Date Published: 28-Jul-2009
TO take liberties with a quote from Oscar Wilde, to lose one game by a point may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness. Well, in that context, it was a ‘careless weekend’ for the Galway footballers and hurlers after both sides were knocked out of the championship in defeats by the narrowest of margins to Donegal and Waterford.
Followers of the maroon and white in both codes left Markievicz Park and Semple Stadium in dejection after their respective defeats, the agony compounded by the realisation that Galway could – and probably should – have won both knock-out fixtures.
But Race Week is upon us and, once again, it’s left to the minor hurlers to carry the maroon flag to Croke Park as neither senior side showed the conviction, determination, or composure to close out their respective ties and make it through to the glamour August showdowns at headquarters.
The hurlers’ defeat was particularly galling, because John McIntyre’s men looked to have the beating of Waterford when they led by 16-10 with 13 minutes to go and 18-14 – after Damien Hayes scored an inspirational point – with just four minutes left on the clock.
But the Tribesmen probably did not punish the Deise enough when they were on top late in the first half or midway through the second half and then – Wham! Bang! – a couple of moments of madness turned the All-Ireland quarter-final on its head.
Three minutes to go, and late substitute Dan Shanahan collected a high ball before blazing it wide of the target. A minute later, another ball in and, after shaking off Eugene McEntee, Shanahan managed to release a hand-pass for another substitute, young Shane Walsh, to unleash the game’s only goal.
Galway were still in front, it was 1-14 to 0-18 in favour of the Tribesmen, but suddenly all the momentum was with the Munster men, with Eoin Kelly (free) and John Mullane turning the game on its head with two more scores in injury time. And Galway’s hopes faded as Joe Canning, fed by Damien Hayes, missed a last gasp chance of an equaliser which would have brought the tie into extra time right at the end.
Defeat was cruel on a Galway side who had largely outplayed (and sometimes overplayed) Waterford for most of the 70 minutes, without quite putting them away. The spirit of their more experienced rivals really shone through in the closing minutes, but this was one which Galway left behind them and it will rankle for weeks and months to come.
The trip to Sligo on Saturday evening, just six days after a one point Connacht final defeat to Mayo, proved just as frustrating for the Galway footballers as they succumbed to the intensity of a fired-up Donegal side who made up for their limitations with a workmanlike performance, epitomised by Karl Lacey’s battling display against Michael Meehan.
Time and time again, the footballers found themselves running down blind alleys,with a host of men in yellow shirts swarming around them, and their frustrations were evident in the in the dismissal of centre back Diarmuid Blake.
After showing some promise early in the League, Galway have now failed to reach the last four of the championship for eight consecutive seasons and this 0-14 to 0-13 defeat may lead to questions over the continued management of Liam Sammon, after two years at the helm; plus the futures of older players such as Padraig Joyce and Declan Meehan, who have given so much to the county’s cause since the glory days of 1998 to 2001.
But the glory days under John O’Mahony seemed like distant memories for the small band of followers who made the trek to Sligo to cheer on the men in maroon six days after Mayo had exposed their limitations, despite an unlikely late fight-back, in another one point defeat.
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