Date Published: 02-Apr-2013
Rob Murphy at the Mardyke
THERE have been great days in the long history of Corinthians RFC and some of them will neatly fit alongside Saturday’s win at the Mardyke in Cork city in terms of importance, but none will surpass it.
The three point triumph over the talented students from UCC was enough to secure Corinthians promotion to the second tier of All Ireland League rugby, the highest position they’ve experienced for over 20 years.
Picture the scene: players, replacements, mentors and three bus loads of supporters on the pitch at full time. All in a huddle. First year coach Phil Pretorius and captain Finn Gormley spoke about a bone crunching season, supreme dedication and thanked their followers, it was a special moment.
Corinthians have been progressing for more than one year. Back in 2009 they ended a 13 year spell in the fourth tier by winning the league title before spendingthe next three seasons in the top half of the third tier perfectly poised for this season’s assault on promotion.
The raw materials were in place but the arrival of Phil Pretorius proved key. The highly qualified Springbok has coached at inter-varisity, Currie Cup and Super 14 level over the past two decades and when he applied for the job, the Corinthian committee thought he might have made a mistake, they couldn’t believe their luck.
Pretorius isn’t just head coach of the first team, he’s Director of Rugby at the club and that’s important because he takes his role well beyond the intricate workings of his first 15. This promotion was a collective effort by the whole club.
The raw materials he inherited included a generation of talent that emerged around that first promotion four years ago. Captain Gormley is at the centre of that. James Buckley, Colin Raftery Sean Gerrity and Aaron Coneely are included. James Buckley, Cian Begley and others have been waiting for this chance too.
The Connacht development players have bought into the cause in every possible way and performed brilliantly this season. Irish under 21 full back Dave Panther, Tralee native Ultan Dillane, Ausie Finlay Bealham and Corkonian Kevin O’Byrne caught the bug and haven’t looked back.
Balanced alongside all that is the experience of Tom Tolan, Aurilien Cassanova, Darin Classens and Gary Warde. Stalwarts, grafters and vital components along with the wider squad who have played their parts at different points along the way.
Heading into Saturday’s tussle, the task was clear. They led UCC by six points in the table and were tied with Terenure. Two sides go up automatically so with two games remaining, a win of any kind would propel them to Division 1b.
The start from the Galway visitors was tone setting, spurred on by a huge roar from their support as they took to the field they opened at a high tempo. Mick O’Flynn had the first points on the board by the sixth minute and they spent much of the first quarter attacking the home line.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.
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