A native of Ballinasloe, whose familiy have ran the Pillar House on Society St for decades and have been connected with Hunts, Shows and all matters equestrian recently won the Irish Field Young Rider Of The Year accolade.
Godfrey is the son of Godfrey and Marie Gibbons and has one sister Katie, has just started his fifth year in secondary school at St. Joseph Garbally’s.
Have been involved in horses since he was really young, Godfrey joined the East Galway Pony Club when he was seven years old and also started hunting with East Galway around that time. Godfrey’s aunt Sinead also has a riding school in Ballinrobe, where he spent many summers holidaying and improving his equestrian skills.
Godfrey began eventing through the Ballinasloe Pony Club, competing in some local competitions, and eventually moving on to national competitions. There was a really a variety of disciplines that Godfrey really enjoyed along with the dressage, showjumping, and cross country, he then progressed to compete with Eventing Ireland.
“I became part of a high performance program in 2019, unfortunately all the international competitions were cancelled in 2020 due to covid, but I continued to train hard and had a successful season on the national circuit, this along with the results in early part of 2021 put me in contention for the Irish team.” explains Godfrey Og.
Recently Godfrey travelled to Sweden waiting four days for the horses to arrive. The horses left Ireland on Wednesday, and Godfrey flew out on Sunday arriving right on time to take them off the truck!
Competing on a team of four alongside Tom McCormack, Susan Shanahan and Indya Rogers, they stared out well, lying third after dressage, when a few mishaps on the cross country course moved them down the leaderboard and they finished in sixth place overall out of 14 teams.
"My horse's name is Milchem Free Spirit. Nine years of age, we bought her two years ago and introduced her to eventing, moving her up the grades over the last two seasons”, states the young rising star.
Godfrey was really proud to be part of the team and enjoyed meeting riders from other countries. He was shocked to learn that he had been awarded Irish Field Young Rider of the Year Award for 2020 as he was unaware that he was even in the running for the award and the first young person of our community to do do!
“I will hopefully continue to compete in international events with Milchem Free Spirit and I am also breaking and bringing on some younger horses with a view to being able to compete them at that level in the future. Horse riding is an individual sport but it takes a team to make it happen – big thanks to my family and my coaches especially Ralph Conroy who have helped me along the way.” noted the young Eventer.
Ballinasloe RFC was again basking in the reflective glory in the performances of two of its recent Rugby graduates, with Shane Jennings staring for the Ireland 7's Rugby team in Canada and the sensational performance of Ballinasloe and Connacht Women's player Beibhinn Parsons in the World Cup qualifier in Italy.
Both players represent a 'golden generation' of current and recent players being selected in Connacht and Ireland development squads in both Women's and Men's Rugby at Under 16, 17, 19 and Senior.
Club President Tom Waters said: “Seeing players from the Club playing with such distinction and success gives great pleasure to all the members and players.”
“Minis Rugby continues every Saturday morning at 10:30 on the Club grounds, with coaches trained in child welfare and health and safety guaranteeing a fun experience in a safe environment. Youth age-grade teams train throughout the week and are always open to new players joining.,” he added.
I’ve been playing rugby with Beibhinn since I was about 12 or 13.
I knew her as a friend long before we ever played rugby together. We both played on the GAA teams for Ballinasloe in the years before the girls team was set up in the rugby club and we had a mutual friend who introduced us when I was about 9. Beibhinn was like a golden ticket when we played together for Balliansloe and Connacht at underage. Just get her the ball and she’d do something special with it.
I found it funny when she once told me a few years ago that she didn’t know how to tackle people. She was so quick that she would just get to the person with the ball before they could run anywhere ,and in her own words ‘hug them’ , until someone else got there to tackle them properly. It’s amazing to see how far she’s come in the last few years. I still play alongside her in the Irish women’s sevens programme, I’ve known her all these years and no matter how much hype surrounds her she has not changed much. She’s still the same funny, well-rounded and humble girl, always willing to learn, grow and be better.
Myself and a few of our 7s teammates are heading out to support the XVs women in Italy in their final match of their journey to qualify for the World Cup. I’ll always be excited watching Beibhinn play. It’s gives you a complete different perspective of the game when you know someone who’s playing so well. You feel like your going through all the emotions with them eventhough your just watching.
Cathaoirleach of the Ballinasloe Municipal District Cllr Dermot Connolly thanked Council staff for their efforts in securing funding for footpaths at Mackney and Garbally Demesne (Killconnell Road), at the recent August monthly council meeting,
The Sinn Fein Councillor said he had been contacted by constituents from these areas highlighting the need for the works and having made representations to Council, funding was secured, and works were carried out to the highest standards.
He also thanked Council staff for road works carried out at Deer Park Bridge and Ashtree junction. Cllr Connolly and was told by the Council engineer that works on footpath construction at a section of Beechlawn road would commerce in a number of weeks following Council staff having prepared a design in 2019 and again following further representations from constituents of Cllr Connolly who regularly use the route for walking.
Cllr Connolly also announced that a pedestrian crossing would be placed on Bothar Harris which would facilitate access to the local national school and also people coming to and from Brackernagh, Ard Mhuire and Garbally Drive as a result of his campaigning.
As part of the Municipal District meeting, the Local Area Plan was also discussed. With work now well underway it is expected that this plan, running until 2027, will go to public consultation later this month and will be available for public engagement for six weeks before a final plan is drawn up and adopted for use in early 2022.
Cllr Connolly says: “The Local Area Plan is one of the most significant pieces of work that we will do during our term as local representatives. It is crucial that investment is made in infrastructure to realise the potential of the plan.”
The plan will run parallel to the wider county development plan and ensure that a template is there for the right developments to take place at the right time.
The Cathaoirleach elaborated: “Employment is key in that as well as housing. We have a great advantage in the sense that we are on the motorway, we have a rail network in the town. We are the county town and we have always had a great local workforce for employers to benefit from. It is to attract new employments into Ballinasloe. Employers in the past were always very well served by the local population and the great work ethic that has been in Ballinasloe down the years. If we can get that right it will benefit us in many ways and will help retail and bring Ballinasloe back to its former glory.”
It is encouraged that you have your say on the Local Area Plan and have your say on Ballinasloe’s future.
After a long lockdown, Ballinasloe Cycling Club was permitted to get things moving in June with Criterium Racing. Taking place every Tuesday night at the Pallas Track throughout the month with some of the top competitors in the country in attendance. These were the cycling clubs that first organised open races, and with everyone who raced there enjoying it, more will follow in 2022.
On the leisure side of the club, they organised their first outing recently only for rain to arrive to spoil the show, however, that did not stop the group from meeting up for tea, coffee, and some snacks.
Recently member Gerry O’Sullivan completed a five-day 1000km monster cycle, from Ballinasloe to Mizen Head to Malin Head, in aid of Diabetes Ireland, so a large group of members gathered to cycle with him as far as Gort at the start of his endeavour. Through his efforts, Gerry managed to raise €8,800 , on JustGiving, for the organisation.
In past weeks, Ballinasloe Cycling had their second club spin away of the summer and had two routes on offer for club members. The route for their novice cyclists was from Maam Cross to Leenaun and back to Maam Cross through Inagh Valley.
The second route, for the more seasoned members, totalled over 70 kilometres going to Cong via Loch Na Fooey, and back through Cornamona to Maam Cross for well deserved dinner at Peacocks.
In the last few weeks, they were able to get out for their third club outing to Kinnity where there were three routes on offer, one flat route and two routes taking place in the Slieve Bloom mountains, one with three climbs and one with four.
Several members took on the tough climbs of the Wolf trap and the Cut for the first time with a food stop in Clonaslee, and the all-important coffee stop afterwards in Kinnitty. With the onset of Autumn, one more outing is in the planning and an order for pleasant weather has been placed.
An order has been put in for Club Hoodies and are available for sale by placing an order at Barry’s Cycles. Adult hoodies are €40 and Children's Hoodies are €35 euros. Anyone is free to order these hoodies and you can also order by dialling John on (087) 226 8375.
The Winter Schedule varies for different age groups and grades but at different times on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday – you’ll see the Lycra clad crew gathering outside Barry’s Bicycles in Sarsfield Road!
If you are interested in cycling, you can contact their Facebook page (link below) or email email@example.com about joining for the year ahead.
The project was due to go to tender earlier this year but is now expected to be advertised on the e-Tenders website very soon.
Independent TD Denis Naughten states: “I have been informed that the delay had been primarily due to design development and the carrying out of due diligence of all tender documents.”
The Saolta Group also confirmed that enabling works for the project had allowed a number of onsite issues to be dealt with and that the natural gas and electrical network had been upgraded, while the medical gas infrastructure had also been modified and upgraded.
Denis said: “After I secured the commitment for the ward block development at Portiuncula Hospital from Health Minister Simon Harris there have been a number of delays in the project. It is imperative that this project is now given the priority it deserves within the HSE and that contractors are appointed as soon as possible.”
The Town Team, Christmas Lights Committee are busy planning this years illuminations – expanding again on the wonderful lights and looking to install some new features in the darker precincts of the town.
Funding has been secured from Ballinasloe Credit Union (€4,000) and Galway County Council Community Support Scheme (€3,000) with a surplus from last year's fundraising efforts in the region of €7,000, still sees a project shortfall to cover the installation and expansion costs for this year’s illuminations.
The team propose to run the Xmas Raffle Draw similar to last year, to raise the needed funds, with similar prizes, ranging from shopping vouchers to hotel vouchers (prize values €250 - €1000). The tickets will be available from all local businesses and from ShopBallinasloe.ie.
The whole idea of the campaign and the lights is to lift the spirit of the town and encourage the community to support our local businesses in these difficult times and really drive home the message of “Shop Local, Support Local” this Christmas.
The plan is to turn on the lights on Sunday 21st November @ 6pm with the Gig Rig and live entertainment at the top of the square & negotiations are ongoing with the North Pole to see if the main man himself is available to stop by and switch the lights on and greet the children.
Full details to follow on Ballinasloe Life Social Media channels, ballinasloe.ie & shopballiansloe.ie or for further details contact Lyn in Ballinasloe Enterprise centre on 090 9646516 .
The Ballinasloe Library is presenting their second edition of its hybrid online and in person Comic Con this November.
After the success of the first edition of the event, the Library will hopefully entertain all comic, cartoon and science fiction fans locally with a chance to hook up and spend a few days celebrating their passion for animation and illustration.
Focusing on three pillar themes of Creativity, Science and Music the Comicon will take place on November 5th - 7th and it will consist in a series of disucssion panels, workshops, interviews and some displays. There will be a schools art competion and indeed an on COSPLAY Competition also.
Among the headliners of the event, there will be Alan Nolan, an illustrator graphic designer and the author of the very popular novella, Sam Hannigan's Rock Star Granny and Dr. Barry Fitzgerald a speaker, author, superhero scientist, enthusiastic communicator and a super-fan of the superhero genre.
Ballinasloe’s very own Amie Doherty and Eimear Noone who work in the movie, animation and music world have agreed to participate in the programme and announce the winners of the competitions.
The full program for the weekend will be published online during early October for participation. The event will be free, but booking it in advance will be compulsory in order to attend it and take part in some of the events which will have limited online numbers.
Further information regarding the event will be published on the Library’s Facebook account
Ava McKeon from Ballinasloe won four medals recently including a National Gold medal in the u17 100m hurdles and a National Bronze medal in the 300m hurdles at the National Juvenile Track and Field Championships in Tullamore recently.
Ava followed this up in September by winning two more National medals representing both Ardscoil Mhuire Ballinasloe and Connacht at the historic Tailteann Games which was held in Santry.
In this competition, the top two athletes from each province represent their school and province in each event. Ava won an individual bronze medal in the 80m hurdles and her four x300m relay also won bronze.
Senator Aisling Dolan has welcomed work from Galway County Council to clear the overgrowth along the River Suck waterways in the town centre which is starting shortly.
The Senator has worked with the team in Ballinasloe Municipal District to get the Slí na hAbhainn water channel that goes along the park opposite the marina dredged and cleaned up.
It is a fantastic green space with walkways along the river and incredible Elizabethan bridge arches – it is a jewel in Ballinasloe, although a dusty jewel at the moment and completely covered in overgrowth.
The Slí na hAbhainn channel forms part of the Suck Drainage District and these works will involve the removal of vegetation, silt, litter, and other waste from the channel from Bridge Street to the Marina.
The Fine Gael Senator added: “When works begin in the coming weeks it will transform Slí na hAbhainn park and it’s perfect for a 10-minute walk around town, for people shopping or visiting, it is an ideal place for families to enjoy this park as they stroll around Ballinasloe which is looking so well after the Shopfront Enhancement Scheme.
It is also crucial especially as we are coming into the winter months. This section of the river channel close to St Michael’s Square has been prone to flooding and it is essential to keep the waterways clear. Many residents love this park and were in touch with Senator Dolan last year on how to improve the area.
This is also the location of the new bus station in town, and the Senator believes it would be fantastic to develop a playground and skating park in the area.
For many people bypassing the town, around by the Marina and the Shearwater Hotel, this is their first impression of Ballinasloe along by Slí na hAbhainn park.
Aisling Dolan stated: “There is so much potential to highlight the arches of the impressive fifteenth-century Elizabethan bridge and light up this section. Our local engineers have let me know that they plan to conduct a feasibility study of the bridges.”
“Ballinasloe is looking its best and everyone can feel the community pride when visitors walk around and complement our town”, concluded the Senator.
CLICK HERE to read the Latest Ballinasloe News Articles