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Thrashed in Thurles



Date Published: {J}

Tipperary 5-22

Galway 0-12

Dara Bradley

in semple stadium

By now you’ve probably all heard a variation of the cruel joke – ‘fair play to the Galway players for sticking to their boycott and refusing to play in the All-Ireland U21 final at Semple Stadium’.

But there was nothing funny about Saturday night in Thurles as Galway slumped to a humiliating 25 points defeat – the biggest ever losing margin of any side contesting a final in the 47 year history of this competition.

It is also the worst losing margin suffered by any Galway outfit in a final in the modern era, be that at minor, U-21 or senior.


The decision by the ‘suits’ in the upper echelons of the GAA to allow this final to go ahead in Tipperary, turned what most observers expected to be a fairly uneven contest into an absolute shambles. It must be said that Tipperary, playing like they did, would have won this match in Limerick or Portlaoise but the CCC turned a difficult task into an impossible one for Galway with a stroke of a pen.

This was a farce; a farce from the moment on August 30 when the Competitions Control Committee (CCC) reconfirmed that the decider would be played in Tipp’s backyard, to the moment referee James McGrath sounded his final whistle to put all Galway people out of their misery.

And of course, let’s not forget the other ridiculous situation of allowing the Tipperary faithful flooding onto the pitch afterwards – attempts by the stewards to stop them were pathetic. No, GAA President Christy Cooney hadn’t much to say about pitch invasions on Saturday night.

Nobody has escaped from this sordid affair with reputations unscathed. The CCC was once again shown up for what they are in inexplicably deciding that Thurles was the fairest venue; while the Hurling Board officials, management and players must shoulder their share of the burden for this embarrassment.

Boycotting the final wouldn’t have done anybody any good and playing it didn’t do Galway any good either. But it could inflict serious harm on the fragile confidence of the young Galway players who may struggle to recover from such a hiding.

Galway played the decider ‘in protest’ but you wouldn’t have known it, apart from the virtual non existence of travelling support from Galway fans – many of them dyed-in-the-wool hurling people – who stayed at home on principle.

Perhaps the players should have refused to take part in the pre-match parade, a protest gesture to articulate their distain at having to play in Thurles and one that would have sheltered them from having to ‘run the gauntlet’ of more than 20,000 screaming Tipp fans during the traditional walk around the pitch before throw-in.

Hurling Board Chairman Joe Byrne and Secretary John Fahey fought hard to get the final switched but ultimately failed and now must take action to ensure this never happens again.

If they haven’t done so already, the Hurling Board needs to sit down this week and start drafting a motion to bring before the GAA’s Annual Convention this Winter that no final should be played in the home ground of one of the competing teams, and they need to begin lobbying other counties to support such a motion.

For more, see 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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