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Galway get reality check in one-sided final replay



Date Published: 03-Oct-2012

IN the build up to last Sunday’s All-Ireland hurling final replay, the nagging feeling that Galway had left it behind in the drawn game just wouldn’t go away and, sadly, they have now paid the ultimate price for that spurned opportunity. When you have Kilkenny on the rack, you simply must put them away.

The champions don’t give opponents second chances – at least, not this great Kilkenny team – and having done some serious homework in the intervening three weeks, turned things around so much that they managed to inflict the heaviest All-Ireland final defeat on a Galway team in modern times.

Performing with greater intensity and hitting harder than in the stalemate encounter, Kilkenny’s huge gamble of throwing in Walter Walsh for his championship debut on such a high stakes occasion paid off spectacularly. The towering U-21 player ended up with 1-3 and the man of the match accolade on a day hardly a single Galway man won his individual battle.

A fifth consecutive All-Ireland defeat for the county offers few consolations. The impression that Kilkenny were finally getting a handle on Galway’s tactics in the second-half of the drawn final was confirmed last Sunday. They dictated the rules of engagement almost from the throw in and their superiority in the opening-half was hardly reflected in an interval advantage of a mere four points.

Only for a two-goal burst midway through the half – which had the huge Galway crowd rocking – the match could have been over at the interval. David Burke, occupying the full forward role, was the man who twice breached the Kilkenny lines; the first green flag after an instinctive flick to Iarla Tannian’s delivery; the second a goal of the year contender following great link up play between Damian Hayes and Cyril Donnellan.

Those green flags ought to have given Galway serious momentum, but instead it was Kilkenny who took over, registering an unanswered 1-6 without reply as they dominated all the critical areas around the field. Henry Shefflin was doing a lot of damage on the forty, with Richie Hogan, starting at full forward, Richie Power and Eoin Larkin all looking different and more driven men compared to three weeks ago.

Power had netted a timely Kilkenny response in the 18th minute after a clearly struggling James Skehill had managed to parry a close range Larkin effort, while young Walsh continued to prove a handful for Johnny Coen in the air. The amount of ball pumped into the left corner of the Galway defence was clearly a pre-arranged strategy and was one of the main reasons why Kilkenny were so superior for much of the opening 35 minutes.

A few bad wides, however, coming up to half-time prevented the title holders from really pushing clear and, in fact, they failed to register a score in the concluding ten minutes of the half. They left a Galway team which, incredibly, didn’t notch a single point from play prior to the interval, hanging on and two Joe Canning placed balls left them only 1-13 to 2-5 behind at the break.

Early second-half points from Hogan and Shefflin sandwiched an Andy Smith effort before a number of key incidents all went against Galway. A disallowed Donnellan goal in the 44th minute after referee James McGrath had controversially failed to apply the advantage rule enraged fans in maroon, who then suffered further agony when Canning’s low effort thundered off the far post.


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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