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Working to bring GMIT up to sporting level of other ITs

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 31-Jan-2013

As third-level educational institutes go, GMIT may not enjoy the same high sporting profile as some of its counterparts around the country. However, the Galway college’s Sports Development Officer Molly Dunne and her colleagues are working diligently to change all that.

Two of the most recent positive developments for GMIT have been the introduction of a sports scholarship programme; and the announcement that the college is to host the concluding stages of this year’s Fitzgibbon Cup hurling competition. Understandably, Dunne is excited about both.

“The introduction of our Scholarship scheme this year was a big thing,” says the Eyrecourt and Galway camogie player. “We have a guaranteed investment over four years of €40,000 into our sports scholarship scheme and that started this September.

“We gave nine scholarships to First Years – because they are the ones coming onto the new scheme – and we awarded 12 bursaries to other sportspeople in the college. There were a number of other bursaries handed out as well [between the Castlebar and Letterfrack campuses],” outlines Dunne, a Business Studies & Sports Recreation degree graduate from Athlone IT.

Among the scholarship recipients are Irish boxer David Timlin (Mayo), Galway footballer Shane Walsh (Kilkerrin/Clonberne), Leitrim ladies footballer Roisin Fowley, former Galway minor Sean Collins (Ballinderreen), Salthill Devon and Zimbabwe soccer international Oscar Sibanda, Galwegians rugby player Paul Hackett (Oranmore) and the multi-talented Padraig Flanagan from Kilnadeema.

“Padraig has represented Ireland in volleyball at international level and he is also a Galway minor hurler as well last year. Not only that, he is also an international equestrian rider. So, hopefully he will make the international colleges’ team in that as well for us this year,” says 25-year-old Dunne.

There are also a number of noted bursary recipients, including Galway hurlers Tadgh Haran (Liam Mellows) and Ger O’Halloran (Craughwell), Galway and Killimor camogie player Ann Marie Starr, Mervue United duo Ronan Forde and Thomas King and Irish kickboxing champion Eric Daly.

“We would have had a panel of the three development officers – Damian Curley (GAA), Sinead McCormack (soccer) and Emer O’Dowd (rugby) – and I, along with representatives from the Students’ Union and the College itself. When the applications came in, we would have shortlisted them for interview.

“Obviously, there were then contracts to be signed to commit to us for the year. Provided they commit to a sport, the scheme is run over four years for them. So, if we are happy enough with the way they represent the college, and continue to develop, they will have a four-year scholarship with us.”

No doubt, the benefits of such a scheme – which is 50% funded by GMIT itself and the other 50% by the Students’ Union – are immense for both recipient and the college and affirmation of this can be seen in the other third level institutions that run similar programmes, including GMIT’s near-neighbours NUI Galway.

“I suppose, we wouldn’t be classed as a sports college here in GMIT and that is something we want to change through our scholarship scheme, among other things,” continues Dunne. “We are a college that would be that bit further behind when it comes to our sports facilities and one of my main aims would be to bring us up to the level of other ITs.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



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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