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Wegians leave it late in local derby

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: {J}

Galwegians 12

Buccaneers 11

A last-gasp drop-goal by centre Dave Clarke saw Galwegians snatch victory from the jaws of defeat to deny their arch-rivals Buccaneers in a tense and dramatic derby in AIL Division 1b at Crowley Park on Saturday.

The match was preceded by a minute’s silence to mark the recent passing of Bobby Deacy, Galwegians’ trustee and ex-President of the IRFU. The game itself was played in dense fog which made visibility difficult for both teams, but it was the visitors who started much the brighter.

Although lying in bottom place in the table, Buccs displayed much more urgency than their hosts and it was the Midlanders who took the lead in the 12th minute through a penalty from their South African out-half JH Potgeiter.

Wegians failed to heed the warning signs, and despite having a heavier pack, they were being dominated in both the possession and territory stakes. And it was no surprise when Buccs scored the first try of the game on 25 minutes.

It originated with a Wegians error from a lineout which saw them concede a scrum near halfway, and an excellent backline move with swift passing at pace saw centre Brian Tuohy create the opportunity for full-back Conor Lavelle who crossed near the left-corner for a superb score. Potgeiter missed the difficult conversion attempt, meaning Buccs were 8-0 to the good.

This was probably a poor return for the visitors who will feel they should have been much further in front, such was their dominance at this stage. However it did seem to finally spark the Blues into action, as they suddenly injected some urgency into their game in the last 10 minutes of the first-half.

Their first scoring opportunity came from a penalty by Rob O’Beirn from 30 metres, after Buccs were pinged for hands in the ruck. Then when lock forward Liam Scahill was impeded five minutes later, the young full-back and Ballinasloe native O’Beirn added a second penalty to reduce the gap to just two points.

This was how it stayed at the break, and Wegians started the second-half in the ascendancy and didn’t have to wait long to take the lead for the first time, as O’Beirn landed his third straight penalty in the 46th minute from the left-hand side after Buccs talismanic back-row forward Kolo Kiripati was sin-binned for a shoulder-charge. However despite continuing to dominate proceedings, Wegians were unable to take further advantage of the extra man, as a succession of unforced errors and some resolute Buccs defending saw them unable to stretch their lead.

After spending almost the entire third quarter on the hindfoot, the pendulum almost inevitably swung back in Buccs’ favour. Having lifted the siege, they spent the final 15 minutes of normal time camped deep in Wegians territory as they were pressing for the winning score.

With time nearly up, Buccs winger John O’Brien almost got in on the right-corner only to be held up by some heroic defensive cover by the tireless prop Ja Naughton.

Although severely under the cosh, the Wegians’ defence held firm and was admirable in its discipline, as they conceded no penalties during this time. But just as it seemed they would hold out, they were finally pinged by referee Richard Kerr in the cruellest of circumstances.

When after a drop-goal attempt by Potgeiter was charged down under the posts, substitute hooker Conor Muldoon pounced on the loose ball, only for the referee to judge him being in an offside position. This handed Buccs scrum-half Adam Kennedy the relatively simple task of landing what appeared to be the winning penalty, as full-time was up on the clock.

However there was to be one final twist. A deep restart saw the home side put immediate pressure on their opponents, and they came close to scoring a winning try with both forwards and backs almost getting over the line.

Then the final dramatic act came in the 85th minute scrum-half Kieran Campbell fed Clarke who had dropped back into pocket to strike the winning kick. Referee Kerr immediately blew the final whistle to send the home side into jubilation and leave the visitors disconsolate.

Next up for the Blues is a re-arranged fixture when they host northerners Ballynahinch this coming Saturday at Crowley Park (2.30pm).

Galwegians: R O’Beirn; A Esera, B Murphy, D Clarke, J Cleary; R Shaughnessy, K Campbell; J Naughton, D Murphy, J Stephens; L Scahill, B McClearn; A Conboy, I Muldoon, A Olive.

Replacements: D Boyd for McClearn; C Muldoon for D Murphy; D Murphy for Olive (inj) D McHugh for Murphy; R Dillon for O’Beirn.

Buccaneers: C Lavelle; S Stapleton, B Touhy, A Hayman, J O’Brien; J H Potgeiter, A Kennedy; B Gilligan, G Halligan, C Higgins; P Burke, J Tormey; K Kiripati, C Watters, C Rigney.

Replacements: M Staunton for Gilligan; B O’Carroll for Stapleton.

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

Ruby ready to rock again and Bob is worth a big flutter in Gold Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 06-Mar-2013

New edge to Galway hurling championship title pursuit

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Archive News

A battle of talent and the ability to pull in public votes

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 11-Mar-2013

Here is a question. And there is no holiday or grand prize for getting the answer. But can anyone name the people who have won The Voice of Ireland and what has become of them?

Over across the water in the UK they have The X Factor and while I hate the concept of it, it has produced a few stars even though they don’t last long in the whole scheme of things.

But The Voice of Ireland seems to generate false excitement with the winner ending up become more anonymous than they already were. And it is costing families a fortune in the process.

While the programme is a ratings winner, strangely, it has resulted in those getting through to the final stages investing huge amounts of money in the hope that they will receive enough votes to get through to the next stages.

So, suddenly, it is not about the voice or the talent involved, it is all about votes and who the participants can convince to pledge their support for them. So it is obvious that talent goes out the window.

It means that someone with half a talent could realistically win the whole thing if they generated enough support behind them. From now on, the judges will be taken out of the equation and it will be left to the public to generate income for some phone operator.

Those who get through to the live performances have to engage in a massive publicity campaign in an effort to win votes which makes this whole effort a pure sham. It is no longer about their ability and just an effort to win appeal.

While the initial process does involve some vetting of the acts, now it becomes a general election type exercise in which the most popular will win the competition and the judges will have no say whatsoever.

It is a bit like the recent Eurosong in which the judging panel across the country voted for their favourite song, which incidentally was the best of a very bad lot, but then this was overturned by the public who chose a relatively crap song to represent us.

But again, this was all down to convincing the public about who to vote for rather than having any bearing on the quality on offer. There are times that genuine talent becomes overlooked because of the need to extract money from the voting public.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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