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Freezing out sports injuries with a cold bath



Date Published: {J}

A new facility in the healing of sports injuries has become available in Galway, with the service endeavouring to reduce the amount of time sportspeople spend on the treatment table, particularly those who sustain hamstring injuries.

John Butler Sports Injury Clinic will launch its new Cryotherapy Spa Bath – the first of its kind in Galway City – at their premises in Kilkerrin Business Park, Liosbaun Industrial Estate, Tuam Road, Galway this Saturday.

As part of the celebrations, owner John Butler is inviting the public to come along and sample the Cryotherapy Spa Bath in exchange for a voluntary donation to local charity, ‘Voices for Galway’.

Voices for Galway, which is under the auspices of Down Syndrome Ireland, provides speech therapy to children and adults in the Galway community. It is a parent lead charity that receives no Government funding and must fundraise 100% of its annual costs. Consequently, all of the monies raised from the cryotherapy launch will go directly to the charity.

A selection of local sporting celebrities, past and present, will make appearances throughout the day on Saturday, between 10am and 4pm, while both the All-Ireland U-21 and minor hurling cups will be present.

As for the spa bath itself, Birr native Butler believes the facility will have a major impact in the treatment of sport injuries in Galway. “The idea of it is that it improves the rehabilitation of injuries and it has been scientifically proven to improve hamstring injuries, if you can get into the bath in the first 12 or 24 hours after the tear happens. It brings the injury on by two to three weeks, so that is massive in bringing players back”

Unlike the full body cryo-chamber found in Whites Hotel in Wexford – a dry air facility which operates at temperatures ranging from -60 to -110 degrees – the spa bath just targets the specific injured area.

“This is more specific,” reiterates Butler. “When you go into the water, you can pick the area to submerge. You can bring the temperature down then to zero degrees; you don’t go below that. It is the depth and the turbulence that does the work for you.

“So, you have this very cold water penetrating the skin, dispersing any fluid – such as bleeding that could be going on – or fluid that has built up around an injury, which is the body’s way of protecting the damaged area. Sessions last about 10 minutes and if you are after getting a tear, you go into the bath three times in the first 24 hours. That is the crucial period.”

However, the 36-year-old adopted Galway man stresses that the cryotherapy spa bath’s function is not just to treat injuries, noting that it is also geared towards rehabilitating the body after strenuous work-outs.

“Everyone wants to train more often and harder – to get one-up on their opponents – and we are going to give them a tool for that so they can train harder and more frequently. At the moment, if you go do a heavy session on a Monday, you wouldn’t be fully fit again until Wednesday or Thursday to do another one. Now, though, you could do a session on a Monday, take your bath, and on a Tuesday or Wednesday, you could be back doing a full training session again.”

Butler – who has trained a number of teams, including Castlegar, Kinvara and the Mayo hurlers – says there has already been a huge response to his new spa bath, indicating it’s an ill wind that blows!


“The huge problem for [GAA] teams, particularly at this time of the year because the championship is in such a mess, is that having done nothing for the summer months – only go on their holidays and the Galway Races – they then, all of a sudden, end up having four or five or six championship games in a row. That, though, has really helped the business.


“We have got a lot of clubs that wouldn’t have come here previously for injury treatment. They would have had their own people out in the country areas but now they are coming here and they are getting their injuries treated here as well because it is handy to get it all done under the one roof.”

For the last decade, though, the name of John Butler has been synonymous with the treatment of sports injuries in Galway, with the Offaly native – who hurled with Birr up to U-21 level – having worked with a plethora of Gaelic games, rugby, soccer and triathlon clubs in the county.

For more, read 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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