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Archive News

‘Wegians blow their chances



Date Published: 27-Oct-2009

Galwegians managed somehow to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory as UCC scored a late smash and grab show to record a shock victory at a windy and rainswept Crowley Park on Saturday.

Leading 11-5 as the game entered injury-time, the Blues not only lost, but even managed to squander a losing bonus point, and in truth they have only themselves to blame.

Wegians came into this game as strong favourites against the College outfit who had lost eleven of their promotion- winning team from last year, and who had yet to register a win this season.

However, the students got off to the perfect start when Wegians’ out-half Ross Shaughnessy had a clearance kick in the second minute charged down near his goalline, with prop Will O’Donovan being credited with the game’s opening try.

Although playing with a swirling breeze slightly to their advantage, Galwegians seemed lethargic as they struggled to adapt to the elements.

Their line-out, which had been a bedrock of consistency thus far in the season, disintegrated in the admittedly very difficult conditions. And the visitors were dealing comfortably with anything which Wegians could throw at them. Indeed, the only first-half response from the home side was a 15th
minute penalty from Mark Butler to reduce arrears to 5-3, although the full-back was unlucky when another effort rebounded off the post soon afterwards.

After presumably some harsh words at the half-time team talk, the Blues started with intent and upped the tempo decidedly in the second half. A second penalty from Butler on 45 minutes had them in front for the first time. Their pack was finally beginning to take control of the forward exchanges, and referee David Keane began to lose patience with the visitors as he sin-binned two UCC forwards in the space of three minutes for persistent infringing.

Eventually the pressure told, and just before the hour mark Wegians extended their lead, when a clever chip from Shaughnessy set up Liam Bibo who grounded the ball for an unconverted try.

At 11-5 ahead entering the final quarter, the Blues needed another score to put some daylight between themselves and the visitors. They virtually owned possession and camped in the UCC 22 for almost the entire second-half, although quite how they did not manage to add to their tally remains a mystery. At one stage a succession of five metre scrum penalties seemed destined to lead to a second and possibly a penalty try, but crucially they were adjudged to have knocked on at the vital moment.

However, as the Blues frittered away chance after chance, the visitors remained in contention to cause an upset. And when another attack was wasted, a huge clearance kick by UCC outhalf Andrew Burke late on brought play deep into Wegians territory. This proved a turning point, as the winning score came soon afterwards on 78 minutes. It came from a well-worked lineout, aided and abetted by sloppy Galwegians defence, which saw the students grind their way forward, with no. 8 James Ryan claiming the touchdown under the posts. Burke made no mistake with the conversion to put the visitors 12-11 in front.

A shell-shocked Wegians had to now force the game, and when they knocked-on near half-way in stoppage time, the students hacked the ball forwards with winger Brian Derham winning the race to claim a third try in the right-hand corner. Burke’s magnificent touchline conversion rubbed salt deep into the wounds by denying Wegians the consolation of even a bonus point.

This result saw Wegians slide from third place to third from bottom in what is shaping up to be a very competitive Division 1b League. Next up for the Blues is a derby next Saturday in Athlone against local rivals Buccaneers, who will be buoyed by their shock 18-15 win away to Ballymena last Saturday.

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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