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New manager Mulholland offering no quick fix



Date Published: {J}

Dara Bradley

NEWLY appointed Galway senior football manager Alan Mulholland, whose three-year term as expected was rubber-stamped by delegates on Monday, has appealed to Galway supporters to be patient as he embarks on a ‘transition’ period of rebuilding.

The Galway Football Board had attempted the ‘silver bullet’ solutions, when parachuting in Joe Kernan and Tomás Ó Flatharta, and that backfired. Now they’ve taken a sensible, more long-term solution to rebuild Galway football, giving Mulholland a mandate to give youth its fling.

The 42-year-old, who guided Galway to Ted Webb U16, minor and U21 All-Ireland success as manager in 2004, 2007 and 2011 respectively, has dampened expectations of supporters who expect him to immediately translate that underage success into senior glory overnight.

That’s not going to hap

pen, he insists, or rather if it does, it’s a bonus. “The goal is to build the foundation for success in the future . . . we’re not considering silverware in the short-term,” Mulholland said.

But what is the bookmaker’s definition of short-term? Five-years or more? “Well, if we don’t win a Connacht title in two years, I won’t consider that failure. I think everyone in the county is aware that we can’t expect too much. I mean, results have been poor over the last year or two. We only won one league game last year so if we win two this year, that will be progress. We have to be realistic – our goals are about developing young players and progressing from where we are now.

“It’s not going to happen quickly. People need to be patient. Players need to be given time and space to develop. We’re going to have a few bad days and a few bad results over the next couple of years . . . but if people start criticising them and the public get on their backs and starts demanding results . . . that can have an effect on players and on young players in particular. We hope people support and respect what we’re trying to do.”

Is the potential there to win silverware, even if winning titles is not the new manager’s top priority? “That’s an unknown but of course we’d hope the talent is there. What we’re looking for is progress and if we pick something (silverware) up along the way, great. But at the moment we are well behind Mayo, never mind Kerry or Dublin. We’ve got to get back to being competitive in Connacht and start competing against the likes of Mayo again.”

Asked would there be a clear-out of the older players from the current panel, Mulholland said: “We will be endeavouring to identify talent from the underage structure. I’ve been given a mandate to try to develop the younger players within the county, that doesn’t mean we’ll get rid of the senior players.

“We’ve got a backbone of the team that are experienced senior players . . . we’ve got some very good footballers there that have played for their county for years and we would be crazy to let them go. We need some older experienced players to be leaders and then balance that with younger lads. The trick now is how do we identify younger players that are capable of making it at senior and how do we develop them and balance the young players with the experienced players?”

Mulholland is a busy man, with the bookmaking business and family commitments vying for his time but he stresses he can juggle the commitments and handle the added workload.

“I’m taking a jump into the unknown, to be honest. I was given advice by some people saying ‘don’t touch it’ and others said ‘you’d be mad not to go for it’. It’s not about me, this is about the players but yes, I’ve a business that requires a lot of attention especially in the current climate where we’re relying on people’s disposable income which has fallen.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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