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United looking to end 14-year barren run at the Showgrounds



Date Published: {J}

Keith Kelly

Galway United will be looking to bridge a gap of 14 years when they travel to the Showgrounds tomorrow night to take on Sligo Rovers in the Airtricity Premier Division (kick-off 8pm).

You have to go all the way back to March 16, 1996, for the time last time United won a league game at the home of their Connacht rivals, when goals from Mark Herrick and Jumbo Brennan sealed a 2-0 win. United have drawn five and lost eight of their 13 visits in the league since then, and that March win in the mid ‘90s is one of just three wins at the venue in 30 games.

That doesn’t bode well for United this weekend, but Sean Connor’s side go into the game on the back of a confidence-boosting win over Bray Wanderers last weekend, and the visitors will quietly fancy their chances of getting that elusive win, especially if they can repeat their first-half performance from last Friday.

New striker Karl Sheppard opened his United account with a typical poacher’s goal from two yards on Friday, but he offers far more than that, and his pace last Friday caused the Bray Wanderers defence all sorts of trouble.

Connor had said that, with Alan Murphy out injured, he had yet to find the ideal partner for Sheppard up front, but that may have changed after United yesterday confirmed the signing of Anto Flood, and he is likely to go straight into the side alongisde Sheppard tomorrow night.


Paul Cook’s side are tipped by many as darkhorses for the league this season, but they have drawn their two games to date this season and are already four points off the pace. They opened their campaign with a 1-1 draw at home to a Shamrock Rovers side missing the goalscoring threat of Gary Twigg, and followed that up with a 1-1 draw against Sporting Fingal in the Morton Stadium last weekend.

Matthew Blinkhorn and Padraig Amond will be a threat up front, especially given the way United have defended in their first two games of the season, but for the first time in quite a while, the Tribesmen should travel up the N17 in confidence.

Stephen O’Donnell returns from suspension, and with Gary Curran likely to start alongside him, they should rule the midfield exchanges over Richie Ryan and Danny Ventre. Derek O’Brien and Bobby Ryan offer a real threat on the wings, and Connor is likely to demand that his midfield put the ball in behind the Sligo full-backs of Paul Whelan and Iarflaith Davoren, who while dangerous in attack, is vulnerable when the ball is put in behind him.

When asked after the Bray match what would constitute a good result in the Showgrounds, Connor said “not to be beaten” and the fact that, Murphy aside, he has a full squad to choose from means he will be able to field a strong side.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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