Date Published: 03-Dec-2009
PERHAPS destiny had a part to play; that in the same month as the GAA celebrated 125 years of existence, a team named in honour of the man behind the association’s foundation should capture a title following this dramatic minor B hurling final in Duggan Park, Ballinasloe on Sunday.
Michael Cusack himself would have no doubt approved of this cracking tussle between two committed, skillful sides, both of whom were created to revive hurling among the youth of their areas. The fledgling amalgamation of Kilbeacanty and Beagh, in only its second year, prevailed on this occasion, holding on under intense late pressure to seal a one-point win.
On a chilly, blustery day this game was a credit to both sides and had supporters in the packed stand on their feet on many an occasion to witness the intense duels. In the end, Michael Cusack’s barnstorming finish to the first half, in which they turned a four-point deficit into a two-point advantage, was the game’s defining period.
In the warm-up Michael Cusack’s manager Kevin O’Grady had implored his forwards to pick a corner when going for goal and Eamon Skehill, although a midfielder, certainly heeded this advice to a tee in the 26th minute when he powered forward and drove a blistering shot to the top corner of the net.
Within a minute, Enda Craddock had fired over a classy point to bring the sides level and in their next attack, another goal was forthcoming when Aidan Fahey’s ground stroke from close range beat Kilnadeema- Leitrim ‘keeper Paul Howard. Despite having
looked like running away with the contest early on, Kilnadeema-Leitrim were suddenly behind and were unable to overturn the sudden swing in fortunes.
It was all so different in the opening ten minutes as Kilnadeema-Leitrim raced into a four-point lead with star forward Dara Herlihy to the fore. Eamon Skehill had opened the scoring with a free for Michael Cusack’s, but Kilnadeema-Leitrim were soon on top with
Herlihy converting two frees before setting up Gary Curley, whose sharp strike made it 0-3 to 0-1.
Curley and Herlihy combined again to force another successful free before Padraic Stapleton added a fine score when he cleverly robbed Michael Cusack’s Thomas McKeown, who was about to clear downfield. Indeed throughout the game, the high standard of blocking and hooking was noticeable from both sides as the players threw themselves wholeheartedly into the battle.
Kilnadeema-Leitrim looked likely to open up a game-winning lead, but two things quickly happened to change the course of events. Within a minute, Michael Cusack’s fired in a tonic goal to restore faith in their abilities as Brendan Burke’s cross-field ball from right to left fell invitingly for Adrian Touhey to fire to the net.
Added to this, Kilnadeema- Leitrim bafflingly decided to move Herlihy into right corner forward, where before he had been doing damage in the half forward line. Michael Cusack’s Jarlath Donoghue quickly switched corners to mark him, and although Herlihy added the next score with a free, his influence quickly began to dissipate.
With Enda Hughes and Jason Kelly growing in stature in the Michael Cusack’s half back line, they got back on level terms through points from Skehill and Adrian Touhey. As the intensity rose, the crowd rose to acclaim it, and although there may not have been a score for seven minutes, it was still gripping stuff.
Shane Lawless finally broke the deadlock with a wonderful point for Kilnadeema-Leitrim and the same player clinically found the net on 24 minutes after being set up by Curley. Michael Cusack’s replied in some style, though, as Skehill triggered their scoring burst before Herlihy concluded the half’s scores with a fifth free.
Within seconds of the restart, Cusack’s almost grabbed a fourth goal when Adrian Touhey bolted clear but was denied by a tremendous flying save from Howard. Skehill obliged from the ’65 and quickly added two frees to open up a five-point lead, while
Steven Diviney had to perform similar heroics to deny Herlihy at the other end.
As the tension mounted Cusack’s were guilty of some uncharacteristic wides while Adrian Tuohey was denied what would have been a fabulously- worked goal by Martin Costello’s timely hook. Another Herlihy free cut the gap to four before Kilnadeema-
Leitrim grabbed a lifeline through a goal from half back-turned-forward Mark Kelly.
Only four minutes remained when Kelly had another chance which would have levelled the scores, but this time his effort was weak and in a flash Michael Cusack’s had the sliotar at the other end where Shane Casey lobbed over a vital score. A goal chance was then spurned before Mark Kelly pointed in the final minute, but Michael Cusack’s held on through a surprisingly short period of injury time to claim victory.
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