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Footballers must settle for a draw after nearly blowing it



Date Published: 06-Mar-2013

ALAN Mulholland was in a realistic mood when offering his post-match comments on Galway’s sharing of the spoils with Westmeath in round three of the National Football League at Tuam Stadium last Sunday. The Tribesmen boss admitted that they were in ‘pole position’ to carry the day at half-time and that they needed the win after the previous weekend’s disappointing result against Louth, but the home team simply hadn’t finished the job.

Yet Mulholland was also relieved that Galway had salvaged something from a game which appeared to be slipping away from them when Westmeath surged into a two point after trailing 0-8 to 0-2 at the interval having had the assistance of the wind. David Duffy’s introduction at midfield, coupled with Denis Cooroon’s goal in the 55th minute, saw the Midlanders turn the match on its head and having most of the momentum.

After their second-half collapse in Drogheda, this was a crisis period for Galway. They may have lost their previous two competitive encounters against Westmeath, but to be turned over again on home turf in Tuam after threatening to romp home in the opening-half would have represented something of a disaster. To Galway’s credit, however, they showed no shortage of resolve in rallying to force a stalemate outcome.

The team management played their part too by making timely substitutions with two of them, Micheal Martin and Gareth Bradshaw – good to see the Moycullen man back after his injury problems – contributing invaluable points in the closing stages. Niall Coleman, who was one of the team’s better performers, had a late chance to edge Galway back in front after Westmeath John Heslin had tied the teams with five minutes remaining, but he was well off target.

Naturally, the Galway camp would have had mixed emotions with the 0-13 to 1-10 result, but drawing a match is always better than losing it and they didn’t go hiding when Westmeath upped the ante on the resumption. Four points from the excellent Paul Conroy were a feature of Sunday’s lively encounter against a background where there is growing recognition locally that the county simply doesn’t possess sufficient reserves of talent to be challenging for top honours. ‘They don’t have them’ has become a common refrain but, at least, Galway head to Longford this weekend with their promotion hopes still alive.


About 60 miles down the road from Tuam, the Galway hurlers were representing the province in the M Donnelly Inter-provincial final in Ennis and must have had high hopes of overcoming Munster, especially after getting their league campaign off to a good start against Kilkenny the previous weekend, but instead Anthony Cunningham’s squad slumped to a disappointing ten point loss and, perhaps, a timely dose of reality. Going for over 20 minutes in the second-half without a score sums up their poverty on the day and it wasn’t as if they had a second string outfit out either.

Granted, Fergal Moore and Tony Og Regan were late withdrawals, but their positions were filled by Johnny Coen and David Collins, while Andy Smith and Cyril Donnellan were both back from suspension. Furthermore, Joseph Cooney, Damian Hayes, Jonathan Glynn and Davy Glennon were all sprung from the bench to illustrate Connacht’s level of intent, but the old problem of struggling to win primary possession around the half-forward line resurfaced again.

Just like the semi-final against Leinster in Tullamore, Connacht got off to a poor start in falling three points behind, but they gradually worked their way back into the contest and a Niall Healy point in the 18th minute saw them actually take the lead at 0-5 to 0-4, but it was all downhill after that. Paudie O’Sullivan’s goal turned the tide back in Munster’s favour and they were rarely in any danger subsequently. It’s interesting to note that Cork trio Pa Cronin, Pat Horgan and O’Sullivan contributed 1-14 of their team’s 1-22 total. The Rebels are starting to stir again.

This was a final that ‘Galway’ would have been anxious to win, but they were well off the pace and appeared battle weary by the finish. Obviously, they now face a dangerous assignment against a youthful Clare outfit at the same venue in the league this Sunday and can expect vibrant resistance from the Banner men, especially after their surprising opening round loss to Waterford. It’s only early March but, suddenly, Galway have a few questions to answer.

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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