetite for more.

Kilkenny’s progress to a fifth consecutive All-Ireland final was widely anticipated and the Cats have achieved that notable feat with the minimum of fuss or histrionics. Heads down and as single-minded as ever, no team has come close to even ruffling their feathers this summer. If anything, they look more invincible now than ever.

Yet, there is general celebration that Tipperary have made it back to the final again. They are perceived as the best equipped outfit to trouble Kilkenny and having rattled the title holders to the core last September, they won’t be intimidated in Croke Park next month. After a traumatic day against Cork idown by the Lee last June, their form has been on a gradual upward curve.

The extent of Tipperary’s rehabilitation was underlined when they comfortably disposed of Waterford’s challenge in last Sunday’s semi-final. The general assumption was that it wouldn’t be the high scoring shoot-out which characterised their quarter-final triumph over Galway due to Waterford’s new-found tactic of defending in numbers and Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh tending to play extremely deep at centre back.


The Munster champions were again set up that way, but Tipperary had their homework done and placing young Noel McGrath’s on the forty worked like a dream. The Loughmore teenager raised five white flags from play in total and there’s not much point in having a centre back repeatedly covering his full back line if his marker is going to town out the field. Brick Walsh, a little over-rated in my view, still did a fair amount of tidying up, but Waterford’s main defensive inspiration was under serious pressure for much of the match.

With Eoin Kelly making no impact up front and the gamble of starting young Barry O’Halloran in his first championship match backfiring badly, Waterford had again to rely on the admirable John Mullane for badly-need scoring impetus. As usual, the feisty De La Salle clubman was up for the battle, but he was eventually overpowered in an attack which simply lacked Tipperary’s range of score getters.

Against that background, Waterford were never going to carry the day. Typically, they tried hard as a team and, when introduced, veteran Ken McGrath made a fairly compelling statement against the validity of his continuing omission from the starting line up, but they were coming off second best in too many positions while, tactically, Tipperary were forcing the agenda.

Mind you, there was nothing between the teams, at least on the scoreboard, as they shared ten points between them in the opening quarter. Still, it was already noticeable that Tipperary’s movement and support play up front was causing significant trouble for the Waterford rearguard. McGrath and the recalled John O’Brien were quick to make an impact and when Lar Corbett fielded a long Padraic Maher delivery before booting to the net in the 23rd minute, you just sensed that the game was already up for Davy Fitzgerald’s men.

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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