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Boost for Galway as Meehan set to line out in Belfast



Date Published: 12-Jul-2012


SO far, it’s been a ‘tales of the unexpected’ Summer in terms of GAA championship shocks and Galway footballers will travel to Casement Park, Belfast, on Saturday (3pm throw-in) with their early warning radar system turned onto the ‘highly sensitive’ setting for the Round 2 qualifiers clash with Antrim.

Galway will navigate north on Friday evening with the unwanted favourites tag firmly nailed to their backs, but in the wake of their Connacht semi-final demise at the hands of Sligo, Alan Mulholland’s charges will pay little heed to their 1/3 odds for the clash with Antrim.

Antrim mightn’t be regarded as being among the ‘big hitters’ of Ulster football but manager Liam Bradley made no secret of the fact that earlier this Spring they had targeted the provincial title, only to be thwarted by Monaghan in the quarter-final, but only just.

Liam Bradley’s team had looked to be on course for a somewhat unexpected success midway through the second half of that match following a James Loughrey goal, but by all accounts the introduction of one Tommy Freeman turned the game the way of Monaghan.

Antrim might have struggled to extract a 2-11 to 2-9 victory over London last month but with the exodus of young males from Ireland to England’s capital over recent years, the trip to Ruislip is not to be taken for granted anymore.

It is also worth noting that on the first Sunday of February this year, Antrim recorded a 0-13 to 0-12 success over Sligo in Casement Park, so it can be a difficult enough place to come away with a win.

Antrim are quite a strong and physical side, so Galway will be gearing themselves for a tough battle, and Alan Mulholland is under no illusions about the task facing his side on Sunday.

“We have been well warned that Casement Park is not an easy place to get a result from but, listen, this is the chance for us to re-ignite our championship ambitions and it’s a game that we’re all looking forward to.

“The way football is at present – and indeed hurling too after last Sunday – any team can beat any other team on a given day. Names and reputations count for nothing – it really is all about producing the goods on the day,” said Alan Mulholland.

The Galway manager said that the display of the hurlers last Sunday was an ‘absolute inspiration’ to everyone in the county and set a great example for the footballers.

“We will need a big display on Sunday but we’ve worked hard over the past five weeks since our defeat to Sligo. That defeat was a terrible disappointment to everyone but we’ve had time since to pick ourselves up and move on,” said Alan Mulholland.

The Galway team will not be announced until tonight (Thursday) but it is pretty certain that there will be a number of changes from the side that went down to Sligo in Pearse Stadium on June 9.

Galway have played challenges against Clare, Cork and Limerick over recent weeks and it seems likely – based on those lineouts – that Gary O’Donnell will take over the no. 6 jersey with Jonathan Duane reverting to a corner back role. The other corner back slot rests between Ballinasloe’s Keith Kelly and Corofin’s Ciaran McGrath.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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

Galway have lot to ponder in poor show



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013




GALWAY’S first serious examination of the 2013 season rather disturbingly ended with a rating well below the 40% pass mark at the idyllic, if rather Siberian, seaside setting of Enniscrone on Sunday last.

The defeat cost Galway a place in the FBD League Final against Leitrim and also put a fair dent on their confidence shield for the bigger tests that lie ahead in February.

There was no fluke element in this success by an understrength Sligo side and by the time Leitrim referee, Frank Flynn, sounded the final whistle, there wasn’t a perished soul in the crowd of about 500 who could question the justice of the outcome.

It is only pre-season and last Sunday’s blast of dry polar winds did remind everyone that this is far from summer football, but make no mistake about it, the match did lay down some very worrying markers for Galway following a couple of victories over below par third level college teams.

Galway did start the game quite positively, leading by four points at the end of a first quarter when they missed as much more, but when Sligo stepped up the tempo of the game in the 10 minutes before half-time, the maroon resistance crumbled with frightening rapidity.

Some of the statistics of the match make for grim perusal. Over the course of the hour, Galway only scored two points from play and they went through a 52 minute period of the match, without raising a white flag – admittedly a late rally did bring them close to a draw but that would have been very rough justice on Sligo.

Sligo were backable at 9/4 coming into this match, the odds being stretched with the ‘missing list’ on Kevin Walsh’s team sheet – Adrian Marren, Stephen Coen, Tony Taylor, Ross Donovan, David Kelly, David Maye, Johnny Davey and Eamon O’Hara, were all marked absent for a variety of reasons.

Walsh has his Sligo side well schooled in the high intensity, close quarters type of football, and the harder Galway tried to go through the short game channels, the more the home side bottled them up.

Galway badly needed to find some variety in their attacking strategy and maybe there is a lot to be said for the traditional Meath style of giving long, quick ball to a full forward line with a big target man on the edge of the square – given Paul Conroy’s prowess close to goal last season, maybe it is time to ‘settle’ on a few basics.

Defensively, Galway were reasonably solid with Gary Sice at centre back probably their best player – he was one of the few men in maroon to deliver decent long ball deep into the attacking zone – while Finian Hanley, Conor Costello and Gary O’Donnell also kept things tight.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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