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No jumping for joy in the victorious Galway camp

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Date Published: 02-Aug-2012

PERHAPS, due to a succession of disappointments at senior level, Galway hurling supporters have become a bit too blasé about the strength of the minor teams the county has produced in recent years. On Sunday in Tullamore, Matt Murphy’s youngsters came in ‘cold’ to an All-Ireland quarter-final yet again and blitzed a hapless Wexford who never recovered from their barrage of early scores.

The Tribesmen were 2-4 to 0-1 ahead before anyone had time to draw breath and the passing, movement, and inter-play among the forwards and midfielders was sensational, as the men in maroon tore the Wexford challenge to shreds.

Nobody should be talking about a third All-Ireland in four years at this stage, as a highly-rated Tipperary lie in wait in the semi-final, but there was a class and conviction about this Galway performance which must have left the Wexford backroom team green with envy.

The Slaneysiders drafted in county legends Martin Storey and Liam Griffin in a bid to transform their fortunes at this level, but they could only look on in awe at the talent available to Murphy and his backroom team. This was a sensational introduction to the championship, against a team which had the benefit of four games in Leinster.

There was no jumping for joy in the Galway camp afterwards, only the quiet satisfaction of a job well done by players who were already turning their focus to bigger challenges to come within minutes of the final whistle.

“We made life difficult for ourselves in the second half, but look it, we got there in the end,” said delighted team captain Paul Killeen, full-back on last year’s title-winning side. “That was our first game and their fifth. But Havo (Michael Haverty) has us at the top of our toes.

He’s a serious trainer. Everything was sharp. The boys had everything prepared for us and it was just up to us on the day.

“We started really excellently. We really rattled them with a couple of early points and the goal really settled us. We have serious forwards. They are a nightmare to mark in training. Even the lads on the bench.

Jamie Ryan was unlucky. He was flying it and he hurt his hip and David Concannon came down on his ankle one day in training. There is going to be serious competition for places between now and the Tipp game.”

Killeen felt that the third Galway goal, brilliantly struck by wing forward Adrian Morrissey, effectively decided the issue 11 minutes into the second half.

Veteran manager Murphy has delivered six All-Ireland titles at this grade to the county and seems to have unearthed another fine batch of players this year, even though he was keen to point out afterwards that Tipperary will pose a far tougher challenge in the semi-final.

He had some sympathy for his Wexford rivals. “I suppose we got the start you’d dream about,” said Murphy. “Once we got the 2-3 or 2-4 on the board, it was always going to be an uphill battle for Wexford. You know, minors are funny animals. They can drop their heads easily enough.

“We went in 16 points up at half-time. That’s not a true reflection of where Wexford are at. Wexford are a good bit better than that. I have sympathy for them, because when I was playing underage hurling for Galway that was where we were at fairly often.”

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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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Galway have lot to ponder in poor show

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

SLIGO 0-9

GALWAY 1-4

FRANK FARRAGHER IN ENNISCRONE

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

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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