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Sickening defeat for Corofin



Date Published: {J}

St Brigid’s 0-11

Corofin 0-10

Dara Bradley in Kiltoom

RIGHT from the off in Sunday’s Connacht club football championship final, it was clear there would be one headline talking point: Referee, Liam Devenney.

And so it turned out, although nobody could have predicted the ugly scenes at the final whistle in Kiltoom in which the Mayo referee and his officials were barracked and jostled when surrounded by irate travelling supporters from Corofin.

The man in the middle was frustratingly finicky and pernickety from the throw-in. Just minutes into the clash of the Connacht club titans, Corofin and St Brigid’s, the referee inexplicably booked former Galway player, Damien Burke, who lined-out on the ‘40. What for? Only Devenney knew.

Minutes later, another county player, Gary Sice saw yellow. Again, it was a strange, harsh call. By half-time seven players, three St Brigid’s and four Corofin, had their names written into the referees’ little black book, with the general consensus being just one of them, Alan O’Donovan’s high and late challenge on St Brigid’s full-back Darragh Donnelly, deserved a caution.

With yellow cards thrown about with abandon and without any commonsense, it’s a mystery how 30 players lasted the full hour, by which time the yellow card count had almost doubled to 13, which incredibly is a booking nearly every five minutes. And all this in a match that hadn’t a hint of malice or rancour.

But Devenney’s liberal use of the yellow card only underlined his fussiness; it was the free count – almost two to one against Corofin – and some appalling decisions that really rankled with the Corofin players, management and support.

The Ballina official awarded some 29 frees to 16 against Corofin, some of them quite frankly bizarre in the extreme, which certainly made a difference to the final result. The pitch and weather conditions – hardly a puff of wind and the winter sun shining – were conducive to an attractive game of football, which both sides attempted to play despite Devenney’s constant whistling.

He ruled out what looked like a perfectly legitimate goal from Corofin’s Mike Farragher in the first half, and instead signalled a free-out for a square ball, a decision he made, frustratingly, without consulting either umpires.

What are umpires there for, if not to assist the referee in such crucial decisions? Television replays confirmed most observers ‘live’ gut instincts that the green flag should have been raised. On such blatant errors, and ill-judgement in not consulting, are finals won and lost.

Devenney also accidentally interfered with a Daithi Burke pass on the Corofin ‘40, late in the second half with the Galway champions on the hunt for an equaliser but rather than awarding a throw-in, he allowed play to continue and St Brigid’s went on the attack – luckily the Roscommon outfit’s midfielder, Karl Mannion, ballooned his effort wide but it was a mistake from the referee that robbed Corofin of go-forward momentum at a vital stage.

Then with the match on a knife edge, tied at 0-9 apiece deep into the second half, St Brigid’s were awarded a free-in against Sice, who clearly had been fouled initially and who should have been awarded a free-out. That decision, above all others, was mindboggling and game-changing, particularly given marksman Frankie Dolan converted the placed ball.

Devenney was poor for both sides, although Corofin certainly got a rawer deal, and though it won’t matter one jot to the Galway kingpins now, he shouldn’t be allowed to officiate another match again, at the very least until he gets a refresher course in refereeing and commonsense.

But for all his many faults on Sunday, Devenney didn’t deserve to be blackguarded by Corofin ‘fans’ afterwards. The disgraceful scenes at the final whistle, with emotions running high, were unacceptable and brought shame to the North Galway club. Verbal abuse and jostling could easily have led to assault had the officials not been protected and shepherded from the park.

It’s a pity poor officiating and the ‘mob mentality’ of some supporters overshadowed what was an exciting, closely fought contest.

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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