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Great comeback keeps high flying Connacht men’s momentum going



Date Published: {J}

Connacht 17

Dragons 13

Rob Murphy

PICTURE the scene. The 21-year-old Neath born out half Mathew Jarvis has just come into a game where his Connacht side are lifeless and trailing by ten points to a nondescript Dragons outfit which had so far managed to deflate a passionate home crowd and control the contest for almost an hour.

His task seems next to impossible. Connacht are incoherent, lack any sort of momentum and seem destined for defeat. Paul O’Donoghue enters the fray a minute later. The new half back pairing have 24 minutes to turn this game around, to get the home side attacking. The local crowd are restless, the home coach is frustrated, hope is in short supply.

Then the attack. Quick ball from a ruck on half way, a zipping pass to Jarvis who takes it, on the gain line, at full pace and releases in one movement to 21 year old Eoin Griffin. The Corinthian charges into the gap and passes outside to Tiernan O’Halloran, the pass initially seems a little early but these two young Galway lads know what they’re about, we shouldn’t doubt them.

O’Halloran is the 21-year-old Clifden lad who has burst onto the scene for Connacht this season having dipped his toe in last year and excelled for the Irish under 20s. Griffin made his splash last year and has made the 13 shirt his own. Local players, given every chance. That’s all in keeping with the new regime and is having a knock on effect down the line as we saw with the under 20s.


Anyways, back to that try because, let’s face it, it was the pivotal, game-defining moment. When we left off a paragraph ago, O’Halloran had just received the ball and was a full pelt skirting the touchline. He made 15 metres drew the hit and returned possession to Griffin who had already switched on the after burners and scampered home from 30 metres in the corner.

Up steps Jarvis, a touchline conversion with the wind howling at him and the rain bucketing down, soaking very few of the 3,700 plus crowd thanks to the new, atmosphere lifting, covered terrace on the clubhouse side. Jarvis lost his place the previous weekend because of missed kicks but he strikes the ball consistently so it didn’t seem like an unfixable problem. He struck it well again and on this occasion it split the uprights. Cue elation.

The crowd were energised, the team were energised, as Portumna man John Muldoon put it after the game. “It took us the best part of an hour to realise that George (Naoupu) wasn’t around to carry the ball this week and we’d have to share his work load in that regard. Once we did that, it came together well and we were able to get clean ball to the backline.”

Muldoon was holding the man of the match award as he spoke, he started at blindside flanker and finished up at eight after Ray Ofisa went off injured. He had a stormer but the pack as a whole upped their game in a breathtaking final quarter that contrasted sharply with what had gone before. That converted try had it at 13-10 to the visitors.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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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