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In Rennes, they talk of Mayo…

From Our Man in Rennes, Niall Murphy: “Exciting week! I hope all is well. Rennes GAA is going very well. We just played in our first Euro tournament of the year and we put in some good performances. We beat Frankfurt (only Irish players) which we are very proud of. Lost by a point to Lyon and got beaten by Brussels who are the best team in Europe (they went on to win the tournament). “Next Euro tournament for us is the weekend of the 19th/20th of October in Athlone for the Euro finals which involves all the clubs around Europe. “Anyway the players are all excited about the Mayo v Dublin match. We will be watching it all together in ‘The Wesport Inn’ in Rennes city centre. “Have a look at the photo, the only Mayo man in the photo is the one with the Kerry jersey! His father is from Kerry. Allez the green and red!” Who can forget the Rennes visit to Ballinrobe earlier this year – but just in case you did forget it, details are HERE. Actually, one of their number, Caimin Browne, was in Ballinrobe last week – his father Richard hails from the Neale and now lives in Kilkenny. Caimin spent a year in Rennes and teamed up with the lads. He’s back in Ireland now. And we better get Niall (and Harry) Murphy home soon too. Niall has a 30th birthday in the offing, a little bird called Ken tells me.

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Rennes GAA pen pix

For more on the Rennes trip to Ballinrobe, June 14-16, 2013, go HERE For more on the Rennes trip to Ballinrobe, June 14-16, 2013, go HERE For more on the Rennes trip to Ballinrobe, June 14-16, 2013, go HERE For more on the Rennes trip to Ballinrobe, June 14-16, 2013, go HERE For more on the Rennes trip to Ballinrobe, June 14-16, 2013, go HERE

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Rennes come to ‘Robe

Led by our very own Niall Murphy, a team from Rennes GAA will visit Ballinrobe on the weekend of June 14-16th. On the Saturday, they hope to play a Ballinrobe selection featuring junior and senior players. More on Rennes GAA HERE Listen here to Niall’s St Stephen’s Day interview with us HERE Niall’s group will stay in local B&Bs. More anon. We will roll out the carpet to welcome them. We are also hoping that the Rennes players will do some guest coaching at our Skills Academy on the Saturday morning (9.30). Donal McCormack, our Community Officer, is putting together a number of events for that weekend. They will attend the Mayo v Roscommon game in McHale Park, Castlebar, on Sunday, June 16th. Rennes pen-pictures can be viewed HERE Rennes pen-pictures can be viewed HERE

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Support the Ballinrobe man picked on European team for @EtihadAirways GAA World Games

He’s Niall Murphy from the Kilmaine road, son of Ken and Ann-Marie. He played with our club for many years, as did his brother Harry. Niall now lives in Rennes, France, where he is a leading light of the local GAA club – read about the Rennes trip to Ballinrobe three years ago HERE. Now Niall has been selected on the European team for the Etihad Airways GAA World Games in UCD, starting this weekend. It is a singular honour for Niall – there are 85 clubs in Europen and Niall has been selected on the side to represent all of them. The club is trying to raise a few quid to fund the trip to Dublin. You can contribute HERE. Allez le Niall!

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Thanks from Clare Island

Padraic O’Malley has been in touch to thank everyone who helped to make their recent lightning visit to Ballinrobe a success – our junior team, those who helped out with what he described as excellent hospitality on the evening, and three of our players who donned their jersey. That trio included John Fitzpatrick who went back to his roots – his mother was a native of the island. Would they join us on the trip to Rennes? Actually, Padraic wants to know the dimensions of Flanagan Park. As a townie, this is not something I would ever admit to knowing, even if I did know it, which I don’t. Anyone out there happen to know? Jarlath Reilly, you’re a great man of the soil, surely you’d have that information on the tip of your tongue. Tom Watson – maybe you know it for the quizzes? Let me know if you can answer this, or I might be forced to step it out myself some evening. Sean Murphy, you can probably calculate it by just standing up on the embankment and throwing one over the place. I’m not sure why Padraic wants to know. I certainly don’t think it was because he found the pitch too narrow on the evening… UPDATE, first reply in: A man says: “In paces, I’d give it you in paces (approx 98 wide and 168 long) but no idea in proper measurement”.

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Welcome to London

In the past decade, our club enjoyed two very successful trips to London. On one occasion we played Tir Conaill Gaels. The other game was an historic occasion as it was the first time a match was played under floodlights at Ruislip. The floodlights were actually on wheels, and were supplied by a company called Musco Lighting. The lights were on trial at the time. I’m not sure if they were taken on on a full-time basis afterwards. We played the London county team (Colm Foody of Bonniconlon was playing) and we beat them. Tommy O’Malley used his subs bench well that night, as far as I recall. Our club PRO Billy Horan wrote a full-page article on the trip in the Mayo News, and it’s framed and up on the walls of a number of local pubs (presented by the club). Anyway, as a club who benefitted from the hospitality of London GAA folk on those occasions, we extend a warm welcome to the London team this weekend as they play Mayo in McHale Park in a truly historic Connacht final. Ballinrobe men who have worn the London jersey? Harry Murphy played for London on a number of occasions. I think Eoin Sheridan played minor for them in Croke Park in 1981 or so – or was that New York? We’d be interested to hear about any other connections, just leave a comment below or email Are there any Ballinrobe natives home to support the London team this weekend? Manager Paul Coggins played on many occasions for Ballinrobe Community School against Ballinrobe CBS, as Michael Bradley (another man who lived in the UK for many years, and played Gaelic football over there too, not quite sure of the club with which he played)  reminded me when we bumped into each other out swimming Spitz-like around The Point at Cahir Pier last week. And, by the way, in a totally unrelated matter, I have never, ever, repeat ever, experienced the water at Cahir Pier as warm as I found it yesterday evening. Terence Duddy, who supported London when he lived over there, can vouch for that fact, as can Eamon Marrey. Inch was just about to go in when I left, and I’m sure he will back up the claim. It was positively indoor heated. I remember Paul’s brother Eugene playing for Ballyhaunis Community School against Ballinrobe CBS a few years later. More to the point: it’s time for another club trip. Niall Murphy, brother of Harry, will take us by the hand and lead us around Rennes, France, so that must be a priority for late 2013 or early 2014. You can read about the Rennes trip to Ballinrobe last month HERE

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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: [audio:] 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

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U10s & U12s – up Mayo!

Our U10s will train this Saturday morning at 9.30, as per normal. Members of the Rennes GAA team, our guests this weekend, will help out with the Academy. The club have also organised a bus to Mayo v Roscommon on Sunday for U12s and U10s. If you are interested in sending your son or daughter along, text Kevin at 087 284 8324 to book your place. Cost of bus is €5 and you’ll need to purchase a juvenile ticket €5 in Supervalu in advance. Any parents who wish to come on the bus are very welcome.

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Debut Day

UPDATE, SATURDAY 2pm: We had a great morning at Debut Day. We had a total of 52 young players and a huge turnout of older players and adults. It is tied in with the visit by Rennes GAA to Ballinrobe this weekend, so head on over HERE to read all about it, and to see the photos. Here’s the pre-match pep-talk by Donal Vaughan, Noel Connelly, Niall Murphy and Alan Flannery, with Liam Horan as master of ceremonies. Plus this VIDEO of the team being clapped onto the field by parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, friends, coaches, Rennes players and club supporters. They’re now fully inducted in the club colours: may it be a long and fruitful innings for each and every one of them. And we’d like to echo Des May’s sentiments in this video: well done!   In 2012, we inaugurated our Debut Day – when we mark the first year in which our U8s wear the club jersey. Last year it was against Carras on a beautiful Saturday morning – this Saturday (June 15), we are hoping for good weather for the 2013 Debut Day when our young players play Hollymount-Carramore, in Flanagan Park, Ballinrobe, at 11am. Players, family and friends are asked to be there at 10.30am for the ‘welcome to the club colours’ pep-talk by club chairman Alan Flannery, plus photos and the parade of the players onto the field before the game. This is a family day – we had three generations of some families there last year – and we hope to see similar numbers again this year. This is the start of what will hopefully be a rewarding and exciting journey in the club colours for all our young players. Bring your cameras to capture the memories. This year, we will have as special guests the members of the Rennes GAA team who are visiting Ballinrobe this weekend. More on Rennes trip HERE

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