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Whining is real winner in the 2010 World CUp



Date Published: {J}

So it’s another tournament of the world’s greatest sporting event – the Compensation Culture Cup – where teams from all over the world gather together to see who is best at falling over in a box and making a big weepy moany fuss. You or I might walk down a street, spot a broken paving slab, accidentally fall over it a few times and then feign back pain for several years. But this – this is the big league.

These boys only have to roll around clutching their ankles for a few minutes and they get paid millions, even get to bring home a big gold trophy.

What’s becoming increasingly obvious is that the game of soccer is broken. As a friend pointed out, about the third or fourth most important skill for a player is the ability to act – in fact probably more cups have turned on brilliant exhibitions of writhing on the ground than have on spectacular goals. That makes about as much sense as replacing the rugby scrum with a saxophone solo or giving an extra point to the tennis player who composes the best sonnet.

Soccer has become a game of skill, speed and cheating, and it’s only the more embarrassing because the technique is to behave in the most delicate and unmanly way as possible. What could be less masculine than rolling round on the ground and pretending that you’re hurting really, really badly? Small children do that when they want hugs.

The time I was working with children in South Africa, we had a playground game that seemed to combine the rules of soccer, basketball, squash and possibly dodgeball as well. Well I say I "played", I actually had little idea what I was meant to be doing. It was complicated, and it was fast. And I’m crap at all sports.

So I slipped, and sprained my ankle pretty badly. I limped off the field to find a place I could sit down and work my boot off. My girlfriend started to come after me, but one of the boys spoke up. This was a great kid. He was about three feet tall and maybe not even ten years old, but he was so streetwise and worldly that even bigger kids paid attention to him. He was pretty much boss of the playground. "No," he said to her, "He is a man. When he is hurt he wants to be alone."

No wonder these guys stuffed France.

Is there a crisis in modern masculinity? Some think so, and put the blame on the changing status of women. Are men made insecure when women take on roles that were once exclusively theirs? That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I think we need to look instead to the most common role model for young males in modern society – the soccer player. Here are men – strong, fit, excellent specimens of men – being paid vast sums of money to get out on that pitch and behave like a bunch of whining ****ing preschoolers. These men want to be compensated for crying.

What’s a boy supposed to do?

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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