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Wretched second-half display sees Connacht leave RDS empty-handed

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: {J}

Leinster 30

Connacht 20

Rob Murphy

For five and half games this season, Eric Elwood’s Connacht delivered everything that could have been asked of them but for 40 minutes on Saturday evening, they simply stunk.

Leinster ran up a total of 22 unanswered points in the second half as Connacht were guilty of poor discipline and no direction. Whether that has undone a lot of the positives from wins over Treviso, Scarlets and Dragons along with bonus points from trips to Edinburgh and the Ospreys is for time to tell.

With the Wold Cup winding up, this league will have a totally different landscape. If you’re squeamish it might be best to stop reading now, because what comes next is not pretty.

What is clear is that this Connacht side won’t have it as easy as they have done in the past six weeks where only three wins have been secured. A full strength Cardiff at home on October 29 is followed by a trip to Ulster before the Heineken Cup kicks into gear.

In all, Connacht will face 13 straight weeks of action, including six European pool games against the cream of the crop. A paper-thin squad will be tested to the limit and key players remaining injury free is imperative. The likes of George Naoupu at 8 and Miah Nikora at 10 are badly missed at the moment.

At half time at a half full RDS on Saturday all seemed well. Ray Ofisa and Brian Tuohy had scored twice in a brilliant second quarter response to Devon Toner’s early try, which was inspired by some excellent back play from Isa Nacewa and Eoin O’Malley.

One moment towards the end of the half brilliantly encapsulated everything that was positive about Connacht’s attitude. It came in a three minute spell of relentless defence from Elwood’s charges, every ruck was contested and as Leinster scrambled clear, the next receiver was enveloped.

The ferociously driven Johnny O’Connor led the charge making tackle after tackle; John Muldoon burst through rucks; Ray Ofisa’s influence was huge as well as he forced some massive turnovers; and in this late cameo they, along with Brett Wilkinson, Adrian Flavin et al, demonstrated their intense focus on securing the victory.

Saturday’s mitigating factors were injuries. Elwood didn’t champion the excuses but he couldn’t but refer to the fact that key personnel were missing and even within the game players who were having significant impacts on proceedings like Ofisa and Flavin were all forced off.

So what can Connacht achieve in the forthcoming mammoth run of 13 games? Four wins even? Well there is little point of suggesting goals without first giving what we might call ‘a state of the province address’. More simply than that, maybe we should just outline what Elwood’s likely starting 15 at the Stoop for their opening Heineken Cup game might be if there were no injuries.

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

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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