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”It’s going to take the game of our lives” warns Kelly



Date Published: {J}


CAPTAIN Mark Kelly believes St. James’ must play the game of their lives if they are to emerge victorious from their clash against Lisnaskea Emmetts of Fermanagh in the All-Ireland club intermediate football final at Croke Park on Saturday evening.

Kelly is understandably wary of the Fermanagh champions, who enjoyed a 1-12 to 1-5 win over Ballymore Eustace of Kildare in their semi-final victory. With players of the calibre of the Little brothers – Mark and Andy – and fellow Fermanagh senior Daniel Kille, he says St. James’ must enter this historic tie with their eyes wide open.

“Against the Kildare side, they (Lisnaskea) seemed to move the ball very quick. There was no messing around. They are very mobile everywhere, with corner backs running up the field, wing-backs running up the field, and everything. So, Croke Park will suit them. They will be tough. It won’t be easy,” warns Kelly.

Highlighting that Lisnaskea have rampaged through their respective championship campaigns, he notes: “They don’t seem to have had many hard games. They beat Ballymore by nine points and I was actually talking to their captain last Thursday – we were up in Croke Park – and he said it (the semi-final) was over at half-time really. So, we are up against it. These boys, they are actually a senior team. They just had a bad year (in 2009) and they went down (to intermediate).”

Indeed, Lisnaskea would seem to have the pedigree, having won 20 senior football championships in all in their illustrious industry – their last was in 1994. “So, this is a building block for them to go back and challenge for the senior championship this year again,” says the Mervue native. “In contrast, we are new to the senior game, but, for us, that is just another challenge.”

Of course, with the likes of Galway duo Paul Conroy and Eoin Concannon in the Mervue/Renmore side’s ranks, St. James’ are not without their big name stars. “Yeah, they (Conroy and Concannon) have plenty of experience, but they are still only 21 or 22.”

That may be so, but the young guns who have come up through the underage ranks – the city outfit won county minor ‘A’ championships in 2006, 2007 and 2009 – have been maturing into quality footballers in recent years. Kelly agrees, praising, in particular, the positive manner in which the younger players responded to the crushing county intermediate final defeat of 2009. He says it has all but made them.

“Don’t get me wrong, Leitir Móir fully deserved to win it,” says Kelly. “We thought we would do it that day, although people have said since that it might have been a year or two early for us (to make the step up to senior) as a group of lads. I think, looking back, they are right because it is not until the lads get to 21 or 22 that they start really maturing and getting physically stronger.

“We just said at the start of the year, let’s really give this a right go from the word ‘go’. In fairness, we had been doing that for the last couple of years but we just got the bit of luck this year. I think the Carna Caiseal games really made us as a team because we had to battle hard to scrape through the first two games. And then in the third game, we played a bit more to form.”

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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