Date Published: 24-Apr-2013
Dara Bradley in Tullamore
THE writing was on the wall for Kildare early enough. It was only 30 seconds into the second half of the Cadbury’s All-Ireland U21 semi-final, and the raging hot favourites started where they’d left off in the first half – they hit another wide, this time from the boot of midfielder Thomas Moolick.
The disease had been diagnosed long before they’d reached the sanctuary of the midway dressing room, but Kildare had no cure for wayward shooting and damn awful shot-selection.
True, Kildare cut the deficit to two soon after that, and there was some concern when Galway lost two defenders to injury, Daithi Burke and David Cunnane, halfway through the second half, but really the shooting of Kieran McGeeney’s men was so haphazard they never got any scoring momentum going to put pressure on the scoreboard.
The Lilywhites added eight more wides in the remainder of the half, and when added to their ten wides in the first half, brought their total tally to 19 for the hour, a wide every three minutes on average.
It was calamitous; and had they been given 19 more shots at the posts we’d venture Kildare still wouldn’t have converted enough of them to win. Indeed, the two teams could still be playing today at O’Connor Park and Kildare wouldn’t have won it such was their shooting ineptitude, which was, in fairness, partly due to Galway’s mostly sturdy and dependable defence.
Galway’s attack wasn’t near as wasteful, registering just five wides, and one of them, a free from Shane Walsh that was signalled wide, actually looked like a score but thankfully it wasn’t significant.
The Kildare lads were as wasteful as drunken sailors on shore leave whereas Galway showed thriftiness in the forwards and an economical use of possession when within scoring range that would have impressed even the country’s miserly paymasters, the Troika.
In Shane Walsh (19) the county has unearthed a real gem, who scored more (six) than Kildare’s total points tally. Fleet footed, his class scoring abilities essentially was the difference between the teams, as the Kilkerrin/Clonberne teenager with his lightning fast pace tormented Kildare whenever he touched the ball.
Centre-forward Seán Moran, the official man of the match, is another natural talent that caused a buzz every time he got on the ball, and he took the game to Kildare from the 40. The likes of Ian Burke, a constant threat, lively Cathal Mulryan and Adrian Varley, though he didn’t score was involved time and again in Galway attacks, had too much footballing ability up front compared with their counterparts.
When a wide is registered, there’s a tendency to blame the kicker rather than the defender that stuck a shoulder in before the trigger was pulled; or the defenders who crowded round to tighten the shooting angle; or the defender who put pressure on and had enough of a presence to force the forward into rushing the shot.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
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
Galway have lot to ponder in poor show
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013
FRANK FARRAGHER IN ENNISCRONE
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.
Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013