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Tipperary hitting form at just the right time

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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

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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

Galway colleges crash out of Fitzgibbon Cup after losing vital ties

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Date Published: 13-Feb-2013

Mary Immaculate 2-14

GMIT 1-8

Fitzgibbon Cup hosts GMIT have crashed out of the competition after receiving a lesson of sorts from teaching college, Mary Immaculate of Limerick. in their final group game in a wet Carnmore on Tuesday.

The loss itself will no doubt bite hard with GMIT – had they won, they would have qualified for the quarter-finals – but the manner of their exit will be even more upsetting, given this performance fell someway short of the high levels of intensity they had brought to their opening two fixtures against UCC and NUIG.

In any event, once GMIT went behind to the Fitzgibbon debutantes in the second quarter, the Galway based college never really looked like getting anything from this contest. Yes, a flicker of hope was always there – they managed to reduce the arrears to three points in the final quarter – but, even then, they needed a broad stroke of luck if they were to secure a result.

It didn’t help that their top scorer – and, possibly, only real threat up front – Liam Mellows and Galway’s Tadgh Haran was forced to retire from the action with an ankle injury on 36 minutes, by which time Mary Immaculate held a 1-8 to 1-3 lead.

It was a credit to GMIT then that they managed to outscore the visitors five points to three over the next 20 minutes or so, as Ballinderreen’s Kevin Lane, Kilnadeema/Leitrim’s Shane Lawless, Killimordaly’s Darragh Cooney, Loughrea’s Paul Hoban (free) and Crusheen’s Conor O’Donnell all found the target.

Despite that spirited rally, which left GMIT trailing by 1-11 to 1-8, it was always going to take something special from the home side to preserve their Fitzgibbon Cup aspirations and against a slick Mary Immaculate outfit – and in the incessant rain – this never looked likely.

In truth, there could be no argument with the result. Although Clare’s Aidan Lynch netted a super goal – following good work from Kenny Feeney and Lawless – on 10 minutes to put GMIT 1-1 to 0-2 ahead, the major was against the run of play.

As if to substantiate this point, Mary Immaculate immediately shifted up through the gears and in the second quarter outscored GMIT by 1-5 to a point, with that GMIT score coming from a Haran free three minutes into injury time.

In contrast, Mary Immaculate were buzzing. Cork’s Luke O’Farrell seized upon a William Hickey delivery and rattled one off beyond Portumna keeper Joe Keane for his side’s opening goal on 17 minutes before adding a point moments later.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Galway girls make a splash on Irish U-15 water polo side

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Date Published: 18-Feb-2013

The Irish U-15 girls’ water polo team, which was backboned by eight Galway players, made history in Birmingham made history last weekend when they reached the final of the British Regional Water Polo Championships.

All the girls are members of Galway’s Tribes Water Polo Club, formed only two years ago by Deborah Heery and Amanda Mooney. To get eight members from one club onto a National squad of 13 was an achievement in itself for this new club, but to be part of an Irish team – which was captained by Galway’s Róisín Cunningham, Smyth – to reach a final at such a high International level exceeded all expectations.

Competing against Scotland and Wales, Ireland made it out of their group to a semi-final place against the much fancied North West A England team. The semi-final proved to be the game of the tournament with nothing to separate the teams.

After goals from Carmel Heery, Aisling Dempsey, Eleanor O’Byrne, Roisin Cunningham Smyth and a dramatic penalty save by goalie Ailbhe Colleran, the Irish girls ran out 7-6 winners to become the first Irish side to make a final.

In the final on Sunday afternoon, they met tournament favourites, London, who they had previously beaten in the Group stages. With excellent performances from Eva Dill, Ailbhe Keady and Laoise Smyth, Ireland held the experienced English team to a 4-4 scoreline at half-time, but the English team, with their stronger and more experienced panel pulled away to win the tournament in the second half.

The success of the Irish team in reaching their first ever British Regional Finals was enhanced even further when Tribes member, Carmel Heery, was nominated Most Valuable Player of the Irish Team

In addition to their recent International success these girls were also members of the Tribes Water Polo team that won the U-14 & U-16 National Water Polo Cups this year and the Grads invitational U-15 tournament.

The success of this young Galway Water Polo Club nationally and internationally is in no small way due to the exceptional ability of their talented coaches, Padraig Smyth, Amanda Mooney, Jeremy Pagden, Carol O’Neill, Roisin Sweeney, Cathal Treacy.

The Irish team was coached by Aideen Conway (IWPA) and managed by Tribes founder, Deborah Heery.

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