Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Archive News

Patience needed after Galway hit modern-day low



Date Published: 18-Jul-2012

EVEN the county’s football old timers are struggling to remember a period when things were this bad. It’s been one disappointing championship defeat after another, but Galway’s current miserable fortunes probably hit a modern-day low when crashing out of the championship to Ulster minnows Antrim at Casement Park last Saturday.

Little did we think that when Galway last won the All-Ireland title back in 2001, that the county was facing into a decade of regular humiliation by counties who, in a traditional sense at least, wouldn’t have been fit to lace the boots of Sean Purcell and Frank Stockwell. Those home qualifier losses to Westmeath and Wexford underlined how far Galway have fallen so quickly, but the Casement Park result was a shocker altogether.

True, Antrim were always going to prove obdurate opponents on home soil and they did frighten the lives out of Kerry in the qualifiers a few years ago, but there was nothing in the team’s recent formbook to suggest that the Division Three National League outfit had the capacity to topple Galway. Liam Bradley’s men are physically strong, but they had been somewhat fortunate to survive their previous qualifier clash against London.

Naturally, Galway’s confidence had been shaken after their tame Connacht semi-final exit to Sligo at Pearse Stadium, but Alan Mulholland and his mentors had carried out some significant surgery on the side ahead of the visit to Belfast. There were new defensive roles for the likes of Johnny Duane and Gary O’Donnell, Tom Fahy was called up at wing back, the fit-again Fintan O Curraoin was named at midfield, Sean Armstrong was moved to the forty while there was a starting role for Michael Meehan.

On that basis alone, nobody could accuse the Galway management of not being proactive in trying to engineer an improvement in performance through changes and switches but, unfortunately, it made no difference. Frankly, this is a group of players whose confidence has been shot by a string of poor championship results and the lack of belief running though the team when the game was there to be won in Casement Park graphically underlined that situation again.

Psychological, Galway are in a desperate place. Losing any knout-out match by a point is the worst emotion of all, but the men in maroon have now suffered this agony on four consecutive occasions with the narrow defeat to Antrim preceded by solitary one point reversals against Donegal, Wexford and Meath 12 months ago. Those series of results can play havoc with players’ minds and when last Saturday’s game was in the balance going down the home stretch, it was always likely that Galway would buckle.

Once more, they couldn’t cope – or more precisely work their way around – with an opposition who operated the in vogue blanket defensive system. Antrim withdrew attacker Mark Sweeney as an extra defender and this tactic clogged up Galway’s forward avenues to such an extent that the visitors could only manage their first point from play, a thumping effort from Paul Conroy, until injury time in the opening-half. To make matters worse, they were also playing with the wind.

The alarm bells were already ringing after Galway’s wretched first-half performance. There was little penetration in their forward movement and their lack of directness meant the crowded Antrim rearguard was rarely stretched. Too often, Galway were operating laterally and their slow build ups was only adding to the sense of frustration of the hardy band of the team’s supporters who had made the long journey North.


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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


Continue Reading