Date Published: 13-Sep-2012
REALLY this game of hurling, will in future, have to come with a health warning attached. Hearts were lifted, hearts were broken and hearts nearly stopped a thousand times, as Galway and Kilkenny battled with might and main to put their name on the Liam McCarthy Cup for the 2012 season.
It was a day of dreams for Galway and yet with over two minutes of injury time having elapsed on Barry Kelly’s watch as Kilkenny led by a single score, the spectre of a nightmare one point defeat loomed large for Anthony Cunningham’s charges.
Even when Davy Glennon tried to burst through a Kilkenny tackle and the referee signalled for a Galway free, the doubts were still there.
Shortly before that, Joe Canning had missed the target from a placed ball just outside the 45, and 82,000 people – as well as most of the entire population of Ireland – held their breaths, before the Portumna man guided the sliotar over David Herity’s crossbar.
It would have been nothing short of savage cruelty had Canning not landed the levelling point and what pressure rested on his broad shoulders when he crouched over that final free, with Brian Cody dancing a jig of protest on the line, as the Kilkenny supremo could see the fingers of Eoin Larkin touching the McCarthy Cup, and then it was snatched away, for another three weeks at least.
It was a first draw in an All-Ireland final since 1959 when Kilkenny (5-5) and Waterford (1-17) ended all square on that September 6, Sunday. For those into little historical pointers (and we all know they don’t really count for much), Kilkenny lost the replay on a 3-12 to 1-10 scoreline.
Last Sunday in Croke Park was a magnificent occasion. The day started with a cracking minor draw between Tipperary and Dublin; the pageant to mark the 2013 Gathering (the return of Irish emigrants from all parts of the globe) was spectacular, and there was a real Galway feel to the day when the All-Ireland winning teams of 1987 and ’88 were honoured.
It was clear from the intensity of the cheers greeting those heroes of a quarter century back that Galway enjoyed a massive support advantage in Croke Park. All received resounding receptions, most notably Joe Cooney, although Sylvie Linnane still lies at the spiritual heart of hurling in Galway . . . the roof was lifted when he took his bow.
But these lads, including Sylvie, Keady, McInerney, Cooney and Lynskey, don’t want to be remembered as the last Galway team to win an All-Ireland title. Before they left the arena, some of them leapt like giddy colts over the green timber form placed on the pitch for the ceremonial picture, and then went to the crowd on The Hill, imploring them to roar on their new heroes to glory. Before 3 o clock, there was a real good Galway feeling to the day . . . emotions were running high.
Over the course of the first 35 minutes, the crop of 2012 was not found wanting. Fergal Moore seemed to be on rocket power as he mopped up loose ball across the Galway defence; Andy Smyth fired over an early point but the big salvo came in the 9th minute when great work by James Regan set up Joe Canning for a spectacular goal.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
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
Galway have lot to ponder in poor show
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013
FRANK FARRAGHER IN ENNISCRONE
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.
Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013