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McGrath and Bonner to feature in Chick Testimonial



Date Published: 14-Aug-2012

 FINAL preparations are being put in place for the Eamonn ‘Chick’ Deacy testimonial in Terryland Park this coming Saturday night, which will see the ground officially renamed as Eamonn Deacy Park.

The night will see as Aston Villa Legends selection take on a Galway United XI for one half of the testimonial game, and a West United XI for the other half – the game kicks-off at 5.30pm, with the official renaming ceremony to take place before kick-off.

The Aston Villa legends squad – including Tony Morley, Ken McNaught, Colin Gibson, Allan Evans and Des Bremner, who were all part of the Villas squad with Chick which won the English First Division title in 1981 – will fly in to Dublin on Friday, where they will be met by Chick’s son, Jake, as well as Willie Grant and Eamon Howley of the organising committee, who will travel down to the city with them.

At the same time, legendary Aston Villa manager Ron Saunders will arrive in Ireland West Airport in Knock with his family to take part in the event, with Chick’s wife Mary and his brother Don – one of the main driving forces behind the Celebration for Chick series of events – accompanying them on their trip to Galway.

Former Aston Villa and Republic of Ireland star Paul McGrath will travel down from Dublin on Saturday for the game, when he will make a second-ever appearance on the Terryland Park pitch – he scored the winner when St Patrick’s Athletic defeated Galway United 2-1 at the Dyke Road venue on October 4, 1981.

Another former Irish international who will make his second appearance on the Terryland pitch will be Packie Bonner – he was part of the Glasgow Celtic squad who played Galway United in a friendly on March 2, 1986, when he lined out against his twin brother Denis.

The legendary goalkeeper will guest appear for West United on Saturday night, and the two Bonners will join Dave O’Connell on Galway Bay FM’s Galway Talks show on Friday morning.

The man who followed in Chick’s footsteps by leaving the city to join Aston Villa has also being invited by the English club to take part on the day – Daragh Sheridan, who joined Villa in 1996, will meet up with the Villa squad in Dublin to travel down from the game.

Mayor of Galway City, Cllr Terry O’Flaherty, is cutting short a trip to the US to be on hand for the official renaming ceremony, which will also be attended by Minister for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring. President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, is unable to attend due to previous commitments, but he did send a message for the 88-page souvenir match-day programme which is being brought out by the organising committee to mark the occasion.

Match tickets cost €10 for adults and €5 for students (secondary school and third level), with children under the age of 12 who are accompanied by an adults admitted free of charge.

Tickets are available from Terryland Park, and from Hanley’s Menswear, the former Zhivago outlet on Shop Street, Deacy’s on High Street, Ernie’s on Sea Road, Monroe’s on Dominick Street, Londis in Newcastle, Clybaun Stores, Lonergans and Cullinanes in Salthill, and Beauty Secrets in Westside.

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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