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Lawless hits jackpot for Athenry



Date Published: {J}

Athenry 2

Ballinasloe Town 0

Mike Rafferty

in Lecarrow

ATHENRY were crowned kings of Connacht for the fourth time in five years as the seasoned campaigners comfortably saw off the challenge of a young Ballinasloe side in Sunday’s Junior Cup final in Lecarrow.

Scoreless at the break, the turning point arrived just 30 seconds after the restart as Benny Lawless finished from close range and when he added a stunning second just past the hour mark, it was the point of no return for Ballinasloe.

There after the Roscommon League side struggled to get into the last third of the park and try as they might, Ballinasloe just didn’t have the experience or manpower to overhaul an Athenry side who have being performing at this level for a long time.


The visitors started well as they used the vast expanses of Lecarrow to get wide men Alan O’Donovan and Gary Forde into the action. In central midfield Seamie Crowe and Gary Delaney were stroking the ball about and, indeed, the front two of Mark Moran and Lawless have early opportunities to make a breakthrough.

Home custodian Paul Hickey was like a sweeper at times as he patrolled the edge of his box and, on five minutes, he made his first major contribution as he gathered at the feet of Forde after some neat interaction between Crowe and Lawless had set him free behind the cover.

Shortly afterwards, Hickey was also well positioned to gather a soft Forde header at close range after an O’Donovan set piece delivery broke to him in the box. Ballinasloe took some time to get over the initial nerves and once they found their feet, they contributed hugely to a competitive opening half.

Having gained some momentu

m, full backs Niall Stack and Gary Egan began to get forward a lot more while out wide Gary Canavan and Markus Kelly were getting a supply into the front two of Liam Lynch and Mark Duffy.

Indeed, the duel between Lynch and central defender Emmett Byrne was physical and competitive throughout and while the striker certainly had his moments in the opening half, there is no doubt that the visitors’ skipper was the dominant force as the game progressed.


Lynch had Ballinasloe’s first clear sight of goal when the ball broke to him in the box, but the execution of the lob was less than perfect and the grateful Kieran Kilkelly collected in no man’s land. A Canavan header drifted wide of the target before Lynch could just find the side net after he had a few stabs at Stack’s right wing delivery.

By now Daragh Concannon and Robbie Brooks had found their feet in midfield and were instrumental as the home side enjoyed the majority of possession in the second quarter.

Concannon drilled an effort at Kilkelly from outside the b

ox and when a Kelly cross fell to Brookes in the box, the gap was there, but the ball would just not sit down for the midfielder and the visitors had a huge let off as he totally underhit an effort from close range at the custodian.

Crowe showed his class on 28 minutes with a measured through ball for Lawless, but credit Hickey as he was out in a flash to gather at his feet. Crowe later fired over after Forde made a good break. As the half developed, it was the home side who continued to contribute more to the game.

However, they just threatened on one occasion when a Lynch header on 34 minutes crashed off the crossbar. While the wind advantage wasn’t significant, it did favour Athenry in the second half and within a minute they had made a breakthrough.

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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