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Tipperary and Corbett lose the plot on humiliating day



Date Published: 22-Aug-2012

IT would be entirely natural if the Galway players and mentors took a few deep gulps watching rejuvenated Kilkenny humiliate their fiercest rivals Tipperary in Sunday’s bruising All-Ireland hurling semi-final at Croke Park, but let’s us not join the prophets of doom already passing judgement on next month’s big September showdown.

For a start, Galway are a way better team than Tipperary; are physically stronger; and possess a much more dangerous attack. Furthermore, every game is different and while we all know nobody executes revenge more ruthlessly than Kilkenny, we don’t expect Galway to be quite as accommodating as the Munster champions were last Sunday when they completely lose the plot inside and outside the four white lines.

This was an embarrassing day for Tipperary hurling as the county suffered its heaviest championship defeat in over a century. On levels terms five minutes into the second-half, Declan Ryan’s men subsequently collapsed without trace as the relentless Cats ran riot from there to the finish to register a staggering 18 point triumph.

Nobody expected such a turnaround from the interval and Tipp fans were already filing for the exits 15 minutes from the end.

They say seeing is believing, but it was still hard to come to terms with the way Tipperary were set up. It was all about Lar Corbett and the 2010 Hurler of the Year’ avoiding the clutches of Jackie Tyrell, who had the measure of the Thurles clubman in last year’s All-Ireland final. In what was obviously a pre-match tactical plan, Corbett was assigned to pick up Tommy Walsh and we were treated to the comical sight of Tipperary’s most dangerous attacker running around after the Kilkenny wing back for over 50 minutes.

It was bizarre stuff, especially as Tyrell was determined to remain in Corbett’s slipstream which hardly helped the performance of another Tipperary forward, Pa Burke, who was being picked up by Walsh.

Tempers were frayed and Corbett’s negative approach ensured he was a virtual passenger for the match. Why the Tipperary management didn’t abandon the strategy after ten minutes is beyond explanation.

Another victim in this tactical meltdown was Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher who was left toiling at full forward for much of the game. A strong runner who relishes being in the thick of the action, Maher was sacrificed in a position to which he is not ideally suited to. It made no sense whatsoever and contributed to a really poor performance by Tipperary who hardly did themselves any favours either by trying to engage Kilkenny so much physically.

It’s one thing trying to stand up to Kilkenny shoulder to shoulder, but trying to intimidate them is just a waste of time. Galway in the Leinster final tackled like demons and didn’t back away from the manly stuff, but there was no stupid aggression or deliberately trying to get Kilkenny’s dander up. Moving the ball fast is the best way to inconvenience the All-Ireland champions, not trying to move the man, if you get my drift.

For all that, Kilkenny were in magnificent order. They were unlucky to trail by a point at half-time, but they just cut loose altogether on the resumption when Corbett, symbolic of his troubled day, was nearly 40 seconds late in rejoining the action. Aidan Fogarty and TJ Reid were the two players who repeatedly drove the stakes through Tipperary hearts and with Brian Hogan lording it at centre back, the second-half quickly turned into a nightmare for punch-drunk Tipperary.

Paul Curran and company simply couldn’t cope when Kilkenny went into overdrive in the second-half. Their backline was repeatedly ripped apart; the midfield partnership of Shane McGrath and Brendan Maher was a fading force; while none of their forward line made any significant impact, notwithstanding Pa Burke’s continued accuracy from frees. Tipperary’s form in the championship had not been convincing and the chickens came home to roost on Sunday.

It’s some fall from grace for a team which swept to All-Ireland glory in such breathtaking style two years ago. In the immediate aftermath of ending Kilkenny’s ‘drive for five’, there were predictions that Tipperary had the capacity to dominate for several seasons themselves. It hasn’t happened and the serious decline of the team in such a short period of time is going to lead to much soul searching in the weeks ahead.

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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