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Youthful Galway get campaign off to cracking start



Date Published: {J}

Galway 1-15

Derry 1-11


GALWAY gave youth its fling by the banks of the Foyle on Sunday last and for the hardy band of maroon supporters who travelled north, the results were most refreshing as Alan Mulholland’s young guns delivered an unexpected Division 2 league victory.

Derry are quite a measure away from the elite core of teams with All-Ireland expectations in 2012 but they are no slouches either, and Galway can take a lot encouragement, not only from the victory, but from their performance and attitude as well.

Just before referee Marty Duffy threw in the ball, a funeral cortege pulled into the graveyard that overlooks Celtic Park and the Brandywell to provide a sombre backdrop – indeed there were nearly as many people at that ceremony as on the red seats of the impressive stand that spans the length of the pitch.

That sense of mourning was later reflected in the faces of the Derry supporters as they left the ground shortly before four o clock, and minutes before the final whistle sounded – by then, the home side had been roundly defeated. Galway had been a far livelier and innovative team over the 70 minutes – at times Derry just didn’t seem up to the pace of the game.

Necessity, as well as choice, dictated that Alan Mulholland picked a young team for the first outing of the league campaign and realistically in the run-up to this match, the expectations were limited to a decent performance . . . however as the first half unfolded, it became obvious that Galway were in with a real chance of extracting a result from this match. There was more hope in the first 25 minutes of this match than in Galway’s entire 2011 season.

Galway did start a bit tentatively, they gave away a handy enough goal, and missed some early second-half chances that later allowed Derry close the gap to one point, but significantly, when adversity stared them in the eye, they bounced back with renewed vigour each time.

A stomach bug problem meant that Caherlistrane’s Cormac Bane had to be withdrawn from the starting line-up with Nicky Joyce making a welcome return to action – the Killererin clubman took 20 minutes or so to re-tune to the pace of inter-county football, but when he did, the results were impressive with the target struck on five occasions.

One of the features of Galway’s play was the bubbly nature of their forward enterprise. As well as Nicky Joyce, Danny Cummins and Michael Martin were lively in the corners; Paul Conroy put in a very productive first half on the ‘40’, while Mark Hehir also struck the ball with great confidence.

Derry had the ‘reprieved’ James Conway restored to midfield following his McKenna Cup red card against Tyrone and there were fears, after the opening exchanges, that the home side might have it their own way in this sector, but gradually the Galway pair of Fionntán Ó Curraoin and Thomas Flynn settled into the swing of the game – by the time the interval whistle sounded, Galway had assumed superiority in this sector.

In attack, Derry’s main threats came from centre forward Mark Lynch and corner forward Cailean O’Boyle but Colin Forde, Finian Hanley and Jonathan Duane stuck doggedly to their tasks, while on the flanks, Gareth Bradshaw and Gary O’Donnell, counter-attacked with great gusto.

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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