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Fitzgerald boost as Corofin face difficult hurdle



Date Published: {J}

Dara Bradley

STALWART defender Kieran Fitzgerald has recovered from a recurring hamstring injury, giving Corofin a lift as they prepare for a mighty battle with St Gall’s of Antrim in the AIB All-Ireland Club Championship semi-final showdown at Parnell Park, Dublin on Sunday (2.30pm).

The inter-county star, who was absent for the Galway champion’s Connacht semi-final and final wins over Glencar Manorhamilton and Charlestown, is reportedly ‘flying it’ in training, and his return will boost Corofin who are attempting to make it to the St Patrick’s Day final for the first time since winning the All-Ireland in 1998.

“Having Kieran (Fitzgerald) back is a big boost for us,” Corofin manager Gerry Keane told Tribune Sport this week. Keane is expected to announce his starting 15 after training late Thursday night although he could possibly delay it until Saturday to assess the availability of two of his regular defenders.

Corner-back Gary Delaney is described as having a “fifty/fifty” chance of recovering from a calf strain and his absence would be a big blow while Gary Sice’s ankle injury is expected to be healed. Corofin will certainly have to plan without the services of inter-county defender, Michael Comer, who is a long term absentee with cruciate ligament problems.

Fitzgerald will add steel and experience to an already tight defence, which is backboned by ‘keeper David Morris, Tony Goggins, Gary Sice and Damien Burke, who has also recovered from Gilmore’s groin. Aidan Donnellan and Greg Higgins will renew their partnership at centre-field while captain Kieran Comer, Joe Canney, Ronan Steede and Alan Burke can provide the firepower up front.

The match was scheduled to be played in Mullingar but was subsequently switched to Parnell Park – a field that is about 15 feet narrower and 15 feet longer than Tuam Stadium, which is similar in size to Mullingar – but Keane has no complaints.

“Our preference would have been Mullingar or Longford but I suppose in terms of geography, Parnell Park is probably right. We were up in Parnell Park last Sunday week and had a kick about; we have no complaints about the venue or the pitch,” he said.

The long lay-off – they haven’t played a competitive match since the Connacht final in November – is another factor thrown into Sunday’s mix, but again, Keane won’t be using it as an excuse.

“We have improved a lot since the start of the championship when we lost to Michéal Breathnachs and went to extra time with Carraroe. I hope we are peaking at the right time but we haven’t played competitive football since November so you just don’t know how the team will respond.

“The cold weather at Christmas was very frustrating because we just couldn’t get out on a pitch but it’s the same for both teams. We had (a quarter-final) in London January last year but to be honest I thought that was more of a hindrance. It has been a long lay-off but we feel we’ve done a lot of good things and prepared well.”

St Gall’s are serious contenders this year and have been installed as slight favourites with the bookies to reach the final against the winner of the other semi-final between Clare’s Kilmurry-Ibrickane and Portlaoise, which takes place in Limerick on Sunday.

For more, read page 52 of this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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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