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Writes Kevin Boland. Kingston, Surrey, United Kingdom
I was deeply saddened to hear the news last week, that local publican, and one of Ballinasloe’s best loved characters, Minnie Sullivan, had passed away. Although I left Ballinasloe in the late 80’s, it was not before I had spent several late night sessions in MinniesBar on Main Street, Ballinalsoe. For me it represented the epitome of an Irish pub, old-fashioned, and no-nonsense, but always warm and inviting, and a place where there was constantly the sound of Irish music.
My connection with Minnie started when I was about four years old, when my family rented a small house in Moore and Clonfad belonging to Minnie and her husband Dermot, while my father was involved in building our new house. My parents became good friends with them both, and in the years that followed, so did I.
Now while I can’t deny that I did my fare share of chasing girls around ‘The Palm Club’ in Haydens Hotel circa 1984, the scene never really appealed to me. Far better to huddle around the fire in Minnies, and enjoy a good music session instead.
Behind a high counter and surrounded by walls adorned with photographs of musicians and beaming locals, stood the matriarch everyone had come to know and love. Her sense of humour and love for life were matched only by her passion for Irish culture, especially traditional Irish music.
Musicians and singers would regularly come from far and wide to play and listen, and I must admit to (badly) singing my favourite Christy Moore and Dubliners songs on more than one occasion. I was lucky to meet and listen to some very talented musicians, Chris Kelly and Maureen Fahy to name but two. On the odd occasion, but to much delight, Minnie would agree to a quick little dance, as the music reached its toe tapping crescendo. She loved the music and the musicians loved her.
I can remember eating lashings of freshly made ham and tomato sandwiches made by Minnine herself, and handed around the bar, late at night, which did a great job of soaking up the booze!
It was a place where, on the eve of a big game, a certain gentleman would come around selling badges made up of little pieces of maroon and white material held together with a safety pin, and in an attempt to get you to buy one would remark on how ‘salubrious’ you looked. Unforgettable.
They were special times indeed, which I stored away in my mind, and thought about, when miles away from home, in more gritty surroundings. It was a time of innocence and great nationalism, far removed from the stresses and austerity of today. It’s just a great shame that Minnie is not here to welcome back the diaspora, myself included, in this year of ‘The Gathering’. May the souls of the faithfully departed rest in peace, Amen.
Overall Ballinasloe have a strong side. A strong defence of Mike Lynch Garry Egan David Cullen Shane Duffy Pete Keighery and keeper Aidan Fallon were the back bone of the side in previous rounds. Darragh Concannon continues to run the midfield show with his accurate free kicks likely to cause trouble for the Clonmel Celtic defence. Aidan Dooney Alan Duffy and Shane Tracy are other skill full players in the home side. It will be interesting to see if Liam Lynch makes a return to the side given that he did not feature in the two previous rounds.
Kilbarrack United are one of the top sides in the AUL and reached the final of this competition last season. They were beater 3 – 0 by Sheriff United in the final. They will provide stiff opposition and Ballinasloe Town will have to be at their very best if they are to over come this talented side. A big local support could be the difference in who comes out on top.
Good luck to Ballinasloe Town and hopefully they can be the second team from the Roscommon and District league who reached the Simi Final of this prestigious competition.
Ballinasloe Town Panel
Aidan Fallon Declan Duffy Shane Duffy David Cullen Mike Lynch Garry Egan Darragh Concannon Michael Greaney Ritchie Egan Pete Keighery Padraig Brock Owen Keighery Eduardo Lacerda Shane Tracy Warren Coyne Dillon Kane Mark Duffy Padraig Moloney Alan Duffy Aidan Dooney Graham Petit Liam Lynch
Manager Enda Concannon.
Coaches Noel Lyons Peter Tiley
Connaught Cup (Last 16).
Ballinasloe Town AFC (2) Vs Colemanstown Utd (0).
Alan Duffy & Micheal Greaney.
The Senior side are through to the Quarter Finals of the Connaught Cup after defeating Colemanstown in the Curragh by 2-0 on Sunday. The home side started the brighter and got their reward for the early pressure when Right Back Gary Egan picked the ball up on the right and delivered a Perfect ball to Alan Duffy who finished extremely well from close range with good header. While Ballinasloe were applying most of the pressure and creating more of the chances the visitors did have a free kick which had to be well saved by Aidan Fallon who was sharp but the game going in at half time was 1-0.
Ballinasloe started again with most of the ball but with the score still at one nil the game seemed to on a knife edge with Colemanstown now coming into the game a little bit more with Fallon in goal having to claim more than one ball, but all hopes were dashed in the 75th min when Darragh Concannon picked out Shane Treacy who found Mark Duffy to let the ball across his body and find Greaney powering into the box and slotted past the keeper to give the Home side a 2-0 lead and Michael’s 5th in Five games. The Game finished 2-0 and their Unbeaten record still intact. Ballinasloe Town are now in the Quarter Finals of the Connaught Cup where they will Play Loughrea Away & F.A.I Umbro Junior Cup and they will find out who We will Face when the Draw is made on MNS on RTE 2 Monday 11th March at 7pm when the draw will be Live on T.V.
Ballinasloe-based professional artist collective, Group 8, launch their fourth annual exhibition of art and writing, The Group 8 Gathering, on Friday the 15th March at 7pm in The Regency Room in Hayden’s Hotel, Ballinasloe. The exhibition will take place between the 15th and the 18th of March 2013, daily from 11am to 6pm, including Saint Patrick’s Day.
The Group 8 Gathering is the result of collaborative work the group undertook around the theme of emigration and returning home. Ballinasloe has seen its share of emigrants and even inspired one of the most famous images of emigration: Erskine Nicol’s painting ‘The Emigrants’ which is housed in London’s Tate Gallery. The painting shows a red-shawled woman at Ballinasloe train station on her way, with others, to Galway to board boats to America.The Group 8 Gathering draws on historic and present day experiences of emigration through installation, photography, fiction, paintings, sculpture and poetry.
Group 8 is comprised of seven visual artists and two writers: Joyce Little – visual and multimedia artist; Tommy Campbell – sculptor; Grellan Ganly – visual artist; Úna Spain – visual artist; Brendan Grealy – visual artist; Nuala Ní Chonchúir – writer; Zara Little-Campbell – writer; John Soden – painter; and Fiona Glynn – textile designer.
The group’s mission statement sets out what they hope to achieve: ‘Group 8 is a non-profit, professional arts group, united in the belief that art worthy of exposure can express the vitality of a community, and foster awareness, imagination and co-operative learning between the artist and their community.’ The group also hosts literary events.
The Group 8 Gathering, and its accompanying catalogue, will be launched by Fergal D’Arcy. All are welcome to come and see sculpture, photography, installations, and paintings; listen to live poetry and fiction readings, music from Johnny Johnston, and enjoy a glass of wine. Admission is free, all welcome.
R & D League Premier Division.
Clonfad Utd (0) Vs Ballinasloe Town AFC (5).
David Cullen (2), Micheal Greaney, Alan Duffy & Shane Treacy.
Back to domestic action for the 1st Team on Sunday when they visited Clonfad Utd in the League. David Cullen opened the scoring with a brace before goal machine Greaney scored his fourth in four games with Alan Duffy & Shane Treacy both adding one a piece to complete the scoring and to maintain their unbeaten run this season and insure that we are still competing in all competitions. Well Done Lads ! Another Great Win…!!!
A.D.S.L U14 Premier Division.
Hudson Bay (3) Vs Ballinasloe Town (2).
Keelan O Leary & Jonathan Cunningham.
The U14’s traveled to Athlone to play Hudson Bay on Saturday morning and started very brightly and maybe should have opened the scoring when Keelan O’Leary’s shot came off the crossbar and into the keeper hands but it was the home side who went down the other end got a penalty to go one up. Ballinasloe pushed on again and got their reward when an O’Leary shot found its way past the the Bay Keeper to make it 1-1. the Home side then took the lead when they received a dubious free kick which was dispatched to leave the score at half time 2-1. Ballinasloe again started the brighter creating chance after chance pinning Hudson Bay back who were defending well and hit the Town on the break with a sucker punch to give them a 3-1 lead but almost immediately Ballinasloe hit back when Jonathan Cunningham benefited from a flick on from brother Darragh Cunningham to take the ball around the keeper to leave the gap at one again. Ballinasloe to their credit kept going for an equalizer but it just wasn’t to be. Great Performance form our lads and really Unlucky not to get at least a draw from this league game.
A.D.S.L U16/17 Premier.
Ballinasloe Town AFC (3) Vs A.C Celtic (4).
Jordan O Leary, Mhamood & Aidan Grenham.
The U16/17’s played A.C.Celtic on Saturday in the Curragh and started very brightly with 2 quick goals, O’Leary opened the scoring with a mazy run and slotted home well and Mahmood saw his stunning free kick beat the keeper to give the home side a 2-0 lead. However the visitors scored 4 on the trot to give them the advantage but the Ballinasloe lads kept on pushing and Aidan Grenham got his rewards when he picked up the ball on the half way line and went on a run that took him inside the Celtic box when he shot back across the goal for a wonderful finish. Unlucky not to get something out of this game Lads.