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Flynn’s free does trick for Athenry minor footballers



Date Published: 21-Oct-2009

Athenry 1-9
Leitir Mór 0-11
Alan Dooley at
Pearse Stadium

ATHENRY captured the SuperValu County minor B football crown, their fourth such title and first for 14 years, at Pearse Stadium on Saturday after narrowly overcoming the determined challenge of Naomh Anna, Leitir Mór.
A game that rightly looked destined to end in stalemate after an evenly contested sixty minutes was decided deep into injury time by Thomas Flynn’s marvellously struck free from an acute angle out on the touchline; a score worthy of winning any contest, and one that sealed the young midfielder’s Man of the Match award.
Conor Caulfield’s well-taken goal only minutes earlier looked to have swung the tie critically in Athenry’s favour, giving them a two-point lead with time running out, but Leitir Mór fought back bravely and drew level through points from Liam Ó Máille and Déaglán MacDonnacha with two minutes of injury time left to play.
Athenry, though, had one further thrust in them and worked the ball down the left touchline. Marc Hannon held onto possession well in the corner and passed to Caulfield, who was fouled. Faced with a free on the 20-metre line five yards in from the sideline, Flynn stepped forward and, displaying nerves of steel, casually lofted an effort over the black spot which landed on the roof of James Ó Domhnaill’s net.
It was a harsh ending for Leitir Mór, who deserved a second outing but were ultimately let down by a half hour spell in which they failed to score after storming into an early lead. In claiming the West Board crown, Leitir Mór had posted an impressive total to beat Clifden and their accuracy in front of the posts continued in fine fashion in the opening quarter.
Midfielder Ciarán Ó Gríofa got them off the mark with a good score after a flowing move involving Séan Ó Cuinn and Liam Ó Máille in the second minute, before Seanín Ó Flatharta split the posts to double the lead. Colin Whyte hit back for Athenry with a free, but Leitir Mór continued to look sharper and had soon opened up a four point lead.
Aonghus Ó Fatharta darted into space to collect a good pass and make it 0-3 to 0-1, Ó Flatharta took a handpass from Ó Máille before adding the next, before Aonghus Ó Fatharta added a stylish effort on 11 minutes. The game looked to be passing Athenry by, and wides from Whyte and Flynn certainly didn’t help their cause, but they finally found their range when Flynn lofted a free over bar in the 22nd minute.
Flynn and Conor Burke, an All-Ireland minor hurling winner, began to find their feet in the midfield duel with Ó Gríofa and Colm MacDonnacha and Burke, despite looking suspiciously inside the square when the ball arrived, added the next score when he punched a Whyte effort over the bar from close range. Conor Caulfield then set up Marc Hannon for a great score and Hannon wasted a goal opportunity soonafter but Athenry were happy to go in at the break only a point behind.
They kept the momentum in their favour when Darragh Glynn swung over a left-footed shot that lacked grace but more than made up for it with accuracy. Leitir Mór were now in turmoil themselves, and were soon staring at a two-point deficit when Hannon pointed with the aid of a post and Burke strode forward to capitalise on good work from Glynn and Caulfield to add his side’s seventh point.
Stung into action, Leitir Mór’s captain Sean Breathnach showed admirable leadership by getting his side back on the scoring trail with a 41st minute point. Inspired by this effort, Leitir Mór surged forward again and drew level through a Ciarán Ó Suilleabháin point. With Éanna Ó Cathain driving them on, Leitir Mór then grabbed the lead once more when Aonghus Ó Fatharta converted a free.
But Athenry quickly hit back through another well-struck Flynn free, before Ó Suilleabháin flashed a shot across the face of goal and wide at the other end. Déaglán MacDonnacha then edged Leitir Mór ahead on 56 minutes, but within sixty seconds Caulfield had struck low and hard from close range for a goal for Athenry after being released into space by a handpass from Glynn.
Many sides would have caved in at this juncture, but Leitir Mór came back again to level via an Ó Máille free from 45 metres out and Déaglán MacDonnacha’s point after he had shrugged off a heavy shoulder to raise what looked like being the final white flag of the tie. But Flynn had other ideas and his heroics ensured that Athenry’s captain James Divilly received the trophy from Football Board Chairman John Joe Holleran.
Athenry’s victory was based on a commitment to hard work and support play that was best typified by the defensive efforts of James Divilly, Ciaran Cleary, and Liam Cannon; the midfield duo of Thomas Flynn and Conor Burke, while Conor Caulfield, Marc Hannon, and Darragh Glynn were best of an enthusiastic forward line.
Naomh Anna will be bitterly disappointed that they didn’t hold on for a second bite of the cherry, and in Colm Ó Fatharta, Éanna Ó Cathain, Colm Ó Gríofa, Déaglán MacDonnacha, and Aonghus Ó Fatharta they had players whose performances deserved better reward.

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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