Ballinasloe Town A F.C. and the Halewood Juniors Soccer Club from Liverpool celebrated 25 years of friendship and sport over the Easter period when a group of adults and youths visited for the Ballinasloe Town biennial Exchange Trip.
Joe Kelly Senior was one of the main founders of this hugely successful relationship 25 years ago and was on hand again this year to meet up with the Halewood group and to cheer on the teams from both clubs.
Over the 4 day visit, numerous activities were organised for the Halewood group including swimming, shopping, Bingo at the Soccer Club Bingo in the Shearwater Hotel and a presentation dinner in Gullane’s Hotel in addition to the Tournament Games. Significantly this year the first year that there was an all-girl under 12s game and the Ballinasloe girls won the Irish Cup after a 1-0 victory
Club Development Co Ordinator Johnny Walsh stated: “Apart from the promotion of Soccer this Exchange Trip has developed a great sense of camaraderie between the Ballinasloe and Halewood Communities. It has also proved to be a very beneficial and positive contributory factor to the local economy as in the region of 100 people make the biennial trip for the few days while some of the group also make additional private trips to Ballinasloe at other times of the year.” Ballinasloe Town A F. C. are already making plans for the return trip to Liverpool next Easter.
The Senior A team have once again qualified for the Connacht Cup Final after a tremendous semi-final win away to Castlebar Celtic. The 'Town' were 1-0 l down at half time and faced an uphill battle but they regrouped well at the break and put in a magnificent second half which saw former Irish under 16 International Jordan Carr score 2 goals to secure the victory for Ballinasloe on a 2-1 scoreline. The ‘Town’ will now play the winners of Salthill Devon F. C. and Athenry F. C. The final has been fixed for Éamon Deacy Park (Galway United Grounds) on Sunday May 29 as the club seeks to win their fifth Connacht Cup title.
The Clubs Development Committee have been busy recently with preparations for the next phase of the Club Development Works which consist of additional works to upgrade the floodlight system on the Main Grass Playing Pitch to energy-efficient LED lighting and also to upgrade the perimeter fencing, lighting and pitch surfaces at the astro turf pitches. Club Development Co-Ordinator Johnny Walsh stated that he expects works to commence in the very near future.
The Clubs Senior Ladies Team are back training at the Curragh Grounds every Monday evening. The Roscommon and District Soccer league are organising a series of friendly games and intend to set up a Ladies League if there is sufficient interest from other clubs. The ‘Town’ have a great tradition of organising Ladies Soccer down through the years and wish to invite all interested ladies to join the club for training every Monday evening at 7.30pm. For anyone wishing to get involved contact Breda Cleary on 087 1533804.
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