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Hurling minors & U21’s heading east



Date Published: 10-Dec-2010

GALWAY’S top hurling officials have been given the green light by delegates to approach Leinster Council and discuss the possibility of the county’s minor and U-21 teams joining the provincial championship at these grades.


With Galway’s senior representatives heading into their final season of their three-year term competing in Leinster hurling, clubs are hoping that the current system will not only be extended for the seniors for another period, but that the county’s minor and U-21 sides can also compete within the provincial structure.


Discussion arose on the proposal when a motion was putdown by Sarsfields at the annual Galway Hurling Board convention at Raheen Woods Hotel last Wednesday evening. Speaking on the motion, Sarsfields’ delegate Tommie Fox acknowledged Galway’s minor and U-21 outfits could not take part in the 2011 competitions, but he said the club wished to initiate a debate on the county’s future involvement in such a venture.


“Two years ago, we had a great debate on the seniors joining the Leinster championship and there were a lot of people who spoke for and against it,” said Fox. “At the end of the day, though, Galway went in, and it was not the end of the world. Now, our club feels that both the Galway minor and U-21 teams should also compete in the Leinster championship.”


He said he was aware the current U-21 manager, Anthony Cunningham, was in favour of such a move, while he also acknowledged the views of minor boss, Mattie Murphy, who previously advocated that the shortest run to the All-Ireland was the best.


However, Fox argued that that if Galway qualified for a Leinster final at minor level, even if they were beaten, they would still get a second chance as there is currently a back-door for provincial final losers. “They will get a second chance.”


While Gort delegate Dermot Flaherty was very much in favour of the U-21s entering a provincial series, he said he would have reservations about the minors following suit. “Over the last number of years, we have been very successful at that grade [under the present system],” said Flaherty.


“If our minors enter Leinster, then they have to start training a lot earlier in the year and I think in any young fellow’s life, education should come first. At present, there is no pressure put on any of the players until after the Leaving Cert. That is when they are brought together and a panel is picked.”


Clarinbridge delegate Mike Carr, though, said Galway seeking inclusion in the Leinster championship at minor and U-21 grades was “a no-brainer,” adding “we have to go in”. He argued that the players in Kilkenny and Wexford also go to school in those counties and still manage to play for their counties and do their exams. “We have to go in,” reiterated Carr. “It is a no-brainer. We, in Galway, have been isolated for far too long.”


Castlegar’s Michael Connolly also expressed a similar sentiment, noting there had been plenty of “ifs and buts” when Galway sought to join Leinster in late 2008. That said, he believed management, players and supporters alike were delighted to be involved in a provincial championship. “I can’t see why it wouldn’t work,” he added.


However, Oranmore/Maree delegate Tony McGrath urged caution. He agreed most people might be in favour of it, but highlighted that Galway had been beaten by Kilkenny both years in the Leinster championship – in the 2009 semi-final and 2010 final – and he believed the jury was still out.


He said they should wait until the seniors’ three-year cycle was complete to determine if the move was successful or not. He added: “What happened [with the U-21s] in Thurles was a once off, while Mattie Murphy had no explanation for what happened with the minors on the day. It was just one of those things. We have a good record at minor and U-21 as it stands and I think we should do our third year at senior in Leinster first . . . before we make any decision.”


For the full report see page 44 of this week’s City Tribune

See more from the convention on page 44:

  • Thumbs down to four qualifying
  • First sod to be turned in 2011
  • Hanley has the X-factor

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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