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Indisciplined Irish nearly pay the price in Murrayfield



Date Published: {J}

ON what we have seen in the Six Nations so far, you can forget about Ireland making a major impact in the World Cup in New Zealand next autumn. Even allowing for the disruption caused by injuries, Declan Kidney’s squad have not been convincing in their three internationals so far even if they are still in contention to capture the Triple Crown – an achievement which no longer carries the prestige of the past.

Having stumbled over the game if limited Italians in their opening match in Rome, Ireland subsequently produced a more invigorating performance against France at the Aviva Stadium. They were really up for the contest, outscored Les Blues by three tries to one and had a great chance in the dying moments to snatch the verdict.

Unfortunately, indiscipline and unforced errors undermined the home team in the end.

Still, the general assumption was that Ireland would steady the ship in their next outing against the struggling Scots, especially as Andy Robinson’s charges had been truly awful in their previous match at home to Wales. Ronan O’Gara and the fit-again Tommy Bowe were recalled to the Irish line up and when Jamie Heaslip went over unchallenged for a try in the fifth minute at Murrayfield last Sunday, you’d be forgiven for thinking that they might romp home.

Remember, Ireland were also facing a Scottish team which hadn’t managed a solitary try in their seven previous outings at Murrayfield and continue to lack a real attacking cutting edge behind the scrum. Yet, by the midway juncture of the opening-half, there was only point between the teams after Chris Patterson had booted over two penalties. Already, Ireland’s indiscipline at the breakdown was a cause for concern.

Yet, they were gifted a try out of nothing in the 26th minute. Scotland inexplicably went long with a throw in near their own line, the loose ball was secured by the Irish before Heaslip’s donkey work paved the way for Eoin Reddan’s first international try. Again, O’Gara landed the routine conversion to put his team 14-6 ahead. The Scottish defence was shocking to say the least in the lead up to that score and the body language of their players suggested that they now feared another tonking on home soil.

But Ireland didn’t press on. Instead, they coughed up another penalty to Patterson and were only five ahead at the break. If anything, Brian O’Driscoll and company appeared a little complacent although they lifted the tempo in the third quarter with a couple of surging Sean O’Brien runs laying the foundation for their third try from Ronan O’Gara who easily broke Ross Forde’s half-hearted tackle. Now 21-9 ahead, the hard work has been done and it was time to bury the Scots altogether.

Unfortunately, it was all downhill after that. Kidney has been criticised in the past for not making earlier use of his bench, but this time the Irish coach arguably introduced replacements too early and with Ireland’s indiscipline continuing to haunt them, Scotland dragged themselves back into the contest with Patterson and replacement Dan Parks supplying nine points between them. Suddenly, Ireland were on the rack as they grimly clung onto their diminishing advantage.

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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