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Out-of-sorts Salthill fail to deliver in crunch test



Date Published: 14-Nov-2012

St. Brigid’s (Roscommon) 0-15

Salthill-Knocknarra 0-8


AN explosive cocktail of pace and intensity from Roscommon and Connacht champions, St. Brigid’s, fairly blew Salthill-Knocknacarra out of the water in a surprisingly one sided provincial senior club semi-final at Pearse Stadium on Sunday.

It was a massively disappointing performance from the Galway champions and the truth of this showdown is that Salthill were only really competitive for two ten minute periods of this match in either half – for the remaining two thirds of the match, St. Brigid’s held a complete stranglehold on possession.

In fairness, the opening 10 minutes of the match seemed to indicate that little would separate the sides at the end of the hour, after they had equally shared six points, but from there to half-time, almost all of the match was played in the Salthill-Knocknacarra half of the pitch.


Salthill did suffer a major early loss when free scoring corner forward Seamie Crowe had to retire just six minutes into the match with a leg injury, but as the half wore on, very few balls filtered through to the home set of forwards.

St. Brigid’s played the match with an extra yard of pace and zip that Salthill just couldn’t cope with. The first half midfield dominance of the Roscommon champions wasn’t based on any spectacular exhibition of high fielding – instead they hunted like hungry wolves for all the scraps of possession between the two 45s.

Kevin McStay’s side played this match the Donegal way – all high intensity stuff, and especially so when they didn’t have possession of the ball. Time and again, they hassled and harried Salthill players in possession, often either leading to direct turnovers or else fouls on the ball by the home side.

Ten minutes into the second half, when St. Brigid’s had powered their way to a 0-11 to 0-4 lead, a defeat of quite embarrassing proportions looked to be on the cards for Salthill-Knockncarra but a measure of credit must be given to Gerry Hughes’ side for spiritedly battling back.


Three well taken points, two frees and a real neat effort from play – all supplied by their most dangerous forward, Sean Armstrong – reduced the deficit to four points and it could have been closer had Armstrong found the target with another free and a sideline ball, while Conor Healy also blasted wide from a good position.

On the day that was in it, given St. Brigids overall dominance, Salthill needed to be picking off every chance to keep them competitive – when Frankie Dolan landed a superb 45 metre free followed by a Niall Grehan effort from play (again after the home side had lost possession in defence), the bite was gone from this match with a full 10 minutes left on the clock.

Effectively, this contest was decided in the 20 minute period before half-time when the Connacht champions outscored the home side on a 5-1 tally, and that didn’t flatter them either, as they also kicked five wides from decent enough positions. By then very few in the crowd of about 1,500 people were in any doubt about the outcome.

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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