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Tynagh/Abbey get job done in replay thriller

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: {J}

Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry 1-20

Meelick-Eyrecourt 1-16

(After extra-time)


THERE was no dust rising from the edge of the square and the sun sat low in the heavens, but for all that backdrop of winter, this Finnerty Plant Hire intermediate county hurling final replay at Ballinasloe on Saturday was a red hot encounter between two sides of flawless character and honesty.

It mightn’t always have been open and flowing fare but if ever a game captured the parish heartbeat of the GAA then this was it . . . a parcel crammed with passion, honesty and a spirit from both sides which simply refused to die.

This was as hard and a competitive game of hurling as has been played in Galway all season with players from both sides doing everything, apart from separating body and soul, in their quest to be crowned intermediate champions and show their heads again in the big pool.

Every catch and puck of the sliotar was contested with a vigour and drive which would have done sportsmen at any level proud, and over the course of the 90 odd minutes required to draw a line between the two sides, there wasn’t a player who once pulled out of a 50-50 challenge.

For the partisan supporters in the crowd of close on 2,000, the tension cauldron had to be almost unbearable but even for the neutral observer, the sympathy pendulum oscillated from one side to the other with each passing minute.

Over the course of the normal time-span, Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry looked to have just done about enough to see them through only to be caught in the dregs of injury time when a 63rd minute Noel Kenny point from play put Meelick/Eyrecourt one in front for the first time in the match. Meelick’s timing looked to have been perfect but an epilogue was to follow.

Referee Michael Dolan still had 30 seconds to go, during which Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry launched one last attack, honed straight out of desperation and the spirit which sustained them all through the day — the sliotar broke to wing back Padraig Shiel, and from nearly 50 yards out, he drove it between the posts.

That tied the sides at 1-12 apiece as the referee blew up for full-time allowing both teams to re-charge in the dressingrooms after a 10 minute break. Meelick finished the game the stronger but Tynagh staged a miracle recovery at the death to keep the tie alive.

Eyrecourt had played with the second half breeze and continued playing the same way for the first period of extra-time but Abbey-Duniry had re-energised themselves after their last gasp equaliser. Former county and St. Raphael’s All-Ireland winner, Kevin Broderick, snapped up loose balls to shoot points at either end of the first period of extra-time with Ronan Madden also tacking on points from two frees.

Niall Lynch, Sean McCormack and the never-say-die Brendan Lucas replied for Meelick, but after playing with the breeze, they still trailed by one point, at 1-16 to 1-15, with the final segment of the game about to unfold.

A Noel Kenny point at the start of the second period of extra-time levelled the match again but that was to be the last time Eyrecourt would enjoy parity.

Broderick, although clearly hampered by a knee injury, burgled another point before Ronan Madden landed one of the scores of the match with a sideline cut from under the stand, well over 50 yards from goal. Gerry Burke put Abbey-Duniry 1-19 to 1-16 ahead before in the final two minutes Meelick-Eyrecourt secured a ‘21’ in front of the posts, after keeper Devine had saved well before being pulled by the referee for a pick-up off the ground.

The winners seemed to bring back half the parish to defend the free and Brendan Lucas’ well hit effort, caught a piece of Tynagh ash before ricocheting out for a fruitless 65 — Abbey-Duniry broke upfield and Brian Cunningham landed the insurance point from a close range free.Every score was hard earned in this tie with the goals coming in the first 11 minutes and both arrived via 20 metre frees. Ronan Madden drew first blood for Tynagh in 8th minute but three minutes later Brendan Lucas also hit the net for Eyrecourt.

The Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry half backline of Mark Gordon, Karl Kavanagh and Padraig Shiel was proving to be a major stopping point for Meelick-Eyrecourt attacks with their scoring threat confined mainly to frees from Brendan Lucas. The second quarter was a very productive one for Tynagh with Michael Dervan, Kevin Broderick, Ronan Madden, Brian Cunningham and Declan Donnelly all hitting the target, in the process steering them into a 1-8 to 1-3 interval lead.

With 12 minutes left in the match, Meelick-Eyrecourt were still four behind at 1-10 to 1-6, but three inspirational points from Brendan Lucas reduced the deficit to one, before once more Abbey-Duniry looked to have weathered the storm. A Brian Cunningham free put them 1-11 to 1-9 ahead with just four minutes left but then a magnificent point from Lucas, and a well taken effort from Niall Lynch, drew Meelick-Eyrecourt level before the late exchange of scores between Kenny and Shiel.

Extra-time told its own tale but there had be real sympathy at the end for Meelick-Eyrecourt and their manager Seamus ‘Ogie’ Moran, whose passionate sideline invocations to his young charges, also captured the heart and spirit of this match. The pain of defeat will of course hurt them deeply this week but their contribution to this sporting occasion was immense, and they can hold their heads high this week. They didn’t make it in the end, but they left blood, sweat and tears behind them in a noble quest for glory.

Damien Howe, Trevor Moran, Peter Stones, Ronan Larkin, Martin Larkin, Martin Corcoran, Niall Lynch, Noel Kenny and Trevor Moran epitomised the spirit of the side, while the scoring heroics of Brendan Lucas would have been enough on a normal day, to have him end up on the winning side.

Kevin Devine was very solid between the posts for Abbey-Duniry while Liam Hodgins, Paul Gordon, Mark Gordon, Karl Kavanagh, Padraig Shiel, Anthony Burke — who sent in some great deliveries from midfield — Ronan Madden, Kevin Broderick and Declan Donnelly all played big parts in a famous victory which brings them back into the senior ranks.

Few observers of the game would disagree with the assertion that this was undoubtedly the game of the season in Galway club hurling and despite the intensity of the exchanges, not a yellow card had to be displayed by referee Michael Dolan. This was amateur sport and the GAA at its most wholesome and endearing – both sides did themselves and their clubs proud.

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

Henshaw and McSharry set to field for Irish Wolfhounds in clash with England Saxons

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

CONNACHT’S rising stars Robbie Henshaw and Dave McSharry look set to named in the starting xv for the Ireland Wolfhounds who face the England Saxons in Galway this weekend when the team is announced later today (Thursday).

Robbie Henshaw is the only out-and-out full-back that was named Tuesday in the 23-man squad that will take on the English at the Sportsground this Friday (7.45pm).

Connacht’s centre McSharry and Ulster’s Darren Cave are the only two specialist centres named in the 23 man squad, which would also suggest the two youngsters are in line for a starting place.

Former Connacht out-half, Ian Keatley, Leinster’s second out-half Ian Madigan and Ulster’s number 10 Paddy Jackson and winger Andrew Trimble, although not specialist full-backs or centres, can all slot into the 12, 13 and 15 jerseys, however you’d expect the Irish management will hand debuts to Henshaw and McSharry given that they’ll be playing on their home turf.

Aged 19, Henshaw was still playing Schools Cup rugby last season. The Athlone born Connacht Academy back burst onto the scene at the beginning of the season when he filled the number 15 position for injured captain Gavin Duffy.

The Marist College and former Ireland U19 representative was so assured under the high ball, so impressive on the counter-attack and astute with the boot, that he retained the full-back position when Duffy returned from injury.

Connacht coach Eric Elwood should be commended for giving the young Buccaneers clubman a chance to shine and Henshaw has grasped that opportunity with both hands, lighting up the RaboDirect PRO 12 and Heineken Cup campaigns for the Westerners this season.

Henshaw has played in all 19 of Connacht’s games this season and his man-of-the-match display last weekend in the Heineken Cup against Zebre caught the eye of Irish attack coach, Les Kiss.

“We’re really excited about his development. He had to step into the breach when Connacht lost Gavin Duffy, and he was playing 13 earlier in the year. When he had to put his hand up for that, he’s done an exceptional job,” Kiss said.

The 22-year-old McSharry was desperately unlucky to miss out on Declan Kidney’s Ireland squad for the autumn internationals and the Dubliner will relish the opportunity this Friday night to show-off his speed, turn of foot, deft hands and finishing prowess that has been a mark of this season, in particular, with Connacht.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Drinks battle brewing as kettle sales go off the boil

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 30-Jan-2013

You’d have thought there might have been three certainties in Irish life – death, taxes and the cup of tea – but it now seems that our post-tiger sophistication in endangering the consumption of the nation’s second favourite beverage.

Because with all of our new-fangled coffee machines, percolators, cappuccino and expresso makers, sales of the humble kettle are falling faster than our hopes of a write-off on the promissory note.

And even when we do make tea, we don’t need a tea pot – it’s all tea bags these days because nobody wants a mouthful of tea leaves, unless they’re planning to have their fortune told.

Sales of kettles are in decline as consumers opt for fancy coffee makers, hot water dispensers and other methods to make their beverages – at least that’s the case in the UK and there’s no reason to think it’s any different here.

And it’s only seems like yesterday when, if the hearth was the heart of every home, the kettle that hung over the inglenook fireplace or whistled gently on the range, was the soul.

You’d see groups gathered in bogs, footing turf and then breaking off to boil the battered old kettle for a well-earned break.

The first thing that happened when you dropped into someone’s home was the host saying: “Hold on until I stick on the kettle.”

When the prodigal son arrived home for the Christmas, first item on the agenda was a cup of tea; when bad news was delivered, the pain was eased with a cuppa; last thing at night was tea with a biscuit.

The arrival of electric kettles meant there was no longer an eternal search for matches to light the gas; we even had little electric coils that would boil water into tea in our cup if you were mean enough or unlucky enough to be making tea for one.

We went away on sun holidays, armed with an ocean of lotion and a suitcase full of Denny’s sausages and Barry’s Tea. Spanish tea just wasn’t the same and there was nothing like a nice brew to lift the sagging spirits.

We even coped with the arrival of coffee because for a long time it was just Maxwell House or Nescafe granules which might have seemed like the height of sophistication – but they still required a kettle.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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