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Hard work but Galway finish in some style



Date Published: {J}

Galway 1-18

Limerick 1-11



IF hurling worked on the same principles as Monopoly, then Galway’s senior hurlers certainly diminished their ‘Get Out of Jail’ card stash against an eager Limerick outfit in this keenly fought, if scrappy National League opener in Kilmallock on Sunday.

Having struggled to get a firm foothold on the contest, Galway’s plight looked extremely perilous when the home side were awarded a 38th minute penalty after corner forward Alan O’Connor was fouled. If Limerick had scored from the placed ball, they would have leaped into a four-point lead, but, more importantly, their confidence levels would have soared and steeled them for the second half battle.

As it was, Galway ‘keeper James Skehill bravely got his foot to Paudie McNamara’s low effort, deflecting it out for a ’65, which O’Connor duly converted to nudge his side into a 1-8 to 0-9 lead. Limerick, though, still had the momentum and an opening day shock was not beyond the bounds of possibility.

Of course, this scenario was incomprehensible before throw-in. Limerick hurling was in turmoil, with 24 of the 2009 panel at odds with entrenched current manager Justin McCarthy. So, this was a new-look Limerick, but what the Shannonsiders lacked in guile and experience, they willingly made up for with guts and youthful endeavour.

In many respects, this Limerick outfit were a side with a point to prove. They got stuck in from the throw-in and stood toe to toe with their Galway rivals for the opening 35 minutes of the first half to lead 1-7 to 0-9 at the break.

Their goal arrived on just 13 minutes, after Galway wing-back Kevin Hynes hesitated for a brief moment in collecting possession and Limerick swept through like a hurricane to gobble up the loose ball. In the resultant move, Cathal Mullane blasted an effort beyond Skehill to catapult the underdogs in an unlikely 1-2 to 0-3 lead.

In fairness, Galway did respond immediately. Cyril Donnellan tallied his second point of the afternoon, before midfielder Niall Cahalan and half-forward David Burke hit further efforts to reclaim a slender advantage.

Still, Galway were far from fluid, showing little of the enthusiasm and movement that they displayed in their Walsh Cup final victory over Dublin. Quite often, though, when a team hits a high one week, they can be a bit flat in their following outing, and this was definitely the case with Galway in the tight confines of Kilmallock.

Another mitigating factor was that this was Galway’s fourth week on the road, so that, too, had to take its toll this early in the season. In any event, it was Limerick who forced the pace in the second quarter. O’Connor rattled over three frees from a myriad of angles, while the impressive Brian O’Sullivan and Graeme Mulcahy added further efforts to establish that interval lead.

For their part, Galway were having difficulty finding the target – a feature throughout the 70 minutes as they tallied 12 wides, five in the first half – with only Niall Hayes, Farragher (free) and Aidan Harte posting scores for the visitors in a frugal 18-minute spell before the break.

Indeed, were it not for the Trojan efforts of full-backs Damien Joyce and captain Shane Kavanagh and a man of the match display from centre-half back Tony Óg Regan, an otherwise lethargic Galway could have been grappling with a greater half-time deficit.

No doubt, Galway were living on the edge, underlined by the concession of the penalty just three minutes into the second period. Skehill’s save, though, proved pivotal, while the introduction of defender Fergal Moore and forwards Iarla Tannian and Niall Healy brought fresh impetus to the Galway challenge.

For more, read page 55 of 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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