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Tynagh/Abbey get job done in replay thriller



Date Published: {J}

Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry 1-20

Meelick-Eyrecourt 1-16

(After extra-time)


THERE was no dust rising from the edge of the square and the sun sat low in the heavens, but for all that backdrop of winter, this Finnerty Plant Hire intermediate county hurling final replay at Ballinasloe on Saturday was a red hot encounter between two sides of flawless character and honesty.

It mightn’t always have been open and flowing fare but if ever a game captured the parish heartbeat of the GAA then this was it . . . a parcel crammed with passion, honesty and a spirit from both sides which simply refused to die.

This was as hard and a competitive game of hurling as has been played in Galway all season with players from both sides doing everything, apart from separating body and soul, in their quest to be crowned intermediate champions and show their heads again in the big pool.

Every catch and puck of the sliotar was contested with a vigour and drive which would have done sportsmen at any level proud, and over the course of the 90 odd minutes required to draw a line between the two sides, there wasn’t a player who once pulled out of a 50-50 challenge.

For the partisan supporters in the crowd of close on 2,000, the tension cauldron had to be almost unbearable but even for the neutral observer, the sympathy pendulum oscillated from one side to the other with each passing minute.

Over the course of the normal time-span, Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry looked to have just done about enough to see them through only to be caught in the dregs of injury time when a 63rd minute Noel Kenny point from play put Meelick/Eyrecourt one in front for the first time in the match. Meelick’s timing looked to have been perfect but an epilogue was to follow.

Referee Michael Dolan still had 30 seconds to go, during which Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry launched one last attack, honed straight out of desperation and the spirit which sustained them all through the day — the sliotar broke to wing back Padraig Shiel, and from nearly 50 yards out, he drove it between the posts.

That tied the sides at 1-12 apiece as the referee blew up for full-time allowing both teams to re-charge in the dressingrooms after a 10 minute break. Meelick finished the game the stronger but Tynagh staged a miracle recovery at the death to keep the tie alive.

Eyrecourt had played with the second half breeze and continued playing the same way for the first period of extra-time but Abbey-Duniry had re-energised themselves after their last gasp equaliser. Former county and St. Raphael’s All-Ireland winner, Kevin Broderick, snapped up loose balls to shoot points at either end of the first period of extra-time with Ronan Madden also tacking on points from two frees.

Niall Lynch, Sean McCormack and the never-say-die Brendan Lucas replied for Meelick, but after playing with the breeze, they still trailed by one point, at 1-16 to 1-15, with the final segment of the game about to unfold.

A Noel Kenny point at the start of the second period of extra-time levelled the match again but that was to be the last time Eyrecourt would enjoy parity.

Broderick, although clearly hampered by a knee injury, burgled another point before Ronan Madden landed one of the scores of the match with a sideline cut from under the stand, well over 50 yards from goal. Gerry Burke put Abbey-Duniry 1-19 to 1-16 ahead before in the final two minutes Meelick-Eyrecourt secured a ‘21’ in front of the posts, after keeper Devine had saved well before being pulled by the referee for a pick-up off the ground.

The winners seemed to bring back half the parish to defend the free and Brendan Lucas’ well hit effort, caught a piece of Tynagh ash before ricocheting out for a fruitless 65 — Abbey-Duniry broke upfield and Brian Cunningham landed the insurance point from a close range free.Every score was hard earned in this tie with the goals coming in the first 11 minutes and both arrived via 20 metre frees. Ronan Madden drew first blood for Tynagh in 8th minute but three minutes later Brendan Lucas also hit the net for Eyrecourt.

The Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry half backline of Mark Gordon, Karl Kavanagh and Padraig Shiel was proving to be a major stopping point for Meelick-Eyrecourt attacks with their scoring threat confined mainly to frees from Brendan Lucas. The second quarter was a very productive one for Tynagh with Michael Dervan, Kevin Broderick, Ronan Madden, Brian Cunningham and Declan Donnelly all hitting the target, in the process steering them into a 1-8 to 1-3 interval lead.

With 12 minutes left in the match, Meelick-Eyrecourt were still four behind at 1-10 to 1-6, but three inspirational points from Brendan Lucas reduced the deficit to one, before once more Abbey-Duniry looked to have weathered the storm. A Brian Cunningham free put them 1-11 to 1-9 ahead with just four minutes left but then a magnificent point from Lucas, and a well taken effort from Niall Lynch, drew Meelick-Eyrecourt level before the late exchange of scores between Kenny and Shiel.

Extra-time told its own tale but there had be real sympathy at the end for Meelick-Eyrecourt and their manager Seamus ‘Ogie’ Moran, whose passionate sideline invocations to his young charges, also captured the heart and spirit of this match. The pain of defeat will of course hurt them deeply this week but their contribution to this sporting occasion was immense, and they can hold their heads high this week. They didn’t make it in the end, but they left blood, sweat and tears behind them in a noble quest for glory.

Damien Howe, Trevor Moran, Peter Stones, Ronan Larkin, Martin Larkin, Martin Corcoran, Niall Lynch, Noel Kenny and Trevor Moran epitomised the spirit of the side, while the scoring heroics of Brendan Lucas would have been enough on a normal day, to have him end up on the winning side.

Kevin Devine was very solid between the posts for Abbey-Duniry while Liam Hodgins, Paul Gordon, Mark Gordon, Karl Kavanagh, Padraig Shiel, Anthony Burke — who sent in some great deliveries from midfield — Ronan Madden, Kevin Broderick and Declan Donnelly all played big parts in a famous victory which brings them back into the senior ranks.

Few observers of the game would disagree with the assertion that this was undoubtedly the game of the season in Galway club hurling and despite the intensity of the exchanges, not a yellow card had to be displayed by referee Michael Dolan. This was amateur sport and the GAA at its most wholesome and endearing – both sides did themselves and their clubs proud.

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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