The French diary

WEEKEND UPDATES: We will do a number of Audioboos over the weekend, and update them in the first list below (or you can go direct to our Audioboo page which will be even more up to date).

Text updates are below.

Here’s Niall Murphy, vice-president of Rennes GAA, being interviewed by Michael D McAndrew on Mid West Radio:

Picture and video updates are HERE. These are high-resolution pictures so you can download and print if you wish. Thanks to photographers Des May, Liam Horan, Jill Murphy (Ballinrobe) and Kevin Hughes (Rennes) – and if you have pix, please forward them to and we will add them.

1. AUDIO: Liam Horan update Saturday morning

2. AUDIO: Tom Carney sets the scene Friday evening.

3. AUDIO: Saturday morning, Sean O’Connell (coach and parent) at Debut Day

4. AUDIO: Saturday morning, Alan Flannery (our chairman) at Debut Day

5. AUDIO: Saturday morning, Niall Murphy (Rennes vice-president) at Debut Day

6. AUDIO: Saturday evening, Niall Murphy after-match interview

MONDAY, 9am: Time to pack, time to move on. The team are flying back today. We know they enjoyed their weekend in Ballinrobe, and we certainly enjoyed having them. They were impeccably behaved, friendly to everyone they encountered, and clearly proud of their club. We wish them well, and will join them in Rennes inside the next 12 months.

SUNDAY 6pm: Another great day – team went on a sight-seeing trip in north Connemara, before making their way to McHale Park where they saw Mayo defeat Roscommon in the Connacht SFC semi-final. They were featured in the match programme announced over the public address.

SUNDAY, 2.01am: Alan Flannery, chairman, has confirmed we are travelling to Rennes in March 2014. And if Alan says it, it happens. Even at 2.01am.

SATURDAY, 23.259 (we are knocking the last little bit out of this day): Great night in O’Malley’s. Both clubs exchanged presentations. Kevin Hughes (Armagh/Ormaw) named as Top Tourist. Alan Flannery, Kevin McDonnell and Niall Murphy all spoke. Promises are made to travel to Rennes: Ballinrobe GAA club is adamant it will travel. Start saving the few quid now. Loads of photos: see link above. Jill Murphy has been appointed Official Trip Photographer. She is adamant she will not charge a fee. That’s the spirit we like! Allez le rouges, allez les Robe! This trip has been declared an extraordinary success. Ken Murphy has agreed to sponsor the trip.

SATURDAY, 13.47pm: Great morning. The Rennes players were guests at our Debut Day for the U8s. Referees, linesmen, coaches, you name it: and we had a huge turnout of children. This is a very special day for the club as we send another generation of young footballers out in the club colours.  The Rennes group got to meet and chat at some length with Donal Vaughan, our Ballinrobe and Mayo footballer, who lines out tomorrow v Roscommon. After that it was down to the new Ballinrobe Market (which is a fantastic success on this beautiful day) and who dropped in but An Taoiseach Enda Kenny (he’s our Prime Minister) and he talked to the lads about the team. Enda played a lot of football in his time and his father Henry was on the Mayo team that won the county’s first All-Ireland senior title in 1936. The players got a lovely photo with him. Thanks to photographer John Daly who set the shot up lovely on the public art piece (the giant books) outside the library. Photos, videos and audio from the trip are being added HERE today, tomorrow and over the coming days. Next up is the game v Ballinrobe juniors at 6pm. Just got a call from Fergal O’Malley saying he is putting up a top prize for a raffle in aid of the club at the barbecue, so thanks very much to Fergal for that.


SATURDAY 9.30am: Donal McCormack (of Donal McCormack Design – Donal is also our club’s Community Officer, see below) has just been onto me to say he will kindly sponsor un Tourist Magnifique Award, to be picked tonight at the barbecue. I hasten to add that only members of Rennes GAA club can enter. we will devise a voting procedure as the day goes on. More anon.


SATURDAY 8.53am: So, Rennes GAA are officially in town. We can confirm, yes, they’re in town.

Mucho gracias to Tom Carney who put them through an excellent training session in Flanagan Park last night, despite the torrential rain. Of course, Tom had an ulterior motive: to slow them down before tonight’s clash with our junior team.

Later they repaired to the home of Ann-Marie and Ken Murphy for some food and refreshments. We sent a dedicated reconnaissance team to this gathering and we can confirm that they are in good form, and looking forward to their mission.

But they were early to bed and today will be at our guest coaches, referees and motivators at our Debut Day for the U8s at 10.30am, followed by a trip to the town’s new market at the library.

At 6pm, this evening they play our juniors. Afterwards, there will be a barbecue and video showing of this game, plus the 2013 O’Mara Cup final between Ballinrobe and the Neale.

Do come out at some point today or this evening to meet our visitors, led by their vice-president, Niall Murphy, son of Ann-Marie and Ken, brother of Harry (a distinguished wearer of the club jersey who now plays for Fulham Irish in London – plus he’s home for the weekend too) and Jill. Niall played for Ballinrobe for many years before relocating to Rennes.

Tomorrow, they will attend Mayo v Roscommon in McHale Park – watch out for the write-up on them in the match programme. Plus here’s the souvenir programme for the weekend, with thanks to our Community Officer Donal McCormack for producing this excellent keepsake of what is shaping up to be a memorable weekend.

It’s a big weekend for the club on many fronts, so let’s all get out in our club colours and enjoy the occasion.

There will be updates on this page throughout the weekend.