By Liam Horan, Webmaster

In the spirit of striking while the iron is hot, it will be a busy day for Ballinrobe Community School.

After their thrilling win over St Ciaran’s, Ballygawley, Co. Tyrone, in yesterday’s All-Ireland Senior B football final at Croke Park, they will take to the field once again today.

This time, they won’t have to break a sweat though – they will be introduced to the crowd at half-time in the crucial Allianz NFL Division 1A clash between Mayo and Donegal at Elverys MacHale Park. If you’re there, do show your appreciation.

Afterwards, it’s back on the bus again as they go on tour. Eight clubs are represented on the squad.

The homecoming last night was centred on Ballinrobe, where a huge crowd turned out, and today the team and management will bring the Paddy Drummond Cup to the other seven clubs – Hollymount-Carramore (home of captain Nathan Moran), Mayo Gaels, Garrymore, Kilmaine, The Neale, Ballintubber and over the border and into Clonbur.

Michael King, from the South Mayo GAA board, has had the route planner out all morning. Paris-Dakkar has nothing on this manouevre. Here’s what he has come up with – in all cases, the team will visit the local GAA grounds, back to where it all began:

4.30pm, Ballintubber;

5pm, Mayo Abbey (Mayo Gaels);

5.30pm, Hollymount (Hollymount-Carramore);

6pm, Garrymore;

6.30pm, Kilmaine;

7pm, Cong (The Neale); 

7.30pm, Clonbur.

…and they will then make their way back to Ballinrobe.

 The players are genuinely appreciative of all the support they have received on this march to glory, most notably yesterday in Croke Park and last night in a thronged Ballinrobe.

A few other pointers if you want to relive the day and night:

  1. Ballinrobe club man Martin O’Connor, the DJ and Head of Sound for last night’s homecoming, also managed to capture it on Facebook Live on the Vaughan Shoes channel (multi-tasker Martin is a staff member there). Almost 5,000 people have already watched it, and you can do HERE now. Vaughan Shoes are the team sponsors. They are generous sponsors of local undertakings, including being main sponsors of our club for seven consecutive years.
  2. Tom Carney caught the homecoming on the Ballinrobe GAA Radio Channel. That – along with coverage throughout yesterday – is now archived HERE. That includes some interviews from Jury’s Croke Park hotel, full match coverage, interviews and speeches after the game right up to and beyond the dressing room door, and, of course, the aforementioned homecoming coverage. Padraic Costello Snr, Tom and I were at the controls throughout the day, with a wide variety of cameo appearances along the way.
  3. Watch the game back – it’s on TG4’s YouTube channel HERE
  4. The Lorcan McMonagle who played at corner-back for the victorious St Brendan’s College, Killarney, side in yesterday’s Senior A final is a son of Ian and Bernice McMonagle – Ian from Ballinrobe, Bernice (formerly McNevin) from Carnacon. Ian and Bernice run a B&B business in Killarney – Ian played for Ballinrobe as did his brother David. 
  5. Good work was done by the South Mayo GAA board of late: in particular, the staging of a fund-raising table quiz for Ballinrobe Community School and St Colman’s College, Claremorris (Connacht Senior A champions) before their respective All-Ireland semi-finals was an excellent piece of work. In my view, it raised more than money: it raised morale, local pride, and a sense of unity that was clearly evident yesterday and last night. Plus the appointment of Kieran Kilkenny as South Mayo GAA Coaching Officer is already paying dividends, as alluded to by Damien Egan, team manager, at last night’s homecoming.

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