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U-21s give Galway football a huge and timely lift



Date Published: {J}


IT was a strange kind of scene for Galway football in recent times. Last Saturday evening’s All-Ireland semi-final against Cork had ended about 20 minutes previously and all over the pitch there were little huddles of supporters with bits of maroon regalia attached.

Shortly after, when the Galway team had completed their warm-down, they received an impromptu round of applause as they left the pitch – these were fans hungry for success but surely many of them couldn’t have expected to have their appetites satisfied last Saturday evening.

There was a decent hard core of Galway support in Cusack Park and most travelled in the hope of seeing a good performance but there was also a little fear of what Cork might do, in light of their 22 point Munster final win over Kerry.

Cork had come into this match with a bloated reputation and there’s probably no worse preparation for a big game than a facile victory in the previous encounter. Even in their pre-match mannerisms, there was a flippancy about Cork that indicated their minds weren’t in the right place.

By contrast Galway were gunning for action right from the opening throw-in by referee Joe Curley. Thomas Flynn, Fionntán Ó Curraoin and Micheál Boyle won the first three high balls – even when Cork went ahead 7-6 at half-time and 11-7 early in the second half, Galway were always sniping at their heels.

Flynn and Ó Curraoin continued to win the hard ball at midfield, the Galway backs although under severe pressure at times never lost the plot in terms of concentration and disciplined tackling, while up front – although a lot of good chances were missed – many more were being created.

Maybe at 11-7 down, 11 minutes into the second half, the dream threatened to die but then Eric Monahan and Mark Hehir delivered pressure scores to swing the game back the way of Galway.

Micheál Boyle’s classic 51st minute goal might have been the knock-out left hook, but before that blow to the point of the Cork chin, the barrage of jabs had made the opening.

When sub Michael Farragher expertly stroked over Galway’s last point of the match to put them three ahead, many tough Sundays earlier this Spring at Newry, Clones, Killarney, Tuam and Pearse Stadium had been shoved aside. Sport had thrown up another of those unexpected days.

Defeat is always a painful feeling but a glance at the Cork faces walking off under the stand shortly before eight o clock last Saturday painted a picture of shock and disbelief, as much as disappointment. They just hadn’t seen this one coming.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



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



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

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



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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