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Flattering Galway hang on for draw in low scoring tie



Date Published: {J}


LOUTH 0-11


AFTER the elation of Derry, the reality check for Galway’s footballers arrived with quite a thud at Pearse Stadium on Sunday, as they had to hang on precariously in order to extract a draw from a fixture that would have been pencilled in all week as a ‘two pointer’.

The trick about February football is neither to get too excited about a win nor too depressed about a bad performance, and the three week gap before the next game against Westmeath will afford Alan Mulholland the opportunity to carry out an early season audit . . . and at least three invaluable league points have been stashed away.

It was though a bit of a let-down on Sunday. The crowd of close on 5,000, swelled by the draw of the hurling clash between Galway and Kilkenny, had expected some fire and brimstone, but most of the glow came from Peter Fitzpatrick’s very committed Louth side. Indeed, how the visitors managed to leave victory behind them at Salthill was quite baffling.

If Galway learned one lesson from this match, it has to come under the heading of intensity. Louth battled for every ball and launched themselves into every tackle with a commitment that the home side often just couldn’t match – if the visitors had complemented that workrate with slick finishing, they would have romped to victory.

Galway did produce one 10 minute spell of purposeful football early in the first-half which helped them race into a 1-5 to 0-2 lead, and we all sat back expecting this advantage to be sustained to the end. Unfortunately, the Galway team sat back too, and from there to the finish, Louth dominated this game.

While Galway did play well on the previous weekend in Celtic Park, there was a niggling worry that Derry were a few pence short of the full shilling – their demise at the hands of Tyrone on Sunday probably confirming that. By the same token, Louth are probably a shade better than some observers might think and remember they did come within one referee’s decision of winning a Leinster title 18 months ago.

Galway do have a young team with a good sprinkling of promising footballers but the transition from youth to maturity will always have its hurdles to overcome – physicality, mental toughness and intensity have all to be added to the buds of youthful exuberance.

The big struggle for Galway on Sunday was in trying to win primary possession around the middle of the field. From the 20th minute on, when Thomas Flynn kicked the point that put Galway 1-5 to 0-2 ahead, Louth won the vast majority of the possession battles between the two 45s. Nearly all of the ‘hard ball’ ended up stuck to a red jersey.


Galway did make a number of changes, but most of them were in attack, and maybe in the same way as a rugby coach might bring on two props to bolster a sagging scrum, the introduction of a couple of players like Barry Cullinane and Niall Coleman, could have helped to at least jolt Louth’s midfield platform.

Defensively, Galway performed quite solidly, and they had to, given the amount of pressure they were under with Gareth Bradshaw again catching the eye most, due to his mix of brashness and fire. Colin Forde, Keith Kelly and Jonathan Duane also manned the pumps with great commitment, and in the end Galway’s defence did manage to salvage a point from this encounter.

They also had to call on those moments in sport when you have to rely on your opponent missing. In the closing minutes, Louth missed the target from two 45s while a goal bound shot from Andy McDonnell ended up being blocked by one of his colleagues – this was real backs to the wall stuff for Galway.

It all looked so differently after 13 minutes when Danny Cummins neatly slotted home an opportunist goal after a Paul Conroy point effort had come back off the post. Shortly after, Cummins added a quick point followed by similar efforts from Nicky Joyce and Michael Martin. Louth looked set to take a bit of a pasting.

Alas that was to be Galway’s last spell on the high ground as Louth showed commendable tenacity and courage to haul themselves back into contention. Disturbingly, Galway’s next point didn’t arrive for 14 minutes – a trademark effort from Bradshaw – and over the course of the entire second half, only two more white flags were to be raised by the home side.

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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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