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Treacy takes top Galway GAA post by big margin

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Date Published: {J}

Noel Carney

PADRAIG Pearses clubman and former politician Noel Treacy made a dramatic return to the world of GAA administration at the Claregalway Hotel last Thursday night when he was elected Chairman of the Galway County Board at its 2011 convention.

The return to active duty in the GAA after a thirty-year absence due to a political career which saw the Gurteen man reach the post of Junior Minister of State is a remarkable achievement. However while it was a night of triumph for the new chairman, it was quite the opposite for his beaten opponent John Fahey who was the only other candidate in the contest.

Not only did Fahey lose the vote but he did so by a considerable margin, 114 to 49. That was quite a surprise to most pundits who had expected a close run battle. The St. Thomas’ clubman, who has given 35 years of dedicated service to hurling in Galway and Connacht as coach, delegate and administrator and who served for six years as Secretary of the Hurling Board, was entitled to be disappointed.

In wishing Noel Treacy well, Fahey admitted that “I knew that I was up against a machine” and that while he had made many friends during his career as an officer, “I must have made enemies too.” He also withdrew his name from the race for the right to represent Galway as a Connacht Council delegate.

In complete contrast, the night represented a huge turnaround in fortune for Treacy after he had been forced to stand down from Dail Eireann because of ill-health at the last General Election earlier this year.

However he was happy to confirm to the club delegates and officers that he was again in good form thanks to the efforts of doctors in Galway who he declared “were as good as any in the world.” Speaking extensively in Irish as well as English, he said: “ I was born in a GAA house, I live in a GAA house and I hope to die in a GAA house.”

He was initially reluctant to run in the election to replace Gerry Larkin, but was urged to do so by many delegates and it was only after much thought and consultation with his family and considering his current good health that he allowed his name to go forward. He looked on the chairmanship of the County Board as a “huge honour for me” and was proud to have been elected despite “having done no deals with anybody or any club.”

Treacy relished the new position and its challenges but in the euphoria of success, he was quick to praise his vanquished opponent. “I have known John Fahey since he first became a teacher in St. Killian’s Vocational School,” he stated, and then praised his record both as a teacher, as a hurling coach and officer.

It was a good night and indeed a good year for the new chairman’s club, Padraig Pearses. On the field, they survived the concession of one championship game without striking a ball when their efforts to postpone a match due to the death of club legend Fr. Nicholas Murray failed. After a series of narrow defeats in group games, they eventually emerged successful from the relegation battle. Now one of their own has secured the top post in the county’s GAA hierarchy.

Treacy joined the Ballymacward-Gurteen club in 1966 and has remained a staunch member ever since. He was later to become a founder member of the club’s football wing, St. Kerrill’s. Despite a thirty year absence from official duties in the organisation, he was always a familiar figure wherever and whenever Galway played in both big and small ball codes.

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

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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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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