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Two see red as Mervue are spooked

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 03-Nov-2009

HALLOWE’EN may have taken place on Saturday night but the nightmare arrived a day early for Mervue United as they were made to look second best throughout their clash with Sporting Fingal in Terryland Park.


The gulf in class between the two sides was evident all through the game, with Mervue’s frustration with their opponents’ dominance leading to the home side going down to nine men before the final whistle was blown.


Indeed, so much were the visitors in control that the game was over as a contest before half-time as three goals in the space of seven minutes from Fingal’s Gary O’Neill, Conan Byrne and Eamon Zayed sealed the win at an early stage.


Mervue did get a consolation goal thanks to a Mark Ludden tap-in, but the Dublin side soon added insult to injury thanks to a superb long range shot from Colm James hitting the back of the net.


Mervue’s supporters would have been disappointed but not surprised by the final scoreline, as in fact Fingal had several other chances that could have seen them stretch their lead even further. Even though the home side were without the injured Damian O’Rourke and the suspended Mike Tierney and Alex Lee, Sporting Fingal’s dominance meant that their presence would have had little effect on the scoreline.


The first of many goal chances for Fingal came on the eighth minute, as Mervue goalkeeper Eoin Martin did well to save when he was left one on one with Robert Bayly.


However, the visitors continued to pile on the pressure and didn’t have to wait long for their efforts to be rewarded. On 14 minutes a Fingal corner into the Mervue penalty area left the assembled players scuffling for the ball. Unfortunately for the home side the ball arrived at the feet of O’Neill, who tapped it in for the first goal of the night.


Mervue may have been disappointed by conceding such a scrappy goal, but they had no time to contemplate their mistakes. Just four minutes later, a superb Fingal cross from the left (one of many on the night) through to Byrne on the right side of the Mervue goal made it easier for the Fingal player to dispatch the ball into the bottom right corner of the net.


On 21 minutes another cross from Fingal’s Eric Foley gave team-mate Zayed the opportunity to score a third, and while his header initially hit the ground, its bounce worked in his favour, reaching the Mervue goal and leaving the home side shocked by what had happened in the previous seven minutes.


Mervue’s resulting frustration then reached a climax on 28 minutes as Nicky Curran was sent off for raising his leg in a clash with Fingal’s Colm James.


The visitors continued their dominance, and should have had their fourth after 41 minutes when Kevin Dawson got past the Mervue goalkeeper topass the ball to team-mate Zayed. However, despite the open goal just yards away, Zayed shot to the left and wide, giving Mervue a rare moment of luck.


Fingal continued their dominance right from the start of the second half, but Mervue battled on, and to their credit clawed a goal back after 54 minutes thanks to Ludden shooting from short range into the centre of the away side’s goal after a pass in from Pat Hoban.


However, this just spurred Fingal on to make more scoring chances and the visitors were unlucky when a long range shot from Byrne flew just over the Mervue goal on 65 minutes. Their perseverance eventually paid off, though, six minutes later when a superb shot from James at least 25 yards outside the home side’s goal went past Martin to reach the back of the net.


Some good link up play from Mervue almost paid dividends on 83 minutes, when a cross from Ludden to substitute Neil Douglas, who was unmarked in front of goal, was intercepted by Fingal ’keeper Darren Quigley.


But it just wasn’t to be Mervue’s night, and the final nail in the coffin came two minutes later, when Hoban received a red card for a challenge on Brian Gannon.


Going into their last game of the season away to Wexford Youths, Friday night’s performance would have given Mervue little optimism about ending their first year in Division One on a high. Still, after last week’s decision by the Mervue board to remain in the division, at least they’ll have another chance to impress next season.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy



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

BallinasloeÕs young squad aiming to floor Armagh junior champs

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

A new chapter in the history of Ballinasloe football will be written at Breffni Park, Cavan, on Sunday when Sean Riddell’s young side take on Ulster champions An Port Mor of Armagh in the All-Ireland Junior semi-final (2pm).

It’s the first competitive game outside the province of Connacht in 33 years for Galway football’s ‘sleeping giant’ with the enticing prospect of an appearance at Croke Park on February 9 on offer for the winners of what should be a competitive tie.

Ballinasloe have romped through Connacht since overcoming a couple of tricky hurdles on their way to collecting the Galway junior title, which was their target for the campaign this time last year.

With a return to Intermediate football secured, Riddell’s youngsters really have nothing to lose – while their triumphant march to county and provincial titles has revived memories of the club’s glory days when they contested three Galway senior finals in a row between 1979 and ’81.

Intriguingly, the seniors of St Grellan’s never got to play in Croke Park when they reached the All-Ireland final back in 1980 – they lost by 3-9 to 0-8 to St Finbarr’s of Cork in Tipperary Town.

This team’s progression has provided rich rewards for an abundance of hard work at underage levels in the past ten to 15 years and the current side’s ‘do or die’ attitude was very much in evidence in the cliffhanger wins over Tuam and Clifden in the domestic championship.


They are a well-balanced side who really never know when they are beaten and have an inspirational leader in county panelist Keith Kelly, whose exploits at centre back have been among the key components in their dramatic run to reach the All-Ireland series.

Riddell, who recalls playing senior football with the club during their heyday, is determined to get Ballinasloe back among the county’s leading clubs but, for the moment, he is delighted just to have a shot at getting to Croke Park in a bid to emulate Clonbur’s achievement in winning the title outright last year.

Riddell went to Newry on a ‘spying mission’ to see the Armagh champions overcome Brackaville of Tyrone by 2-9 to 0-11 in November – and was impressed by the quality of the football produced by An Port Mor in the Ulster final.

“They are a nicely balanced side who play good football,” he said. “There was a bit of the physical stuff you’d expect from two Ulster side, but I was impressed by their performance.”

An Port Mor became the first Armagh side to win the provincial junior decider. First half goals from Shane Nugent and Christopher Lennon sent them on the road to victory, before a red card for Brackaville captain Cahir McGuinness eased their progress to the All-Ireland series.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Coalition promised an ocean of reform Ð but the wind has gone out of its sails

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 30-Jan-2013


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