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Mervue United and SD Galway bid to forget league woes



Date Published: 24-May-2012

 While the fortunes of Mervue United and SD Galway in the Airtricity First Division have been far from inspiring, the two City clubs have the opportunity to reignite their season when they face off in the second round of the FAI Ford Cup at Terryland Park this evening (Friday) at 7:45pm.

Both sides have really struggled to stamp their authority on the Airtricity League First Division this season and, consequently, basement outfit SD Galway and Mervue United prop up the bottom of the table.

In fairness to Mervue, they have begun to show some form of late and this was substantiated when they defeated Wexford Youths 3-0 at home last weekend. That victory widened the gap between them and SD Galway, who lost 1-0 away to league leaders Longford Town, to five points and, even more importantly, narrowed the deficit on Finn Harps above them to four.

“Yeah, we are coming off the back of a win, which is a bit of a boost but we still have to remain very focused on this game,” says Mervue boss Johnny Glynn. “It is a big game for both of us and I am expecting that it will be tight on the night. I think the lads, though, are really looking forward to it.”

That said, Mervue will be without a number of players for this tie, including goalkeeper Brian O’Donoghue (hand) and defenders Martin Conneely (groin) and Kenny Farrell (ankle). There is also a major doubt over striker Tom King – who has not long returned from a cruciate injury – as he was suffering from an illness earlier in the week.

Still, Mervue United will be determined to build on the momentum of last weekend’s win although it remains to be seen if that victory can kick-start a run. “It is hard to say,” concedes Glynn. “We played well last Friday, although Wexford Youths were missing a couple of players. That said, we have won both of our last home games 3-0 against Finn Harps and Wexford and now we just have to improve on our form away from home. That starts on Friday night.”

As for SD Galway, they, quite possibly, could have a quartet of players back available to them. Colm Horgan missed the defeat to Longford due to graduation; James Keane and Paddy Quinlan – the latter of whom scored in Salthill Devon’s last FAI Cup game in 2011 – return from back and knee injuries respectively; and Mixie Harty has recovered from illness.

No doubt, these are positive developments for SD Galway ahead of the crucial clash against their local rivals. However, despite that this is a local derby, that a place in the next round of the prestigious Cup competition is at stake, and a victory would be a timely confidence boost to his squad, manager Tony Mannion insists his charges must approach this game like they would any other.

“Sometimes people say ‘wouldn’t it be great to go on a run in the Cup’ but I don’t accept that because I believe you should be going out and playing every game in the same way, be it Cup or League. So, if you are going to have a good run in the Cup, why not go on a run in the League. I know that might seem like a very simplistic approach but I believe you should be applying yourself in the same manner week in, week out. Those are my feelings on it. Every game is important,” says Mannion.

That said, he agrees Cup games – particularly derby ties – do take on a life of their own and given there was little to separate Mervue and SD Galway in the League – it finished 2-2 – he expects this contest to be no different.

“Both clubs are closely matched and I think in that League game the standard of football was quite good. I was certainly very pleased with the way we played and I thought we passed the ball around well and were competitive. The form book, though, does go out the window and these games do take on a life of their own but you expect that.”

For SD Galway’s part, they have put in some credible performances in the League but just cannot, for the life of them, pick off the points.

“We played quite well in patches against Limerick and we played really well away to Longford. However, again, it comes down to us giving away really soft goals,” says Mannion.

“That said, last weekend, the Longford goalkeeper (Craig Hyland) was man of the match and I don’t think we received just reward for our endeavour. Week in, week out, we are improving. We are getting better. We are more competitive and the players, themselves, feel like they are making a lot of progress. They just need something tangible now like a win.”

In truth, both could do with securing a victory this evening, if only to dispel the nightmares of last year’s competition. Mervue bowed out when losing 4-0 away to Drogheda United. At that time, Glynn’s outfit were enjoying life mid-table while a then struggling Drogheda had just won their first league game of their campaign against lowly Galway United the week previous. A shock was a distinct possibility but in the end Mervue bowed tamely out of the Cup with a 4-0 defeat.

One of the shocks of the round, however, involved Salthill Devon. Having begun to change their fortunes around with the appointment of Paul McGee as manager, their 2-1 defeat to AUL side Sherriff YC almost beggared belief. Granted, the inner-city Dublin outfit had three Futsal internationals in their squad – Tony Kane, Alan McCabe and Stephen Murphy – and had won the AUL Premier ‘A’ title but they should not have come away from Drom with the victory. Yet, this they did.

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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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