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White flag raised for club hurlingÕs most elite championship

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 24-Apr-2013


IT may sound like blowing the Galway trumpet but, most will agree, when the small ball is launched into that air-tight vacuum at the feet of the respective midfield pairings this weekend, it will signal that the country’s most decorated and highly regarded senior hurling club championship – and all the excitement that goes with it – is firmly underway once again.

In what many believe to be the most open of county championships in years, it’s notable that three of the top five contenders – reigning champions St. Thomas’, 2010 victors Clarinbridge and three-time winners Portumna – have won All-Ireland club titles in the last five years while two of the remaining challengers, Gort and Loughrea, have claimed the County Cup in the last eight years.

There are also a number of dark horses in the chasing pack and these include 2012 semi-finalists Turloughmore, Mullagh, Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry, former All-Ireland winners Sarsfields and last year’s U-21 victors Craughwell. It all adds to the intrigue of the 2013 competition and makes for interesting fare.

In the intermediate championship, 2012 finalists Ahascragh/Fohenagh have a difficult assignment against Michael Gallagher’s Ballinderreen in Loughrea on Saturday (6:30pm) while Meelick/Eyrecourt, now under the management of David Kelly, should get off to a winning start against Gort’s second string in Craughwell on Sunday (6:30pm).

Others strongly fancied to secure opening round victories in the intermediate championship are Oranmore/Maree, Rahoon/Newcastle, Killimor and Kilnadeema/Leitrim. (See fixtures for details).


Mullagh v Beagh

(Loughrea, 5pm)

Beagh manager Brendan Gantley must plan for this difficult championship opener without the services of lively sharpshooter Padraig Landers, who is serving in the Lebanon. Already, Eamonn Skehill will miss the year through injury while PJ McAllen (shoulder) and Damien Landers (ankle) look set to miss the first round tie. Rory Gantley captains the South Galway outfit.

For Mullagh’s part, full-back Alan Gaynor (ankle), wing-back Alan Whyte (hand) and Donal Reilly (thumb) are all sidelined at present through injury. Forwards Damien Monaghan and Craig Finnerty both nurse dead legs but are expected to be fit for selection.

Given the absentees on both sides – and the close nature of last year’s contest, a draw – this is a difficult one to call but with David Glennon in such sparkling form at the moment, he could and should be the match winner for Mullagh, who are managed by Kevin Coen and captained by Finian Coone. Verdict: Mullagh.

Last meeting: 2012 (Group) Beagh 1-16, Mullagh 3-10.

Match odds: Mullagh 8/13, draw 8/1, Beagh 6/4.

Kiltormer v Tynagh/


(Duggan Park,

Ballinasloe 5pm)

Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry have two major injury worries in versatile duo Michael Dervan (hand) and Paul Gordon (foot) while two of the side’s elder statesmen, goalkeeper Kevin Devine and former Galway star Kevin Broderick, have not returned to the squad as of yet due to family commitments.

However, they can call on a number of the U-21 side which has reached the upcoming county championship ‘A’ final, including custodian Mike Fahy, the classy Paul Killeen, Kevin Moloney, Padraig Breheny and Shane Moloney.

For Kiltormer manager Brian Whelehan and selectors Tony Hough and Mike Coleman, full-back Shane Staunton (groin) is a long term concern while Micheal Greaney is struggling with a calf injury. Added to this, wing-back Quentin Lynch and corner forward Enda Fenton have left for London.

However, Shane Tierney, Justin Donnelly, David Hayes, Jason Kilkenny, Conor Ryan, Keith Kilkenny and Kevin McKeigue still form a strong nucleus within the squad. Verdict: Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry.

Last meeting: 2011 (Group) Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry 0-22, Kiltormer 1-10.

Match odds: Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry 1/5, draw 10/1, Kiltormer 4/1.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

BallinasloeÕs young squad aiming to floor Armagh junior champs

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

A new chapter in the history of Ballinasloe football will be written at Breffni Park, Cavan, on Sunday when Sean Riddell’s young side take on Ulster champions An Port Mor of Armagh in the All-Ireland Junior semi-final (2pm).

It’s the first competitive game outside the province of Connacht in 33 years for Galway football’s ‘sleeping giant’ with the enticing prospect of an appearance at Croke Park on February 9 on offer for the winners of what should be a competitive tie.

Ballinasloe have romped through Connacht since overcoming a couple of tricky hurdles on their way to collecting the Galway junior title, which was their target for the campaign this time last year.

With a return to Intermediate football secured, Riddell’s youngsters really have nothing to lose – while their triumphant march to county and provincial titles has revived memories of the club’s glory days when they contested three Galway senior finals in a row between 1979 and ’81.

Intriguingly, the seniors of St Grellan’s never got to play in Croke Park when they reached the All-Ireland final back in 1980 – they lost by 3-9 to 0-8 to St Finbarr’s of Cork in Tipperary Town.

This team’s progression has provided rich rewards for an abundance of hard work at underage levels in the past ten to 15 years and the current side’s ‘do or die’ attitude was very much in evidence in the cliffhanger wins over Tuam and Clifden in the domestic championship.


They are a well-balanced side who really never know when they are beaten and have an inspirational leader in county panelist Keith Kelly, whose exploits at centre back have been among the key components in their dramatic run to reach the All-Ireland series.

Riddell, who recalls playing senior football with the club during their heyday, is determined to get Ballinasloe back among the county’s leading clubs but, for the moment, he is delighted just to have a shot at getting to Croke Park in a bid to emulate Clonbur’s achievement in winning the title outright last year.

Riddell went to Newry on a ‘spying mission’ to see the Armagh champions overcome Brackaville of Tyrone by 2-9 to 0-11 in November – and was impressed by the quality of the football produced by An Port Mor in the Ulster final.

“They are a nicely balanced side who play good football,” he said. “There was a bit of the physical stuff you’d expect from two Ulster side, but I was impressed by their performance.”

An Port Mor became the first Armagh side to win the provincial junior decider. First half goals from Shane Nugent and Christopher Lennon sent them on the road to victory, before a red card for Brackaville captain Cahir McGuinness eased their progress to the All-Ireland series.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Coalition promised an ocean of reform Ð but the wind has gone out of its sails

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 30-Jan-2013


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