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Galway show some grit in reaching league semis



Date Published: 03-Apr-2013

 IT’S been an up and down National League campaign for the Galway hurlers, but they have at least achieved their basic objective in qualifying for the semi-finals of the competition after a notable 0-15 to 0-12 win over bogey team Waterford in their final Division 1A group outing at Walsh Park last Sunday. The pressure was on the men in maroon to deliver and they weren’t found wanting.

Galway were the stronger team by more than the final scoreline suggests – Joe Canning alone accounted for more than half a dozen wides – and the match, again fought out in bitterly cold conditions, hardly merited the frantic finish which saw Waterford striving for a match-saving goal. It should never have come to that, but the result is all that matters to Anthony Cunningham and his management team.

Fergal Moore and company had done the hard work in the opening half when facing the strong wind. With St. Thomas’ players, Conor Cooney and David Burke, back in their starting line, they produced a vigorous effort which was rewarded with an unexpected 0-8 to 0-3 interval advantage. Waterford hadn’t raised a solitary flag in the final 22 minutes of the half and lacked the winners’ penetration and range of scoring options.

Iarla Tannion, sprightly in the middle of the field, picked off two rousing points as did the returning Niall Burke, while the excellent Davy Glennon and Canning, again operating from the wing, were also on target. Galway could have been even further ahead but Shane O’Sullivan stopped a penalty from the Portumna ace midway through the half. It would have been premature to claim Galway had the match in the bag at the interval, but it was difficult to see a way back for Waterford.

The Tribesmen, however, have been struggling to put teams away so far in 2013 and with the home team raising their intensity levels considerably, together with getting a big benefit from the switching of Seamus Prendergast and Maurice Shanahan in the central positions up front, Waterford managed to reduce the deficit to three points on a couple of occasions without ever really looking like they were going to salvage a result.

Kevin Moran got on a lot of ball around midfield and with Prendergast’s strength difficult to counteract on the edge of the square, at least Galway had to display some resolve and commitment in keeping Waterford at bay. The defence stood up well to the test, however. The crisp striking David Collins impressed in the centre back role, while there was more dash in the play of youthful pair, Johnny Coen and Niall Donohue, as well.

Overall, you can hardly be critical of a rearguard which only concedes 12 points although goalkeeper Colm Callanan had to prove his measure when blocking a Shanahan 21 yards free in the third quarter, while full back Kevin Hynes made a timely intervention when expertly hooking Shanahan after a Moran effort had rebounded off the post in the 17th minute. In attack, Glennon was the main source of inspiration and, on this form, the Mullagh player is a certainty for championship promotion.

Galway had a goal harshly disallowed when David Burke skilfully diverted a Canning sideline cut to the net in the 62nd minute, but it was hardly a surprising decision in the context of referee Anthony Stapleton’s overall performance. The Laois official only liberally policed the action and he didn’t penalise some blatant fouls committed, especially by Waterford. Maybe, it was no harm for Galway to survive a rough and tumble affair, but what about the rulebook?

Reaching the league semi-finals had to be a priority for Galway ahead of the championship, especially as they have been virtually handed a free run into the Leinster final – it’s still hard to credit that Kilkenny, Dublin, Wexford and Offaly are all on the other half of the provincial draw – and though it’s hardly ideal they again must play Kilkenny, at least we can be guaranteed there will be no shadow boxing in over a fortnight’s time.

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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