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Galway must seize the day against Cats



Date Published: {J}


ONE way or the other, hurling history will be made in Croke Park on Sunday. A fascinating Leinster championship final brings together the province’s gatecrashers and the sport’s greatest team of all time. The huge interest in the fixture is understandable; quite simply, this is a game not to be missed.

The Walsh Cup and National League champions colliding with the All-Ireland champions who have been ruling summer hurling with an iron first since 2005 is a tantalising prospect. There will be no place to hide as Galway strive to knock down a team which many percieve as unbeatable.

With midfielder David Burke unluckily suspended for Sunday’s decider in Croke Park (4pm), together with genuine injury doubts about former team captain David Collins (calf) and Iarla Tannian (quad), Galway have several problems to contend with ahead of the final – not least the fact that this will be their third match in a fortnight – but team boss John McIntyre is adamant this week that there will be no excuses.

Tannian – who won two vital frees late on in the replay victory over Offaly – did not participate in Tuesday evening’s training session, while Collins, who was able to do the ball work drills despite recuperating from a calf injury, did not take part in the training game.


Also to sit out that training game were brothers Ollie and Joe Canning. Ollie has bruising on his left thigh, while Joe took a second knock to his injured hand in the replay against Offaly. “Both sat out the game as a precautionary measure,” outlined McIntyre.

Apart from the ineligible Burke, Craughwell sharpshooter Niall Healy, who picked up a severe hamstring injury in last Saturday evening’s Leinster semi-final replay, is also sidelined. He is expected to be out of action for at least a month.

Consequently, the Galway management team of McIntyre, John Hardiman, Joe Connolly and John Moylan will not be naming their starting XV until later in the week. “We just want to make sure that every player who is selected is 100% so they can do themselves justice,” said McIntyre.

Indeed, given Galway face a Kilkenny side that has not been beaten in championship hurling since the Tribesmen scalped them in the 2005 All-Ireland semi-final, every player must be able to perform to his maximum if the Westerners are to cause an upset.

“We all know what faces us on Sunday, the greatest hurling team of all time, but this is where we want to be, competing against the best,” stated the Galway boss. “It will probably take the game of our lives to carry the day, but you can be sure that is what the players will be primed for. Our approach is very focused on the challenge ahead.

“We do have injuries – David Collins and Iarla Tannian are touch and go – while David Burke’s suspension is another blow. It is also our third game in two weeks, but there will be no excuses. This is a test of the strength of the squad and whatever Galway team takes the field must hit the ground running at Croke Park on Sunday.”

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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