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Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry are the talk of the county

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Date Published: {J}

NOBODY saw this coming. A team which couldn’t beat its Antrim counterparts in the All-Ireland intermediate club hurling semi-final last spring ending up in this year’s Galway senior semi-finals. It’s undoubtedly the story of the 2010 championship and Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry’s unexpected progress is no fluke either.

Remember, this was a team which had taken two attempts to get over Meelick/Eyrecourt in last year’s county intermediate final and appeared set to be more concerned about holding onto their newly earned senior status after losing a winning hand against Tommie Larkins in the opening round of the title race last April . . . but, now, incredibly, the East Galway men are just 120 minutes away from hurling history.

What makes the Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry success story all the more noteworthy is that these neighbouring clubs were separate entities until a few years ago, but their respective dwindling player numbers led to a radical alliance which has obviously been positively embraced by the sporting communities in both Tynagh and Abbey/Duniry.

Their amalgamation also gave new purpose to both officials and players alike, with the club’s 2009 intermediate title triumph underlining how seamlessly two struggling teams merged into a successful one. Last Sunday evening in Athenry, many people got a glimpse of Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry for the first time when they recorded a thoroughly merited quarter-final victory over a flattering Liam Mellows outfit.

It’s interesting to note that their extended management team comprised of eight individuals and while some would argue that having so many mentors militates against decisive sideline action, the flip ship of the coin shows that Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry have no shortage of people willing to throw their shoulder behind the wheel. It’s this level of enthusiasm which has helped the club become the talk of the county in hurling terms.

Admittedly, when they trailed a more seasoned Mellows side by 0-8 to 0-5 at half-time, it looked as though their giant-killing run might be over, but they had missed four scoreable frees in the opening 30 minutes while the team’s overall body language suggested that there was never any prospect of them being prepared to throw in the towel. In any event, it wasn’t as if their city opponents were anything out of the ordinary.

With their youthful energy becoming more critical as the hour progressed, Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry went on to restrict Mellows to three second-half points, while assembling 1-7 themselves. For a side so inexperienced to win coming from behind again reflects well on their mentality with a cracking individual goal from Shane Moloney proving the game-breaker. Veteran Liam Hodgins was cleaning up at the other end; his central defensive colleague Karl Kavanagh sent over a rousing point from play; Ger Burke thundered into the game around midfield; while arguably most eye-catching of all, Galway minor Padraic Brehony was a real livewire on the forty, scoring two critical points, in copperfastening his reputation as a player of immense promise.

Another bonus on the evening was the introduction of the injury prone Kevin Broderick. The former Galway player didn’t score, but he caused some panic in the Mellows rearguard and there was also the odd instinctive touch which showed why he was such an outstanding player in his hey-day. Broderick’s troublesome calf eventually forced him to retire, but he hobbled off to appreciative applause. Old heroes are never forgotten.

Goalkeeper Kevin Devine, Hodgins, Kavanagh, Declan Donnelly and other panel members, Noel Finnerty and Declan Power, are all survivors from that fine Abbey/Duniry team which came so close to winning a county championship in the late nineties, but they are all clearly energised by their new club’s exploits this year which has now seen them claim the scalps of Gort, Castlegar and Mellows in successive knock-out matches. That’s fair going by any standards as was Brian Cunningham’s accuracy in the opening-half at a stage when several of his team-mates were struggling to get to the pitch of the game.

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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