Sports Shorts

Western Lakes Cycling

Western Lakes Cycling club enrolment night takes place at the cycling centre on Thursday January 29 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. The club welcomes all new members from youths to elders. Go along and join one of the fastest growing sports in Ireland which can be practised at any age. Every Monday night a circuit class is run from 7.30pm to 8.30pm, catering for all abilities, all you need is suitable clothing, a towel, and water. Spinning classes take place every Thursday from 7pm and 7.55pm, and 8.05pm to 9pm open to all adults men and women, bring your own bike or use a club bike. Both classes work on strength and cardiovascular exercise and help with weight control. The cycling centre is on the Kilmaine road underneath the water towers. Supporting fitness classes at the cycling centre helps keep the centre viable. For more details contact Padraig @ 087 7992857.


Galway International launches rally season

By Cathal Doyle

The 2009 motorsport season gets off to an unusually early start this year, with this week-end’s Safety Direct Galway International Rally. The two day event traditionally runs on the first week-end in February, but with Rally Ireland taking place in just over two weeks time, it meant the Galway event had to be brought forward to accommodate the World Championship series opener.

The first counter of the 2009 Tarmac Rally Championship, the Galway International boasts a healthy entry list which has been boosted with the addition of two drivers from the World Rally Championship hoping to gain experience of Irish roads before Rally Ireland. Seeded number one is Zimbabwean Conrad Rautenbach in a Citroen Xsara WRC, who will be hoping to challenge the best of the local drivers for overall victory. Second seed is Germany’s Aaron Burkart who is competing on the Junior World Rally Championship this year. His Suzuki Swift is unlikely to be in contention for overall honours but the high revving Super 1600 is sure to be a favourite with the crowds.

Behind them, the leading Irish contenders include reigning Tarmac Champion Eamonn Boland, followed by Gareth MacHale, while the likes of Eugene Donnelly, Tim McNulty, Kevin Lynch, Derek McGarrity and Peadar Hurson can all be expected to challenge for victory.

Leading the Mayo interest will be Aaron MacHale at number 10 in his familiar Ford Focus WRC. Shane Buckley from Ballyhaunis with Tomas Maguire co-driving will be competing in the highly competitive Fiesta Challenge and starts at number 66. Seeded at 108, Ballinrobe’s Fiachra Moran and David Walsh in a Honda Civic are hoping to contest the full Tarmac Championship this year. They are followed by Aughagower’s David Carney and Peter McGreal in a Peugeot 106. Brendan Corcoran from Castlebar is at 132 in another Honda Civic while the Corolla of David Staunton and Liam Feeney is at 138. The action commences with a ceremonial start in Eyre Square in Galway on Friday evening, before the action gets under way with nine stages in north Galway in the Abbeyknockmoy area on Saturday. Sunday sees a further eight stages around Gort before the finish back in Eyre Square.

Sports scholarships for Mayo students

Institute of Technology Sligo Sports Scholarships have been awarded at a special ceremony hosted by Professor Terri Scott, president IT Sligo. The sports scholarships provide financial and mentoring support to athletes of outstanding talent. Many have already represented IT Sligo or their county in their respective sports. Sports scholarship recipients are supported by IT Sligo in keeping up their sporting commitments while pursuing their educational commitments and goals.

Announcing the awards, Professor Terri Scott said “I am delighted to congratulate our outstanding and talented athletes who have demonstrated commitment and brought distinction to the Institute of Technology Sligo. Each award winner is also a role model for other sportsmen and sportswomen. In achieving success at the highest level in your respective sports, you have exhibited commitment, determination, and drive that will be invaluable to you in the years ahead.”

Chairman of the judging panel, Dr Bill Crowe remarked that the standard of applicants had been the highest in many years, reflecting the ever increasing sporting achievements of students at IT Sligo. The following awards were given: Basketball, Lamar Marsh from Ballina; Cycling: Patrick Clarke, Castleconnor, Co Mayo; Ladies soccer: Patricia Coyle, Ballina, Co Mayo, and Sarah Finnerty from Roscommon; and Men’s soccer: Niall Costello, Balla, Co Mayo.

All-Ireland footballer Dan O’Neill for London launch of his autobiography

Dan O’Neill, one of two Mayo men to win an All-Ireland senior football title with Louth in 1957, is now to launch his popular autobiography at a function in London on Friday, January 30. “I have family and a lot of friends in London, and they have been on to me to launch the book in London. I am delighted to do so on Friday January 30, when I hope to meet up with all of them, in the Crown Moran Hotel, 42-152 Cricklewood Broadway, London, at 8pm,” said Dan, who is now retired in Galway city. “When I played with my home club, Castlebar Mitchels, we toured England in 1964, and played matches against teams in London, Luton, Coventry, and Birmingham.”

All are welcome to the launch, and admission is free of charge. Dan has already launched the book here in Ireland and it sold extremely well in the build-up to Christmas.

Dan played for Castlebar Mitchels and Mayo before transferring to Louth following an expenses dispute, and was joined in the Wee County by Ballaghaderreen man Seamie O’Donnell. The two had played together in 1954 on the Mayo team that won the National Football League title, and bumped into each other again at a border crossing when both were gardaí stationed in Co Louth.

In a twist of fate, they ended up playing at midfield together in the second-half of the 1957 All-Ireland final when Louth defeated Cork — and now, over 50 years later, Dan has chronicled his football career and his life and times in Mayo, Louth, Sligo, and Galway.

The book — Divided Loyalties — conveys why Dan, in a fit of pique, made an impetuous decision to leave his native county and throw in his lot with Louth, going on to win an All-Ireland medal with his adopted county. Divided Loyalties was written in association with Ballinrobe, Co Mayo, freelance journalist Liam Horan.

If you’d like to pick up a copy of the book, go along to the hotel on the night. The book is available in all good bookshops. Contact publishers Low Ball against the Wind ([email protected], +353 87 9185867 ) if you have difficulty getting a copy.


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