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NUIG hurlers are bang on time to end 30-year wait



Date Published: {J}

NUI Galway 1-17

Waterford IT 1-16

(After extra-time)

Stephen Glennon

Unbelievable. That’s the only word to describe NUI Galway’s rollercoaster Fitzgibbon Cup journey, which climaxed with a surreal extra-time victory over Waterford IT in the Fitzgibbon Cup final at Pearse Stadium on Saturday.

No doubt, NUIG claimed their first Fitzgibbon title in 30 years the hard way. So many times in this competition, they had trailed opponents by varying margins, but, with all the courage of soldiers on the battlefield, they bounced back to inflict the most succinct of cuts before securing a deserved result.

Consequently, they were the only team to go through the 2010 Fitzgibbon Cup unbeaten. As it should be for any champions.

Against WIT, though, the Galway students lived precariously, taunting defeat. With 38 minutes gone, they chased a nine-point deficit, 1-11 to 0-5, and to everyone, bar the NUIG collective, it appeared yet another Fitzgibbon heartbreak was well and truly to be their lot.

Then something godly happened. A transformation of sorts. Chances that previously wilted and died suddenly blossomed in the bright surrounds of a sun-drenched Pearse Stadium. Captain Finian Coone led the way by converting a free on 41 minutes, before less than 60 seconds later, Tipperary’s Shane Quinlan seized possession and offloaded to Clare’s Caimin Morey, who netted a life-resuscitating goal.

All of a sudden, the mother and father of all comebacks was underway. On the resulting puck-out, NUIG countered again with Coone clipping over a fine score. Further points from the outstanding Seamus Hennessy and Clare’s John Conlon cut the deficit further, before a sweeping move involving Tommie Larkins Gerry Kelly and Quinlan set up Coone for a point on the stroke of full-time.

With the margin down to just one, 1-11 to 1-10, the clock was now NUIG’s enemy. However, they didn’t panic and in the second minute of time added on, Hennessy – pushed forward for such a purpose – swivelled expertly to land the equalising score, just as he had done against LIT in the semi-final the day previous. Now it was up for grabs.

Although NUIG were facing into their second helping of extra-time in as many days, the Galway students were reinvigorated. Just 30 seconds into the first period, Clarinbridge’s Barry Daly shot NUIG into the lead for the first time in the afternoon, before Coone and Hennessy, both frees, added further efforts.

For WIT’s part, their lead marksman Timmy Hammersley kept their fires burning brightly with fine points on 62 and 67 minutes.

Amazingly, his 62nd minute effort was WIT’s first score in 26 minutes of open play. Still, unperturbed, the Munster college pushed on and in the early stages of the second period of extra-time they regained the lead once again with points from Hammersley and substitute Henry Vaughan.

Coone equalised with a free, before Hammersley and NUIG substitute James O’Gorman traded scores on 67 and 70 minutes.

It looked as if the only thing that would separate these two battling outfits at this stage would be the crossbar challenge.

As noted, though, courage was not lacking in Vincent Mullins’ charges. One minute into time added on, Coone and substitutes JP O’Connell and Quinlan combined to furnish Conlon with possession. The Clare man’s effort was clinical and for the first time in 30 years, the Fitzgibbon Cup was coming back to Galway.

The unbridled, jubilant scenes that followed were simply glorious.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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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