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Moycullen men on guard for journey into the unknown



Date Published: {J}


COUNTY and Connacht champions Moycullen boast a clean bill of health ahead of their arduous trip to London for a difficult All-Ireland intermediate hurling quarter-final against Robert Emmetts in Ruislip on Sunday (1pm).

Having successfully negotiated one potential banana skin in Roscommon senior title holders Four Roads in the provincial decider, Moycullen now face another tricky assignment when they face 2007 All-Ireland intermediate champions, Robert Emmetts.

Although Moycullen boss Fergal Clancy notes that these are “exciting times” for hurling in the Gaeltacht village, he stresses that his side will not be underestimating Sunday’s opponents – indeed, he goes as far as to declare that the London champions must start as favourites.

“Most of their players have either played minor, U-21, intermediate or senior with their county,” notes Clancy, “while their inside three also look to be lightning fast. So, we have to be on our toes. In fact, given the players they have, it is almost a national team in a sense and with former county players in their ranks, they have to be favourites. That said, we are going over there to win.”

Clancy acknowledges it will not be an easy task. Aside from the whole distraction of making the trip across the Irish Sea, he knows that Robert Emmetts is a club of history – dating back to the very foundation of the London GAA County Board in 1886.

Emmetts were one of the original founder member clubs of the Board and in the early days of GAA in the English capital, they claimed six senior hurling and one senior football title in the first two decades. While fortunes dipped over the ensuing years, they finally found their way back into county senior finals in the 1990s and early 2000s, before collecting a long overdue seventh county title in 2004.

They subsequently claimed the three-in-a-row with county final wins in 2006, ’07 and ’08 – in addition to claiming that All-Ireland club title in March, 2007, following victory over this year’s county finalists Killimordaly – and won their 11th county title with a 2-14 to 1-11 victory over St. Gabriel’s in this year’s decider.

To the fore for Emmetts were Galway duo Niall Healy (Cappataggle) and Maurice Callinan (Ardrahan), with the latter tallying four points – three from placed balls – in the six-point victory. Midfielder Kevin Bolger was also instrumental in the win, while Aidan Fitzgerald and Peter Atkinson, who was sent off in that contest, accounted for the Emmetts goals.

While wing-forward Paul Kennedy has since emigrated to Australia, Emmetts manager Mick O’Dea will be delighted to have Cork native Michael Walsh back at his disposal again. The 25-year-old, who lined out for the Leesiders in the NHL earlier this year, had sustained a shoulder injury which forced his withdrawal in the county final.

In any event, Moycullen will need to be at their best against an Emmett’s outfit that, amazingly, has not one surviving starting member from the team that won the 2007 All-Ireland club title. “We will not be underestimating them though,” stresses Clancy, who says his outfit learned a great deal from their Connacht final win over Four Roads.


“The favourites tag put pressure on us going into the Four Roads game, because we were expected to beat them. The funny thing was, though, they [Four Roads] nearly did a Moycullen on us. They shot out of the blocks in the second half and they went two points up.

“However, I was delighted with the character our lads showed after going two points down, at a time when the game could have gone away from us. But we dug in deep and I think we got our just rewards in the end. The [second] goal was a bit fortuitous but, that said, we have been making our own luck all year.”

Robert Emmetts, most likely, will provide another step up in class again and, running the rule of thumb over the Emmetts starting line-out, Clancy reiterates there is plenty of quality throughout their squad.


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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