The late Anna O’Loughlin, RIP

  It is with great sadness that Ballinrobe GAA Club announces the passing of one of our greatest supporters, Anna O’Loughlin. A native of Kilnaboy, Co. Clare, Anna (87) became an integral part of life in this town after moving here in 1970. If there was a match, you could rely on Anna being there, along with her husband, Christy, who passed away 12 years ago. A quietly spoken woman, Anna often sat in the car up on ‘the embankment’ at Flanagan Park where she studied football and hurling encounters with an astute eye. Afterwards, she would share with players and mentors a thoughtful word of commendation or encouragement, as befitted the outcome. Her loyalty to the club was undiluted in every circumstance. Long journeys to remote venues never cost her a thought, either. Wherever the maroon and yellow of the club – or the blue and white of Ballinrobe CBS and later Ballinrobe Community School – fielded teams in pursuit of victory, Anna and Christy made it their business to be there, an inseparable couple who wanted only the best for the people they knew and loved. Multiple generations of Ballinrobe players regarded Anna with great warmth and respect, and her passing has occasioned much sadness locally. Anna and Christy moved here in 1970, when Christy was appointed to work as farm manager at the agricultural research station at Creagh, Ballinrobe. He served for a period as vice chairman of our club and was also heavily involved in the physical developments of our facilities at Flanagan Park. He played an active part in Ballinrobe hurling club during the 1970s and 1980s. Their sons contributed to some of the best days our club has ever had – a teenage PJ featured on the team that captured our first Mayo Intermediate Championship title in 1979; Brendan played on the 1990 side that won the Mayo Junior Championship; and Fergal was a leading light when we won our second Intermediate Championship title in 2000. Fergal figured on the Ballinrobe Community School team that won the historic first All-Ireland Senior B title in 1991. Brendan was a substitute on the Mayo team that won the 1983 All-Ireland U21 Championship. The family involvement is as strong as ever and is highly valued by all of our members. Anna and Christy’s son, Declan, who also played at under-age level with the club, is a key figure in the club’s ever-expanding ladies football wing. The emergence of a strong ladies football sector in the club dictated that after many years watching her sons star in the Ballinrobe colours, Anna had the great joy of watching her grand-daughter, Ailbhe, shine for the club. Grandson Fionn, who is also an accomplished basketballer, has worn the club jersey from an early age. Declan’s wife, Katherine (Butler), is a former club secretary. The Christy O’Loughlin Cup was inaugurated in 2012 and Anna presented the cup to winning captains on a number of occasions, including to Fionn in 2018. We extend our deepest sympathy to Anna’s sons James, PJ, Brendan, Declan and Fergal; daughter Evelyn; daughters-in-law; son-in-law; grandchildren, great-grandchildren and extended family members on their loss. As a club, we feel acutely the pain of Anna’s passing, and are mindful of the fact that the family have lost a dearly loved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Funeral details are available HERE. The club will form a guard of honour at the removal of her remains from St Joseph’s Funeral Home to St Mary’s Church on Sunday.   John Sweeney, Chairman, Ballinrobe GAA Club.      

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The late Fr Tommy Leyden, RIP

  Ballinrobe GAA club regrets to announce the death in Nairobi, Kenya, of Fr Tommy Leyden, who was a distinguished wearer of the Ballinrobe and Mayo jerseys in the 1950s. Fr Tommy came through the Ballinrobe CBS football nursery and was a member of the team which won the school’s first Flanagan Cup title in 1951. He figured on the Mayo minor football panel in 1952 and lined out with Ballinrobe throughout the 1950s, including as a member of the squad which won the 1958 divisional and county junior titles. A year later, he played for Ballinrobe in the Mayo senior league final defeat to Ballina Stephenites. Club historian Michael Coyne, who also played in that 1959 final, recalled that the team and supporters travelled by special train to Ballina to take on the famed locals. Just a few short months later, on 31 December 1959, the Ballinrobe to Claremorris railway line closed. “Fr Tommy was a lovely fellow,” said Michael, “and a very good forward, a sweet footballer. He was a late vocation to the priesthood, having earlier worked as a civil engineer. He was compassionate and caring.” A member of the Divine Word Missionaries who had their west of Ireland base in Donamon, Co. Roscommon, Fr Tommy’s first ministry was in Flores, Indonesia. There he served the poor in districts with no electricity, running water or other basic facilities. He later moved to Nairobi, Kenya, where he spent the remainder of his life helping disadvantaged people living in challenging conditions. Geraldine May, Ballinrobe, explained that Fr Tommy was a first cousin of her late husband, Des, who also played with Ballinrobe. “They were best friends. He was Best Man at our wedding. He was a deeply spiritual man, a mystic almost. He believed in giving people time, regardless of what religion they were – he was all about helping others,” said Geraldine. “He lived a simple life. He never got into emailing or texting. He never wore a watch. His mother Nell was dead three weeks before word even reached him. But he wrote an average of 500 letters per year, in beautiful handwriting that he retained right up to his final years even though he suffered badly with arthritis. He kept in touch with so many people. “He had a wonderful sense of humour too.” The Leyden family lived on Abbey Street, Ballinrobe. Fr Tommy’s father John Joe was a secondary school teacher in Ballinrobe CBS. His mother was Nell, and he had one sister, Maura (O’Connell), who passed away many years ago. He is survived by his nephew Tom and nieces Sharon and Helena.   He quietly slipped away last weekend and will be laid to rest in Nairobi. John Sweeney, Chairman, Ballinrobe GAA Club

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Martin Flannery Memorial Cup 2023

The Martin Flannery Memorial Cup got underway this week, with the Ballinrobe Under 10 Boys playing in a winter Pella tournament under lights, on the Astro Turf pitch, in the Green. The tournament sees 40 U0 boys playing in a league format and there was nothing between the four teams who played this week, all trying to emulate the winning team from last year (see team members above with members of the Flannery family). This is the third year of the Martin Flannery Memorial Cup, an event which remembers Martin, a lifetime volunteer and coach at all levels for Ballinrobe GAA, a recipient of the Ballinrobe GAA Hall of Fame award, and a former winner of the Club Person of the Year accolade. Indeed, the Flannery family are still heavily involved in Ballinrobe GAA and Martin would be very proud to see his grandson Daniel playing in this tournament, alongside his peers. Throw in for Round 2 of the tournament is next Wednesday 11th of October at 6.15pm. Please come along and support the boys while also remembering a great man who gave so much to help develop our club over the years.

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The late Tony Walkin, RIP

Ballinrobe GAA club regrets to announce the death today (18 August 2023), of a much-loved club member and former President, Tony Walkin (85), Creagh Road, Ballinrobe. He had borne the cross of illness bravely for the past number of months.  A man of many parts, Tony was known all over Ireland – and, indeed, further afield – for his love of Gaelic football. He travelled far and wide to support Ballinrobe and Mayo teams and his great interest in people, and his capacity to entertain others, meant that he established firm friendships wherever he went. A native of Ardagh, Ballina, Tony played football with Ballina Stephenites. When he met and married Irene Ryder, a member of a well-known Ballinrobe business family, Tony relocated to Ballinrobe in 1962 and quickly became an integral part of the community, including playing for our club. Irene and Tony enjoyed a wonderful bond, and the club is particularly cognisant of the loss she is experiencing at this time. He opened a business on Main Street that over the years engaged in a variety of pursuits. Tony learned the German language and became a trusted point of contact for Germans moving to Ireland, often sourcing sites or properties in the region where they could build or renovate properties. At the back, he had a small public house. He ran a travel agency – again, German visitors were a key customer segment – and he developed a fine trade in giftware. The business continues to the present day and is now operated by Tony’s daughter Mary and her husband John. Ballinrobe benefitted from his seemingly boundless energy. A stalwart of various local organisations, including the Town Development Company, Tidy Towns and the Town Hall, Tony was at the heart of everything positive in Ballinrobe. His work with the Society of St Vincent de Paul was not as well known as he carried it out with admirable discretion but suffice it to say that many local people were grateful for his quiet generosity at difficult times in their lives. With great affection and even greater sadness, we say “Tony was Tony”. His avuncular personality found expression on the stage as he was a performing member of Ballinrobe Musical Society for six decades. His final show was The Pirates of Penzance in 2020. He served in an administrative capacity on many occasions. Other affiliations he cherished were his involvement with Mayo Male Voice Choir and his lifelong membership of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association. Despite all of the foregoing commitments, Tony somehow found time for the GAA Club. He was an ever-present at club events and served in a variety of administrative and management positions within our club, including as a long-serving county board delegate. On away trips to other clubs or counties, Tony assumed an almost ambassadorial role as he engaged with friends – be they new or just-formed – to enquire about the fortunes of the local team. If you travelled with Tony, you were virtually certain that he’d get you into the tea-room for some refreshments before or after the game – people simply warmed to him whenever he went. His faithful companions on many of those trips were his clubmates Billy Horan, who passed away last year, and Michael Coyne, all three of them glorying in the moniker by which their entourage became known – The Last of the Summer Wine, in deference to the TV programme of the same name. Tony’s family also served the club with distinction. Paddy, Peter, Tony Jnr and Mark played at all levels for Ballinrobe, winning numerous titles, while Tony Jnr featured on the Mayo minor team which contested the 1991 All-Ireland final, losing to Cork. Peter, Mark and Tony have worked in coaching and administrative capacities, with Peter serving as club chairman in the early to mid-2000s. Though domiciled in New York, Paddy retains a strong interest in Ballinrobe GAA Club. Tony’s grandchildren have also worn the maroon and yellow of Ballinrobe. In 2015, granddaughter Sarah Finnegan earned the distinction of landing the first score recorded by the club’s reformed ladies football wing in an under-age challenge game with The Neale.  Tony is survived by his wife Irene, children Mary, Paddy (USA), Paula (Fermanagh), Elaine, Peter (Dunmore), Tony and Mark, sister Maura (Ballaghaderreen), brothers John (Ballina), PJ (Ballina), Gerry (UK), Shamus (Ballina), Eamon (Ballina), and Vincent (Doc, Dublin), sons-in-law John, James, Kevin, daughters-in-law Mary Ann, Joan, Denise and Marie, sisters-in-law, 13 adored grandchildren, nephews, nieces, relatives, neighbours and a large circle of friends. As a mark of respect to Tony, a minute’s silence will be held at all club events this weekend, including our Mayo IFC clash with Burrishoole on Saturday evening in Newport. The club will form a guard of honour to give a fitting send-off to a man who made a very rich contribution to the lives of our members and to his adopted community. Funeral arrangements are as follows: reposing at his residence (F31 H308) on Saturday from 4.00pm to 7pm. Removal from his residence on Sunday morning to St Mary’s Church, Ballinrobe, for Funeral Mass at 11.30am with burial afterwards in New Cemetery, Ballinrobe. Funeral Mass will be streamlined live on Cummins Funeral Directors page. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis. Donations, if desired, to the Mayo Roscommon Hospice, c/o Cummins Funeral Directors or John Sweeney, Chairman, Ballinrobe GAA Club

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Development of Club Facilities at Flanagan Park

Ballinrobe GAA Club members are now considering two proposals the development of their club facilities at Flanagan Park, following a club meeting. “We urge all members to consider these proposals carefully before an upcoming Club meeting where we will take a vote on them,” said John Sweeney, Chairperson. The proposals are as follows: Proposal 1: Develop a clubhouse that will feature extra dressing room facilities, a meeting room, a new press/commentary box, a kitchen, and new toilet areas. Additionally, the newly acquired ground will be developed into an all-weather pitch. Proposal 2: Develop a clubhouse with the same features as outlined above and the newly acquired ground as a standard grass pitch. “At our last Club meeting we took a decision to seek planning permission for Proposal 1 above, as the application is not a costly process, and it will be of value to us regardless of which proposal we select. In addition to these proposals, it was agreed to meet with the Principal of Ballinrobe Community School to discuss the club’s support for pitch maintenance and repair work at the Ballinrobe Community School pitch, which we frequently use, and this meeting took place this week. Furthermore, we strongly believe that the development of a gym at Flanagan Park will benefit the club and its members,” added the spokesperson. The club acknowledge that no matter what decisions are taken, a major fundraising and promotional effort will be required. “However, we believe that this effort is necessary for the future of the club, given the large number of players and teams we currently have. Playing space is a problem – but a good problem, we acknowledge. We will seek to access public funding as we proceed in whichever direction we take,” said the spokesperson. “All of these items will be discussed at our next Club meeting, and we encourage all members to attend and participate actively in the decision-making process. Together, we can ensure that the future of our club is bright.”

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The late James (Jimmy) Philbin

James (Jimmy) Philbin, Liskillen, Ballinrobe, who has passed away peacefully at his residence, was a former Ballinrobe footballer who starred on the club team that won the 1958 Mayo Junior Football Championship title. That win was the club’s second ever county junior title and Jimmy was a tight-marking defender who handled some of the top forwards in Mayo during that period. In previous years, he played as a half-forward and featured on the team that won the 1956 O’Mara Cup. He added further O’Mara Cup titles to his collection in 1958 and 1963. Jimmy had a lengthy career in the Ballinrobe colours and his sons Seamus and Adrian, as well as his grandchildren, all followed in his footsteps. Quietly spoken by nature, he was intensely popular in the locality and his passing has evoked sincere regret. He worked in the Agricultural Research Centre, Creagh, Ballinrobe, for many years, while also maintaining the family farm. Predeceased by his parents Brian and Bridget (O’Keeffe), brother-in-law Jimmy, and sister-in-law Eileen, he is deeply regretted by his loving family wife Josie, sons Adrian and Seamus, daughter Lorraine, grandchildren Leonie, Ross, Ciaran, Ella, Dara, Oisín, Brian and Lily, daughter-in-law Linda, Frances, son-in-law Tom, sisters-in-law Perry, Bernadette, Maureen, Kitty, extended family, cousins, relatives, neighbours and friends. His remains will repose at Saint Joseph’s Funeral Home, Ballinrobe, F31H289, on Sunday evening, 2 April, from 6pm with private removal at 7.30pm to his home. The funeral cortege will arrive at St. Mary’s Church, Ballinrobe, on Monday, 3 April, for Requiem Mass at 12 noon with the funeral proceeding to the Old Cemetery, Ballinrobe. The club extends its deepest sympathy to Jimmy’s family at this sad time. John Sweeney, Chairman, Ballinrobe GAA Club.  

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The late Mary O’Haire

  It is with deep regret that Ballinrobe GAA Club acknowledges the passing of Mrs Mary O’Haire (nee Canny), Mountain View, Rathkelly, Ballinrobe, who was a staunch club member and supporter for many years. A native of Headford, Co. Galway, Mary, a nurse by profession, became actively involved in our club when she married local man Christy O’Haire, a well-known and highly regarded figure in local, regional and national GAA circles.  Together, Mary and Christy contributed to the club in numerous ways. Christy served the club as a player, manager and chairman, and also held the position of chairman of the South Mayo GAA Board. At county level, he was a selector on a variety of Mayo teams at all levels, including on the U21 team that won the 1983 All-Ireland final and the senior side that reached the 1989 All-Ireland football final, Mayo’s first appearance in the decider since 1951. Mary was an ever-present at club games and helped out quietly and discreetly to ensure events ran smoothly. The pair were inseparable until Christy’s sudden passing in 1996 between the drawn and replayed All-Ireland senior football finals involving Mayo and Meath – ironically, Mayo’s first final since 1989. Many’s the club and county player and mentor who appreciated Mary’s words of encouragement and commendation before or after a game. She always wanted the best for Ballinrobe and Mayo, though she retained a strong affection for her native county and enjoyed the banter whenever those great inter-county rivals were set to tackle each other. Ballinrobe was prominent in Scór, the GAA’s cultural competition, in the 1970s and 1980s, and Mary played her part as an administrator in the background. She made an indelible impression on all who met her. The family continues to contribute to Ballinrobe GAA Club, with Mary’s daughters Marie and Chanelle actively involved in the club, and her grand-children Jason and Mark wearing our colours at underage level. That involvement is valued by everyone within the club, given the family tradition. Mary’s son Liam (42), who lived in Crusheen, Co. Clare, and who played with the club for many years, passed away after an illness in May, 2020. Having lost her beloved husband Christy so young, Liam’s passing was another hard cross for Mary to bear. A minute’s silence in Mary’s memory will take place before our Mayo LGFA Junior B Ladies quarter-final meeting with Belmullet; our Mayo IFC clash with Kiltane; and our Mayo U16 D Ladies football final against Hollymount. All of these games take place on Sunday, September 25.  Mary was predeceased by her parents Nicholas and Mary; husband Christy; son Liam and brother Charles. She is deeply regretted by her loving daughters Marie and Chanelle; daughter-in-law Anna; son-in-law Paul; grandchildren Jason, Mark, Alannah and Christopher; sisters Sr. Ena and Sr. Chanel; brothers Fr. Stephen (USA), Oliver and Frank; sisters-in-law Stella, Olive and Josie; brother-in-law Michael John; nieces; nephews; grandnieces; grandnephews, extended family and a wide circle of friends. Solas Mhic Dé ar a n-anam. Funeral details are available HERE John Flannelly, Chairman, Ballinrobe GAA Club    

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Last Man Standing – rules and how to enter

  Can you pick the winner of the next Premier league games and can you get further than most? Win €500!! €10 to enter. Starting this Saturday 13th August. Enter by Thursday night, 11th August. Contact Paul on 086 224 8078 WhatsApp to enter. Scroll down to see the rules of the competition. Last Man Standing Rules A team can only be selected once.   Should your selected team win, you will progress to the next round. However, if your team loses or draws you will be eliminated from the competition.   Should you forget to make your selection in any matchday, you will be automatically assigned the first team you have not previously selected according to alphabetical order.   If your selected team’s game is postponed you will automatically go through to the next round and you cannot select that team again. The deadline for matchday picks will be one hour before the first game of each matchday.   All competition correspondence will be done via the Last Man Standing WhatsApp group.   The winner will be the last remaining person in the competition.  

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The late Joe Lowry

Ballinrobe GAA Club has paid tribute to Joe Lowry, who passed away in Cleveland, USA, on Thursday June 30. Aged 85, Joe was a native of The Farm, Ballinrobe, and a distinguished footballer with Ballinrobe and Mayo before he emigrated to the USA in 1956. A substitute on the Mayo team which won the All-Ireland Minor Championship in 1953, he played for the county minors in 1954 and 1955. He was also selected on the Connacht Colleges combined team which won the All-Ireland Interprovincial Series. Joe’s final game for Ballinrobe came in the O’Mara Cup final of 1955, which was actually played in 1956. He emigrated to Cleveland just a few days later, and worked in construction in his adopted city. He continued to play Gaelic football in Cleveland and returned to play with New York in a National League final in Croke Park. His brother Tommy, who passed away in recent years, also played for Ballinrobe for many years. Joe’s health had deteriorated in recent years. “Joe was an excellent footballer and a huge loss to Ballinrobe when he left to work and settle in Cleveland. He never lost interest in the fortunes of our club, however, and made regular contact to keep himself up to date,” said club historian Michael Coyne. “We extend our sympathy to the Lowry family on their sad loss. Growing up, I often heard stories of Joe’s exploits for Ballinrobe and Mayo. The death of one our stars from yesteryear is always a sad occasion for the club,” said club chairman John Flannelly.   Joe was a beloved husband of 59 years to Mary Ann (nee Corrigan); father of David, Mary Kapferer (Scott), Theresa Wisniewski (Steven), Kathleen Milewski (Scott) and Thomas (Kim); grandfather of five; great-grandfather of two; brother of Mary Ruane and the late Anne Sheridan, Thomas, Owen, Michael and Martin; uncle and friend of many.  Photos show Joe (centre of three men) on a St Patrick’s GAA Club, Cleveland, team in 1962; Joe and his wife with Sean Mayo players Sean Kilbride (left, Ballaghaderreen) and Tommie O’Malley (right, Ballinrobe) when the Mayo team visited Cleveland in 1970; a newspaper article from Cleveland featuring Joe; a Ballinrobe team of the mid 1950s, Joe is fourth from the right on the front row.

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