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Kilmallock result still leaves Limerick hurling in limbo



Date Published: {J}

JUSTIN McCarthy may have got a stay of execution as Limerick senior hurling team manager at Kilmallock last Sunday, but it’s surely only a matter of time before the former Cork player is forced to walk the plank. His young team certainly fought an honourable battle in their opening National League tie against Galway but, in several ways, this represented their easiest fixture of the campaign.

Twelve months ago, Cork hurling found itself in exactly the same position with all their senior players on strike and, as a consequence, a third string selection represented the county in their first league outing against Tipperary at Thurles. They too were generally expected to be hammered, but they weren’t overawed and produced a highly energetic performance before succumbing to the inevitable defeat.

Like Cork last year, Limerick’s new-look outfit carried no baggage into their league game against Galway. Their largely young team was prepared to have a go and looking at their pre-match warm up in Kilmallock, it was noticeable how sharp their stickwork was and how keen they were. Their overall body language suggested that the men in green were prepared to lay their bodies on the line.

Unsurprisingly, a big crowd gathered in Kilmallock. Apart from the local curiosity factor and family loyalties to the players who had been promoted to represent Limerick, there would also have been a significant representation of ‘supporters’ who gathered in the hope that their team might suffer a hiding so as to expedite McCarthy’s departure. In the end, this group will have exited the grounds the most disappointed.

Indeed, for about 45 minutes, there was every prospect of a shock result. Boosted by a first-half goal from wing forward Cathal Mullane, Limerick were giving as good as they got and when they went two points clear early in the second-half, you could almost sense the changing mood among some of the fans on the terraces. With their team management animated and vocal, they had momentum and Galway in trouble. The final quarter, however, was largely one-way traffic and given the number of goal chances created by the Westerners, the home team were lucky to be only seven points behind at the finish.

The problem with Limerick’s respectable margin of defeat is that it’s neither one thing nor the other in the context of McCarthy’s future. The county remains in limbo and a heave against the team manager can’t be justified this week after their noble effort against Galway. In reality, however, it’s only delaying the inevitable as Limerick are bound to struggle more as the league evolves, forcing the County Board to eventually take the decisive action which has been conspicuous by its absence so far.

Frankly, from the outside looking in, it appears that Limerick have learned nothing from the Cork dispute. McCarthy is still a dead manager walking and it beggars belief that he has been allowed to stay in position despite virtually all of last year’s squad being sidelined. Remember, 12 of them were initially dropped by the team management before another dozen walked out in protest over the heartless manner in which their colleagues were culled. Reportedly, McCarthy didn’t make any form of contact to let them know that they were deemed surplus to requirements.

That utter breakdown in communications is unforgiveable in the modern era and McCarthy’s management stand indicted on a basic failure to treat some of their players with the necessary respect. Eventually, though, the County Board will have no option but to intervene if Limerick become increasingly uncompetitive in the league. Last year’s hammering by Tipperary in the All-Ireland semi-final was bad enough, but their current internal strife is only compounding the crisis and is doing untold damage to the morale of a once-proud hurling county.

Any other manager in McCarthy’s predicament would have long since walked away by this stage. What is the point of staying on when your best players have turned their back on you? Sure, McCarthy has his pride and after the players’ revolt in Waterford, he is obviously anxious not to be forced out of a second county in little less than two years. The problem is that his blinkered attitude is holding the entire county to ransom and, so far, weak local GAA officials have been complicit in letting McCarthy have his way . . . to the detriment of Limerick hurling.

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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