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Moloney and Breheny to seize the day



Date Published: {J}


TYNAGH/Abbey-Duniry duo Shane Moloney and Padraig Breheny think little of reputations, particularly when it comes to their opponents. This they have proved time and again, no more so in the 2010 senior hurling championship when both teenagers dismantled some of the bigger names on the local scene on route to the county semi-final.

Quite simply, Moloney and Breheny are fearless, a trait they once again unashamedly flaunted in the All-Ireland semi-final against highly fancied Munster champions, Clare. Favourites’ tags and bookmakers’ odds mean nothing to them. For them, there is just the hurl, the sliotar, the fundamental principles of the team and an insatiable will to win.

However, on Sunday at Croke Park, Moloney and Breheny will face their biggest challenge to date when they take on Dublin – another vaunted outfit, another provincial champion – in what promises to be an intriguing All-Ireland minor hurling final. It’s time to play ball. It’s time to live the dream.

“Growing up, it is where every young lad wants to be, Croke Park on All-Ireland final day,” states Galway captain Moloney. “Now, we are there, we have that chance, and please God we can do it against the Dubs.

“We saw Dublin against Waterford and you would have to give them due respect. They are a big set of men and all well able to hurl. Any team that scores six goals [in an All-Ireland semi-final] you would have to be a little bit worried. However, as Mike (Haverty, trainer) said this morning, ‘yes, they might be big men, but what wins the game is putting the ball between the posts’.

“So, we will try to move the ball as quickly as we can and keep the scoreboard ticking over. We will stay with them for the first half and hopefully in the second half we can tear away from them. It isn’t going to be easy – we are going to be under a bit of pressure – but sure there is also a bit of pressure on Dublin as well. We are going up there to win, as are Dublin, but hopefully it will be us coming home with the cup.”

Indeed, dead ball specialist Moloney – who tallied 0-10 against Clare in the semi-final and is already one of the leading scorers from play in the senior hurling championship – says the most important detail is that the Galway players’ focus on themselves and not get bogged down with the opposition.

“Everyone is pushing hard trying to claim one of the 15 starting spots or, indeed, trying to claim a spot on the match-day 24. So, everyone is pushing hard and training has been going well, especially in the last three weeks. This week, we are trying to keep things ticking over, getting everyone together to get a bit more ball work in.”

Having already claimed an All-Ireland minor medal in 2009, Moloney will look to bring that experience to the fore on Sunday. That said, when the Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry sharpshooter is reminded of his past exploits at this grade, it is interesting that it is last year’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Kilkenny that he touches upon first . . . winners don’t like to lose and that in itself is often the only motivation a player needs.

“You would often hear the saying that you learn more when you lose than when you win,” continues Moloney. “I think there are 13 of last year’s panel back here again this year and we would often mention at training about the hurt of the defeat [to Kilkenny] last year. That is driving us on this year. Hopefully, we can make amends for that performance in the final on Sunday.”

His club-mate Breheny, another of last year’s survivors, believes Galway can secure a victory, although he notes it will take a huge performance to do so. “We are under no illusions. Dublin are a very strong team. They are very skilful. We know how good they are but we can only focus on our own performance.

“We will have a look at some of their key players alright, but we have to focus on our own performance and look at how we will adapt to the game. We also have to start quickly, because if we start like we did against Clare, the chance might be gone by half-time. So, we have to go out all guns blazing at the start.”

Of course, the likes of Moloney and Breheny have the experience to do that, but not every player will settle in as quickly. “People adapt to it differently. Some people will be nervous, others will be calm. Everyone has a different way of dealing with the pressure [of the occasion].

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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