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Predator Triathlon Club gearing up for big event



Date Published: {J}

PREDATOR Triathlon Club is making final preparations for its major annual event of the year, the Loughrea Sprint Triathlon, which takes place in the local town and Kilnadeema area on Sunday, September 12.

This weekend, Race Organiser Tony Daley and his fellow members will go over the course one more time before the big event, to ensure it all goes to plan. It is that meticulous.

Since its inception in 2006, the triathlon club and its flagship meet have gone from strength to strength. Indeed, this year, over 500 competitors will take part in the race, although Daley believes that, such has been the response, this figure could easily be 700.

“This is the fifth year of the race and it just keeps growing and growing,” he beams. “I know some people in the club would like to extend it to 600 or 700 people, but we ran it so well with the numbers we had last year, we want to continue to do that. Even now, though, we are still getting queries from people who want to do the race.”

In any event, the race filled out about a month ago and it will be left to those lucky enough to claim a number to take on the challenges of the 750 metre swim, 20km cycle and 5km run. In contrast to an Ironman event, which boasts of greater lengths in the three disciplines, this is known as a sprint distance.

That said, the sprint distance triathlon is not the only race that will be run on the day. Daley explains that contests for juveniles and women will also be held although, in relation to the latter, there will be female competitors involved in the sprint distance race also.

“We have 60 children in the Predator Triathlon Club; a lot of the tri-athletes have got kids involved, so the children do the junior races – 150km swim, 6km cycle and 2km run – and the adults compete in the senior races. We also have a women’s only section, which is a 300 metre swim, 6km on the bike and a 2km run but, of course, the women can also take part in the sprint distance, which is mixed.”

The swim itself takes place at Long Point in Loughrea, with the cycle meandering into the heartland of Kilnadeema. “It is quite hilly,” adds Daley. “The run also winds its way out towards Kilnadeema as well, so there are plenty of hills.”

Naturally, to pull an event of this magnitude together takes a great deal of organisation from all involved. Race Organiser Daley is quick in his praise. “The Gardaí are really good, as are Loughrea Town Council,” says the Sheffield native.

“We have roads closed for part of the race, which you have to do, particularly for the kids’ part of the race. So, the Gardaí, the Civil Defence and Loughrea Town Council all play their part in helping out. Then, we have our own local club members. We ask them, for just one weekend a year, to help out and they do. We set it all up on the Saturday, so come Sunday everything is ready to go.”

Although there will be competitors from all over the world, including the UK and Lithuania, most of the field will travel from right across the country, from as far away as Belfast, Cork and Dublin. However, the one to beat will be Galway City native and defending champion, Ruaidhrí Geraghty, who has become something of a specialist in the sport.

“Yeah, Ruaidhrí Geraghty won it last year and he is entered again this year,” says Daley. “The winner gets €100 and an engraved, glass trophy, but it is all about the prestige of winning it.

“From our own club, Maírtín Grealish could win it this year. He won Brian Boru (Tri Challenge, Killaloe) two weeks ago and came second in the Lough Ree (Monster Sprint, Roscommon) last week. He is doing the European Duathlon Championships this week in Edinburgh. He is going really well at the moment.”

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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