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Archive News

New champions Salthill have scope to go further



Date Published: 17-Oct-2012

TUAM Stars could have been forgiven for thinking that they had most of the hard work done prior to last Sunday’s Galway senior football final at Pearse Stadium, especially after toppling champions Corofin in the county semi-final, but instead the club’s long wait since 1994 to regain the Frank Fox Cup continues – and the men in red can have absolutely no complaints.

Somewhat surprisingly rated the strong bookmaker favourites to carry the day, Galway’s most prolific winners of the county senior championship were simply second best in another rain-marred final against a Sean Armstrong inspired Salthill Knocknacarra team which finished in a blaze of glory to claim just the club’s third ever title.

With several of their key players not having the desired influence on the action, Tuam needed to have been in front at the interval having had the backing of the wind, but they were actually lucky to have retired level at five points each. The city outfit possessed a greater cutting edge up front, but failed to exploit two great goal scoring opportunities.

The first arrived after just three minutes when former Galway hurler David Tierney, Tomas Burke and Armstrong combined to put Brian Conlon in the clear, but the Salthill attacker blazed his effort just over the bar. Midway through the half, Tuam had another let off when Alan Kerins placed his effort just wide of the left hand post after hard working midfielder Gary Cox had done the spadework.

In contrast, the Stars were struggling to create opportunities against a Finian Hanley marshalled opposition defence. Donal Marley and Shane Curtin did land fine scores from play in a competitive opening-half, but only for three tremendous scores from frees from Curtin, last year’s finalists would have been adrift at the break.

Both teams were guilty of giving away needless frees and Tuam’s county player Garry O’Donnell was certainly in feisty mood in their defence, but it was a well organised and more cohesive Salthill unit which was already looking the better team. Tuam needed a good start to the second-half and while they held their own for much of the third quarter, vital early opportunities from Shane Gaffney and John Ross Bodkin (free) were spurned.

Bodkin did find the range from play and with Salthill goalkeeper Cormac Connolly doing excellently to deflect a dipping effort from Jamie Murphy effort over the crossbar in the 49th minute, Tuam were still on level terms with Armstrong (two frees) converting for Salthill. It was still either team’s match to win, but Tuam didn’t score again as their more convincing city rivals gradually pulled away to claim their first county title since 2005.

Armstrong, in particular, really stamped his authority on the final in the closing ten minutes. After Seamie Crowe sent Salthill into the lead following a first time delivery from Conor Healy, the team’s centre forward pointed from an acute angle before expertly sending over a long range free. In a low scoring contest, Tuam were never likely to pull back a three point deficit against the elements.

Instead, Salthill had their tails up and they finished the match off in style. Crowe hit the target from a close range free before Armstrong rounded up a penetrating 40 yards run with an inspirational score. It was a fitting conclusion to the final as he put an injury plagued few seasons behind him to emerge as the outstanding performer on the field. Armstrong’s haul of seven points, which was critical to Salthill’s triumph, and his work rate typified the overall industry of the new champions.

On Sunday’s evidence, Salthill have the capacity to at least mount a strong challenge for provincial honours. They have a touch of class about them and with the proper mindset in the weeks ahead, they could be preparing for an All-Ireland Club semi-final next February. In contrast, Tuam will have to lick their wounds for the second year running. They struggled in most of the key duels and will feel they didn’t do themselves justice, but they can do nothing about that now.

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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