Castlegar used to have a formidable enough, Tug O' War team. Fortunes began to change when Tom Flynn from Turloughmore, showed better strategies and techniques for this art.
However, this seemed to die over twenty years ago. Around that time, practice used to take place in the large field owned by Divillys at Holmes's hill.
Barrels of concrete were hauled and lowered off tree branches. This simulated a "load" so a complete team could pull in unison.
Teams were split for other hands-on practice events.
Around the same time in recent history, Tug of War coaches were Mc Gath and Casserly, both from Two Mile Ditch.
The Men (in those days, women didn't participate) at the ends of a tug of war rope, were known as anchor men. Usually, such individuals were heavy or well set, but not always. Paddy Joe Casserly, was a good example of an Anchor man.
The Castlegar team used to travel to events, including the Aran Islands.
Locally though, events could take place in what was known as "the Priests field"; near the graveyard on the Tuam road. The Swamp (in the Claddagh) and Bushypark, were other fairly local arenas / theatres.
While some Castlegar hurlers could and used to, participate in this sport as well, it suited some individuals better. A different set of skills were needed.
Tug of War requires collective timing whereby the entire team must act as one and in the same moment, and it is a pleasure to see a professional team in action. Amateurs hadn't a chance, even if strong and heavy.
The boots of choice were commonly known as "Nailers" or Hog-Nailed boots. Common sources for this type of "dainty footwear", was Sonny Molloys (now known as the Front Door) or O Loughlins of Eyre Square. These provided extra traction and the common wellington was useless enough without grip.
Not the most comfortable thing to put on a foot; these boots were always leather with mild steel projections (about ten millimeters or three eights of an inch) from the sole and heal. The heal might also have a horse-shoe shaped rim, for even greater traction, and regulation was loose within reason. Laces were invariably leather tongs.