Date Published: 24-Apr-2013
CIARAN TIERNEY AT SEMPLE STADIUM
THE feeling that Galway have made little progress during a tough Allianz NHL campaign was pretty emphatically reinforced by a rampant Kilkenny side who cruised to a comfortable seven point victory in a disappointing semi-final at Semple Stadium on Sunday.
After narrowly escaping relegation in Waterford three weeks earlier, the Tribesmen might have felt they were in ‘bonus country’ for this fixture, but it all unravelled with a familiar predictability as the National League and All-Ireland champions once again underlined their status as the strongest team in the land.
Kilkenny have unearthed an exciting young midfielder in Lester Ryan in this League, a promising goalkeeper in Eoin Murphy, and managed to register 1-24 despite lining out with an attack shorn of Hurler of the Year Henry Shefflin and T.J. Reid, both injured for the duration of the campaign.
There is clearly huge competition for starting berths on this Kilkenny side and the absence of manager Brian Cody following his recent heart surgery failed to disrupt the champions who barely had a weak link throughout the field.
In fairness to Galway, the distressing head injury picked up by team captain Fergal Moore after just nine minutes of action proved hugely disruptive, as it resulted in a delay of over eight minutes while he required medical treatment before his removal from the field.
Thankfully, the prognosis afterwards was not too serious after Moore was taken to Clonmel Hospital with concussion, but the players were not to know that until they withdrew to the dressing-room at the break. By that stage, they were six points in arrears and in some disarray.
The explosive performances of Richie Hogan and Richie Power in the central attacking positions, allied to the accuracy of free-taker Eoin Larkin, who hit 0-10, ensured it was a very uncomfortable afternoon for the Galway defenders, while midfielders Ryan and Michael Rice hit five scores from play between them.
There were some positives for the Tribesmen, such as the 1-3 hit by the tireless Cyril Donnellan, a strong performance by wing-back Aidan Harte, a lively opening by midfielder Joseph Cooney, and two superb saves from goalkeeper Colm Callanan, but ultimately they could have no qualms about the outcome.
At times there seemed to be too much chopping and changing going on, with Donnellan named at wing forward but spending long periods at full-forward, while Kevin Hynes – one of the few not to be moved around – found the going tough against rival full-forward Richie Hogan, who sent over five points from play.
Yet the Tribesmen enjoyed a bright start, with Joe Canning firing over the opening score following a foul on the hard-working Davy Glennon before Donnellan – set up by Damien Hayes – blasted the rebound to the net after his initial effort was blocked down by goalkeeper Murphy after just four minutes.
The unmarked Hogan, fed by industrious midfielder Michael Rice, then opened the champions’ account with a short range effort but a second Canning free made it 1-2 to 0-1 even though the Tribesmen were playing into the wind.
Kilkenny hauled two back, from Aiden Fogarty and an Eoin Larkin free, before the unfortunate clash of heads between Moore and the giant Walter Walsh which held up the play.
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