Large crowds are expected to converge on Ballinrobe this weekend (February 6 to 8 ) for FebFest – a festival of music and sport. FebFest is built around two major annual events in the Ballinrobe area – the local Musical Society’s eagerly-awaited production of Chess, and the Tim Kelly Engineering Floodlit Cup clash of Mayo and Cavan senior footballers, throwing in at 6.15pm.
Saturday night will see the curtain come down on Chess in Ballinrobe Community School, and already patrons are being advised that tickets must be pre-booked for all nights this week. The show starts at 8.30pm each night, and tickets can be obtained by contacting Sean Costello, Abbey Street, Ballinrobe, tel 094 9541405. Chess features music by the Abba duo Bjorn and Benny.
On the same evening, Mayo and Cavan will meet in the Tim Kelly Floodlit Cup, a fixture that always draws a large crowd to Flanagan Park, Ballinrobe. Cavan, under new manager Tom Carr, are making a major push to be a force in Ulster in 2009, and they are treating the Ballinrobe fixture very seriously. For Mayo fans, it will be a further opportunity to cast an eye over players blooded in recent months as Mayo seek to find the right mix for the season ahead.
Sixteen primary schools in the region have nominated expert penalty-takers from their ranks to try their luck on the night in a special penalty shoot-out competition with goalkeepers on the Mayo senior panel. This event will keep the crowd entertained at half-time, and the most proficient kicker and runner-up will each receive a special goody-bag, sponsored by Trevor Watson of O’Neill’s. Each kicker will get a warm-up kick, and it’s ‘sudden death’ for the duration of the competition.
A number of local pubs are laying on live music on Saturday night to coincide with FebFest, while sports fans are also likely to congregate in large number in local hostelries at 5pm for the meeting of Ireland and France in Six Nations rugby. All in all, with rugby, Gaelic football, and the final of the musical Chess all thrown into the mix, it promises to be a lively weekend in Ballinrobe, and an ideal way to banish the winter blues.