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Suspensions hit United’s date with destiny



Date Published: 06-Nov-2009

GALWAY United host Cork City in Terryland Park tonight (kick-off 7.45pm) in their final league game of the season knowing that their Premier Division survival is in their own hands.


A win will definitely see United safe from the relegation play-off spots, but a draw or even a defeat will be good enough as long as they match the result of either Sligo Rovers, who are at home to Drogheda United, or St Patrick’s Athletic, who host Shamrock Rovers.


Bray Wanderers have been relegated following their defeat to Derry City at the weekend, while Drogheda United will be in the play-off spots as a result of their defeat to St Pats. One of either United, Sligo or St Pats will join them, but United hold a one point advantage over both of those sides, meaning they are not relying on results elsewhere to secure their safety, although a draw or defeat means it may come to that.


“Cork will be desperate for points so it won’t be easy, but we can’t rely on anyone else. Pats are at home to Shamrock Rovers and they’ll be fighting for their lives, Sligo Rovers are the same. I genuinely don’t know what will be enough against Cork, but we’ll be desperately trying to win the game,” said United manager Ian Foster.


The team boss has a major problem in defence for the visit of Cork City as both first choice central defenders, Shane Guthrie and Garry Breen, are suspended. Throw in the fact Mark O’Toole is out injured while Iarflaith Davoren is struggling with a hamstring strain, then his options in defence are seriously restricted.


Sean Kelly is likely to fill one of the central defensive positions against his former club, while full-back Seamus Conneely played for the Irish U-21 in the centre of defence against Switzerland two weeks ago, so he could also provide emergency cover, and if Davoren passes a fitness test, then he and Paul Sinnott are likely to fill the full-back slots.


Foster is also sweating over the fitness of John Russell, who continues to be troubled by a ankle problem, and the club is awaiting the report of the surgeon to see how bad the damage is, and if Russell needs further surgery, and his chances of featuring tonight are slim.


At 28, Alan Murphy is now one of the veterans of the United squad, and he said that while the loss of Breen and Guthrie was a blow, he had no doubt the players who are brought into the side will do the job that is required of them.


“We are a bit of a depleted squad at the moment with suspensions and injuries, but we’ve got good character and whoever takes to the pitch will do a good job. We are a blend of youth and experience, and the way the economy is, that is what we have to do, we have to bring young players through.


“Look at Seamus Conneely, he is in his second full year and is now in the Irish U-21 squad. Paul Sinnott is another young lad and I thought he was great against Shamrock Rovers, he is a true professional, he is always available to play and will do a job for you, he is a great pro.


“Aaron Greene is another young lad, he took his goal brilliantly against Rovers but I would say he worked even harder after that goal in his defensive play. It is exciting to have such good young players, but with that comes inexperience. We have a good, young squad here, but with the economy the way it is, it will be hard to hold on to all the players for next season” he said.


He insists that nerves are not a factor ahead of the season- defining game, pointing out that instead the players have been relishing the challenge of the last few weeks. “It is exciting to play in these kind of games, we know we are in a dogfight like last season, but we enjoyed those games last year and we are enjoying our football this year as well.


United have made an impassioned plea to the people of Galway to come out and support the side tonight, and considering more than 300 made the trip to Belfield for the last game of the season last year when United were in the same position, surely it is not asking for much to have at least a couple of thousand in Terryland this evening. 


“If we can’t get a big crowd out for a game that the side needs to get something from, then shame on Galway to be honest,” said Murphy. “We’d love to get a big crowd out, and hopefully the public will get behind us,” he said. 

It certainly won’t be easy against Paul Doolin’s Cork City on Friday night, as they are in search of points themselves to guarantee European qualification, though there are serious question marks over their being allowed play in Europe next season due to the financial mess the club is in. 

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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