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CorofinÕs walking wounded benefit from postponement



Date Published: {J}


COROFIN mightn’t have been happy campers shortly after 9am last Sunday as the team bus passed Oranmore and word came through that their match against St. Gall’s of Antrim was off due to snow, but the extra week has delivered a real bonus payment for the Galway and Connacht champions.

Three Corofin players – ruled out last Sunday because of injury problems – are now back in hot contention for places in the starting line-up for the re-fixed All-Ireland club semi-final at Parnell Park, Dublin, on Saturday evening (7.30).

Cathal Silke, Gary Delaney and Ronan Steede are all back in full training this week – they will give Gerry Keane and his selectors a very welcome quandary when they sit down to pick the starting line-up for their clash with the Ulster club champions.

Management are looking at everything from scratch, as they prepare for the Gall’s match on the basis that the team picked last week ‘was just for last weekend’ – apart from the long term injury to Michael Comer, Corofin now have a full hand to pick from.

The setting of a Saturday evening match is quite different, especially with the floodlights dimension but Corofin are no strangers to this scenario, with their own club having invested heavily a few years back in a state-of-the-art lighting system for their home ground.

There is though some disgruntlement from a club point of view at the Saturday evening timing of the match – they would have preferred an afternoon fixture to make life easier for family travel and especially parents bringing young children to the match.

That general gripe apart though, the Corofin team are eagerly looking forward to the task at hand, and manager Gerry Keane is satisfied but cautious in the build-up to the match.

“St. Gall’s are a very strong side and they have an incredible record in Antrim while their wins in the Ulster club championship told its own story about their ability and commitment.

“If anything, I would say that they are a physically stronger side than us and probably a bit more experienced too. They haven’t been made favourites for nothing and we have to respect their achievements both this season and over recent years,” said Keane.

However the Corofin manager is ‘delighted’ to have the trio of Cathal Silke, Gary Delaney and Ronan Steede back to fitness, a returns which gives management both a lot more ‘starting’ permutations, and also sideline options as the match progresses.

“We are sitting down to pick the team this week on a clean sheet basis. Last weekend was last weekend and as things transpired the game didn’t go ahead but really we have no other option but to re-assess and look again at the new scenario,” said Keane.

The manager is ultra-cautious about making any prediction over Saturday’s encounter other than to call it as ‘50-50’ but one senses that Corofin are razor keen to give this one a real go.

They’re not used to losing that much out in Cummer, Ballinderry and Belclare country – last year’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Kilmacud Crokes still cuts deeply. Many of the team felt afterwards that they just hadn’t done themselves justice on the day.

With Kieran Fitzgerald back in the blocks after a lot of injury problems, Corofin have a very strong defence right through from consistent ‘keeper David Morris to centre back Damien Burke.

Corofin’s biggest task might be in getting at least a 50-50 break in midfield from the pairing of Aidan Donnellan and Greg Higgins against a physically powerful St. Gall’s duo of Seán Burke and Aodhán Gallagher.

But Corofin, to plunder some rugby terminology, are good ‘on the breakdown’. As a team unit, they are great ‘moppers up’ of loose possession – especially on the fringes of midfield – where the likes of Gary Sice, Tony Goggins, Alan Burke and Ciaran McGrath are always very sharp.

With Joe Canney, Kieran Comer and Alan O’Donovan likely to be hovering around the full forward line, Corofin are not short on firepower up front and there is a sneaky feeling there that this attacking division can score a lot more on a ‘good day’.

Corofin, as might be expected, are sounding all the proper notes of caution in the run-up to this match and a really tight game does look in prospect, but given a fine evening and a fairy dry sod, Keane’s side will be determined to leave Parnell Park on Saturday night with different emotions to the ones they had this time last year as they trooped off Mullingar’s Cusack Park with heads down.

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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