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U-21 saga drags on as 2008 final deadlocked



Date Published: 10-Dec-2009

THE seemingly never-ending story that is the 2008 U21 A hurling championship will need at least a further sixty minutes of action next Sunday to produce a champion after Sarsfields and Clarinbridge played out a low-scoring draw in Ballinasloe on Saturday afternoon.

Far from a classic encounter, this ridiculously delayed competition’s final suffered from the sticky underfoot conditions and a strong wind which led to both sides only managing to raise a single white flag apiece into the traditional “scoring” end of Duggan Park.

Forwards usually define finals, but this tie was dominated by two resolute defensive units who for long periods engaged in aerial ping-pong as their scorers struggled to win any worthwhile clean possession.

Clarinbridge’s Eoin Forde looked the most likely to break the stubborn Sarsfields’ resistance as he chipped away at their five-point interval lead, but after Thomas Ganley finally provided some scoring assistance in the 45th minute to draw the sides level, a winning score proved elusive and, thankfully, no provision was made for an extra-time period.

Despite the grey skies, the opening exchanges were encouraging as Sarsfields’ Niall Quinn, whose stick work was impressive throughout, opened the scoring in the second minute before Eoin Forde levelled with a free. It proved to be Clarinbridge’s only score of the half.

When Barry Daly was then penalised for overcarrying Niall Morrissey converted a sixth minute free to push Sarsfields ahead, but with Clarinbridge captain Paul Callanan revelling in his role as a sweeper between the half and full back line, scores quickly became hard to come by as the ‘Bridge committed two and three men to every tackle.

Liam Michael Kelly’s fine catch and run on 16 minutes led to a 20 metre free, which Morrissey blasted narrowly over the bar to stretch Sarsfields’ advantage, before Mark Scully made a timely intervention to deny Thomas Ganley a score at the other end.

Smothered whenever they got close to goal, Sarsfields were being restricted to long range efforts and shot three wides in quick succession before Quinn launched a counter attack after robbing Eoin Forde and Liam Michael Kelly’s well taken point was quickly added to by a Morrissey free.

The game as a whole was painfully shy of goalscoring intent, which was best typified by Clarinbridge’s glaring miss on 28 minutes when John Cannon and James Brett combined well to set up substitute Adrian Egan, but when well-placed to find the net his ground stroke made only a dent in the chilly December air as the sliotar rolled from harm’s way.

Sarsfields’ Gerard Dolan then forced Aaron Bindon into the only significant netminding action of the game after being set up by Eanna Dolan. The resultant ’65 was driven wide by Morrissey but he made amends with a free in injury time which left the scoreboard reading 0-6 to 0-1 in Sarsfields favour.

A game that had been devoid of niggle suddenly threatened to boil over into mayhem before the whistle was even blown for the start of the second half. A tussle between Sarsfields’ Darren Skehill, who had dominated the full back line, and Adrian Egan left Skehill prone on the ground and sparked a number of other skirmishes around the pitch. Thankfully order was restored but not before Skehill had left the fray in some discomfort, only to return eight minutes after the resumption.

By that point Eoin Forde had already cut the deficit to two with a couple of successful frees and a well-hit ’65.

Sarsfields were now struggling against the elements and their only noteworthy effort came from a Morrissey sideline cut from the right touchline which went narrowly wide of the upright.

With momentum now in Clarinbridge’s favour, again it was Eoin Forde who popped up to provide the finishing touches. On 40 minutes he calmly made it a one-point ball game with his first from play, but Morrissey quickly hit back for Sarsfields when he drilled a free over the bar to make it 0-7 to 0-5.

In the next attack, however, Forde grabbed his sixth point and Clarinbridge looked likely to forge ahead with 18 minutes still remaining on the clock. Morrissey hit the post with a long-range free for Sarsfields, which was as close as they came to adding further to their tally.

Clarinbridge duly levelled matters when a good clearance from Brendan Ryder found Thomas Ganley and he split the posts with a clean strike off his left hand side. Surely the ‘Bridge would now power on to their second U21A crown (the first coming in 1995), but a John Cannon wide was as close as they came in the final quarter as Sarsfields’ staunch defensive effort stifled their hopes of a win.

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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