Ballinasloe Community Games Success

Front row L-R Ava McKeon, Caoimhe Ni Thuairisg, Mya Kelly.  Middle row. Kayla McKeon, Aoibheann Fitzpatrick. Back row. Shane Fitzpatrick, Charie Naughton, Joseph Tierney.

Front row L-R Ava McKeon, Caoimhe Ni Thuairisg, Mya Kelly. Middle row. Kayla McKeon, Aoibheann Fitzpatrick. Back row. Shane Fitzpatrick, Charie Naughton, Joseph Tierney.

Ballinasloe athletes representing county Galway did both their both their club & county proud at the Community Games Athletic National Finals which were held at Athlone AIT on the weekend over two days.

All our individual competitors made it through their heats on day 1 making it into the semi-finals which were held on the Sunday.  Our U10 mixed Relay Team made it through their heat & semi-final on day 1 & into the final which was held on Sunday.

U8 60m
First up on Sunday was Kayla McKeon competing in the U8’s 60m semi-final.  After putting in a strong performance on day 1 Kayla had the misfortune of tripping at the start line in her semi-final & in such a short race she did not have enough time to make up lost ground.

U8 80m
Aoibheann Fitzpatrick had a great race in her semi-final & made it into the final where she performed well.

All the U8’s received a Community Games National Medal for making it into the National finals.  Considering only 1 person qualifiers out of their county in each event this medal was well deserved & is testament to the athletic ability of all these young athletes who made it into the Nationals.  Well done to both Kayla & Aoibheann.

U16 Marathon
Brian Burke put in an impressive performance in the U16 boys marathon, where despite suffering from bruised ribs, he competed against over 60 other athletes where he endured the pain & battled well over a 7K tough course coming in 10th place.  Congratulations to Brian on his final National Community Games outing as this is the last year he is in age for this event.

U10 100m
Charlie Naughton (who previously won gold at the Community Games Athletic National Finals back in 2012 when he was U8) performed brilliantly over the weekend making it into the final where he came in 4th place & the top 4 in each event receive a medal in the Community Games Nationals.  Well done Charlie this was well deserved.

U10 200m
Shane Fitzpatrick put in spectacular runs over the weekend making it into the final where he came in 2nd place in a very close finish winning a National Silver Medal.  Congratulations Shane.  The boys performed splendidly up against the strongest athletes in the country.

U10 Mixed Relay Team
The U10 mixed relay team performed brilliantly on day 1 making it into the final on Sunday. All their hard training paid off on the day with each young athlete putting in an outstanding performance in the final where they came in 2nd place.  Congratulations to

Mya Kelly
Ava McKeon
Caoimhe Ni Thuairisg
Shane Fitzpatrick
Charlie Naughton
Joseph Tierney

The competition at the Community Games Athletic National Finals is as strong as it gets.  Ballinasloe & District Athletic Club would like to congratulate all these young athletes for making it into the Community Games National finals & doing both their club & county proud.

By Monica McKeon

Reporter Transition

It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to Limerick man Kevin O’Connor. He has surpassed all expectations since joining the Life team in January. We here in the office would like to thank him for his service to the magazine. Conor Finnerty is next in line to fill the shoes of the Life reporter. The Ahascragh/Caltra clubman is studying journalism at the University of Limerick and will be a part of the Life team for the rest of the year.

New Reporter


Ballinasloe GAA Cúl Camps

This year’s Cúl Camps have just wrapped up until next year, after two weeks of intense GAA action. With over 40 kids attending both hurling and football, the camps continue to prove themselves as some of the most popular activities for our underage athletes.
“We were very lucky this year, everything went right for us,” said Christine Kelly, one of thre volunteers with the hurling week. “The weather was perfect and everyone had a great time.” On the first morning, Galway Senior Hurler Paraic Brehony came down to inspect, and help the kids out with their techniques.

“It’s a great opportunity for kids to develop their sills and make new friends,” said Willie Stankard, who was involved in the football camp. “The kids were given an excellent Cúl Camp Kit this year.”

The players involved ranged in age from six to 13, and numbers for girls and boys attending stood at roughly two boys for every girl.

With the mud barely drying on their boots, many kids are already looking forward to next years Cúl Camps, which will doubtless be even bigger and better than this years.

Town Bench-marking Project


A show of hands at the Town Mapping  Meeting in Gullanes on August 6th 

The town bench marking meeting was well represented by members from the business, volunteer groups, clubs and organizations. The results of a social media driven survey funded by the BACD and the Ballinasloe Enterprise Center revealed some areas for improvement to awaken the towns slumbering economy.

Project Co-ordinator, Owen Dunne, revealed that the survey had been completed an impressive 814 times and that close to 50% of the people surveyed wanted to be kept up to the date with the findings and the future plans. Multiple video vox pops of some of the business people in the town were uploaded onto youtube and posted via the Ballinasloe Life Facebook page. The Videos were posted between July 23rd to August 7th and reached a total of 8,800 Facebook users and the videos reached an accumulative total of 1,329 Youtube views. 

The towns central location and access to the motorway were the two biggest advantages identified by the survey. Chris Wade, Chief Executive of “Towns Alive”, spoke on the possibilities for the town if everyone pulled together and “worked under the one umbrella”. His experiences lie in the UK where he has helped to turn around failing former market towns and reinvigorate them to make the most of their unique advantages. His track record speaks for itself with countless towns across Britain benefiting from his services.

Mr Wade spoke about bringing uniqueness back to the “high street”. All to often towns have become carbon copies of one another due to high rent prices. He believes that the downturn in the economy can once again open up new space for a more vibrant mix of shops and draw people back into the town center.

But the point was made by Seamus Duffy, Chairman of Ballinasloe Area Community Development, and echoed by people around the room that the town will not improve if this initiative is only undertaken by people in the town center. The project must encompass the hinterland of Ballinasloe for it to be a success. Co-operation between towns such as Portumna and Aughrim to name but a few is essential in reviving the flagging economy in the East of Galway.

The survey revealed people in the town believe new industry as what is needed most in the area to fulfill it’s potential. At the meeting references were made to the golden era of the town when Square D, Dubarry, Portiuncula, St Brigids and AT Cross were the backbone to the community. Other aspects which rated highly on the items that needed to be developed was a better internet service improved parking facilities.

Caution must be taken however as the survey showed that the majority of people that carried it out fell into the age brackets of between 25-45. This does not reflect the areas actual demographic. Further street surveys will be carried out by Chris’ team in the future to gather a full understanding of the perception of the town. The results of these surveys will build on the work already completed and allow a town committee to create a plan and put it into action. The turnout for the event is a testament to the community spirit in the area. 

From Malin to Mizen Head – Extended Article

While the aerodynamic benefits of leg-waxing has long been known, three local Gardaí, Ciarán Ó Ráighne, Anthony Pender and Sergeant Tom Horkan, along with several members of the Fire Service, will soon be subjected to that torture, and all in the name of charity. Each of the Gardaí are trying to raise €350 each for a sponsored charity cycle, which will see the three men join an expected 120 more, and cycle from Malin Head to Mizen Head, stopping in Tralee, Lisdoonvarna, Claremorris, and Donegal Town over 5 days this Spetember.

The money raised will go to charities decided by the families of two Gardaí who were killed in the line of duty, Robbie McCallion IMAG0076 (1) Barry McLoughlin, in 2009. This year, the money raised will go to the Jack and Jill Foundation, the Irish Wheelchair Association, the Mayo-Roscommon Hospice and Donegal Hospice.

Fergal D’Arcy will MC on the night, and there will be signed Mayo, Galway and Connacht jerseys up for grabs, as well as a raffle to help raise the money. Any surplus to the lads raise will be donated to Ballinasloe Social Services. You can get and drop off donation cards from the Garda Station, or any of the Gardaí involved.