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Galway coaches to benefit from initiative



Date Published: 28-Jan-2010

A 12-week evening GAA coaching course – which hopes to standardise the method of tutoring coaches – has got underway at Galway Community College, which, coincidentally, has been chosen by the GAA as its first Centre of Excellence for Coaching in Ireland.

With the GAA endeavouring to standardise their coaching programmes nationwide, the new course breaks new grounds in that it not only encompasses both the Foundation Level and Level 1 programmes, but it also seeks to ensure that GAA coaching practices are universally taught and adhered to. On completion of the course, participants will have an Award One, which is the equivalent of Level 1.

Speaking, first, on the Moneenageisha college becoming a flagship for coaching in Ireland, its Director of Adult Education, Jeffrey Lynskey says: “Galway Community College has been approved to be a Centre of Excellence for the GAA, in conjunction with Connacht Council and the support of John Tobin and Damien Coleman, Galway VEC and Galway Community College, itself.

“So, we are now a Centre of Excellence for the GAA in coaching. We are a provider. We are the only one in Connacht; indeed, the first provider in Ireland. Basically, we have everything you need here to run a course like this. We have the equipment, the facilities, the whole lot.”

The response to the new GAA coaching course has been impressive, with almost 60 registering for the programme. “There has been great interest, with people travelling from as far as Clare, Mayo and Roscommon while we also have people from my own club Liam Mellows, Barna-Furbo, Salthill/Knocknacarra, Leitrim/Kilnadeema and from clubs in North Galway, such as Tuam Stars.”

The initiative – which aims to revamp the whole structure of tutoring coaches – is a fundamental element of the GAA Strategic Plan 2015. The GAA hopes that anyone involved in coaching a team will have at least an Award One qualification in the not-too-distant future. “The reason for that is that they want to improve the level of coaching,” adds Lynskey.

Director of Hurling in Connacht and course tutor Damien Coleman outlines that the Award One course, itself, begins with the Introductory Award programme (or Foundation Level), with participants then moving on to Award One. While Award

One is the equivalent of Level 1, the fundamental difference between the two is that there are three streams to Award One – namely child, youth and adult coaching.

“Nationally, there is a new coaching education programme being rolled out through the Coaching and Games Development Committee,” explains Coleman.

Galway Community College career guidance teacher and hurling tutor, Shane McClearn takes up the story: “The course we are running at the moment is specifically aimed at youth and adult level, although we will also cover the code of best practice for children in sport as well.

No doubt, though, the links Galway Community College has forged with the GAA should ensure that course places at the centre of education are well sought after in the months and years to come. “It is great for us to be endorsed by the GAA; that we can use the GAA logo in our prospectus and in conjunction with our evening classes,” concludes Lynskey.


A more complete report appears on page 52 of the print edition of the 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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