Date Published: 06-Mar-2013
Eoghan Cormican at Croke Park
FOR those who arrived early into Croke Park for this All-Ireland senior club camogie final, the warning signs from a Killimor perspective were frighteningly evident for all to see.
The Cork champions had set-up base towards the Hill 16 end where a savage warm-up drill played out for the guts of a quarter of an hour, a microcosm of what would unfold shortly after 5pm.
Three Milford players would stand opposite three of their teammates, ten yards or so apart. The whistle sounded and the three in possession sought to manoeuvre past their opposite numbers using nothing but sheer brute force and strength. Once enemy lines were breached, they were required to turn on their heels and find a way back.
Instead of conserving energy for the hour ahead, Anna Geary was seen tearing into Regina Curtin, while Elaine O’Riordan and Maria Walsh were less than polite in confronting the Watson sisters. It was truly remarkable stuff.
There and then, Milford’s savage intensity was demonstrated and it certainly didn’t end with their warm-up preparations as the winner’s completely outgunned Killimor in all facets of play.
The six-point defeat represented a disappointing conclusion to the championship campaign for Killimor whose flame had burned very brightly when securing victories over Sarsfields and O’Donovan Rossa, but when the pressure came on during Saturday’s decider their attack just lacked that added level of flair and inventiveness to see them over the line.
To say that Killimor simply underperformed though is an injustice to a Milford outfit that exhibited an exciting brand of camogie, funnelling back their half-forwards to negate the threat of Killimor’s midfield partnership. As one observer remarked, Killimor were cleaned out in the one area they are normally so dominant. Put simply, Tommy Callagy’s troops were never allowed develop any sort of rhythm in the face of Milford’s unrelenting intensity.
Brenda Hanney and Martina Conroy were the two Killimor hit women that Milford had identified as the main threat to their defensive fortress and wing-back Maria Walsh headed straight to the edge of the square to marshal Hanney, while the excellent Anna Geary lived, successfully, in Conroy’s shadow throughout.
The other main foundation stone of the Milford structure was the pace at which they moved the sliotar from defence to attack. Over the course of the hour they just had that yard of pace to take them clear of danger with the player in possession never short of support.
For all that, it was Killimor who enjoyed the upper hand in the early passages, but all they had to show for it after 18 minutes was three Martina Conroy placed ball efforts. Milford fared little better managing only a solitary point through Emer Watson and the low-scoring nature of the opening period was largely due to the outstanding work-rate of both defensive units– Ann Marie Hayes and Niamh Hanney particularly impressive for Killimor.
Milford’s early lethargy eventually subsided and when their challenge erupted to life in the 19th minute, the damage inflicted would prove irreversible. Marie O’Neill, with a visionary pass, played through Deidre O’Reilly and the centre-forward met the sliotar on the hop, driving it high to the roof of Helen Campbell’s goal.
Scarcely another minute had elapsed when Milford pounced again. Emer Watson’s probing delivery was batted by Helen Campbell straight into the path of Maria Watson and though Campbell repelled the corner forward’s initial effort, the ‘keeper was powerless to keep out the rebound.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
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
Galway have lot to ponder in poor show
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013
FRANK FARRAGHER IN ENNISCRONE
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.
Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013