Mayo Rugby Club Ballyhaunis RFC are to host a festival of rugby as part of their 40th anniversary celebrations this August.
The festival, in aid of Ballyhaunis RFC’s Club Development as well as leading Irish Charities (The Irish Cancer Society, Aware, Pieta House, Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association & Research Motor Neurone) takes place between August 4th and August 11th.
This event, the brainchild of (and partly funded by) Mayo local Eammon Gallagher will be supported by Connaught Rugby, The Mayo County Foundation, Mid-West Radio, Ballyhaunis Chamber of Commerce and a select number of commercial partners who will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Festival Schedule:
Sat. August 4th Connaught Rugby under 20’s 10 a side Tournament
(featuring hosts Ballyhaunis and other local teams)
Sun. August 5th International 4 Team Tournament
(featuring Ballyhaunis, Sligo, Swords from Dublin & Finsbury Park RFC from London)
Sat. August 11th Tag Rugby & Barn Dance Event
Speaking about the upcoming event Ballyhaunis RFC President Ned Curley said: “This is going to be a great occasion for our club in our 40th year and on the back of Ireland’s Recent Grand Slam (and Leinster’s European Cup success) Rugby is fast becoming the peoples sport here in Ireland and this event will help us grow the club in our catchment areas of East Mayo, West Roscommon & South Sligo. As well as grow Rugby in this part of Connaught too and help some truly great charities. We look forward to hosting all the teams and visitors that well come to us over the two weekends in August”.
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WHAT OUR PARTNERS ARE SAYING
Connaught Rugby Domestic Rugby Manager Lyndon Jones said: “This is a great opportunity to grow rugby in a part of Connaught that has a lot of under developed potential, we at Connaught Rugby are excited by the prospects that this festival holds to help us achieve our aims of increasing participation in the provence.”
Michael Hannon of The Mayo County Foundation said: “We are all excited by this amazing News I have been working closely with Ballyhaunis RFC and Mr Eamonn Gallagher a former member of the club in recent years who along with their committee has been the driving force behind this event. We hope this will reach out to Mayo’s and indeed Ireland’s Diaspora Globally and bring them all back home to our County during the peak holiday season through sport tourism and they will get to see the natural beauty of one the world most unique and special places whilst witnessing what we hope will be some memorable and enjoyable rugby that will raise vital funds for terrific causes also”.
Ballyhaunis Chamber of Commerce said: “This news could not be more timely for our town, community and Rugby club all of which are on the up after years of immigration and an economic slump, now that we have withered the storm we hope that this will be the shot in the arm not only for Rugby and Sport in the area but for the town and community as a whole. We greatly look forward to hosting all of the Visitors that will be coming into the area and we to also hope to welcome home a famous son of Ballyhaunis who has played Rugby at the very highest level, Mr Matt Perry”.
Paul Claffey of Mid-West Radio said: “Our station has been a great supporter of all at Ballyhaunis RFC over the years and we want to say a very big well done to all involved and for them to know we are right behind them all in this noble endeavour for some truly great causes and we hope it will bring the community together and bring all our diaspora back home to Ballyhaunis, Mayo and this part of Connaught in general. We greatly look forward to two great weekends of Rugby in early August and we hope to see as many people as possible attend both weekends.
The Irish Cancer Society said: “This Tournament is wonderful news and we hope it will go some way in helping us in our part of the global fight against a terrible and nasty disease like cancer. Recent figure show that by 2020 1 in 2 of our population will get cancer. We are extremely grateful to all at Ballyhaunis RFC & to Mr Eamonn Gallagher for putting this event on and thinking of us and all the other charities that are going to benefit from this noble event”.
Gerry O’Brien, Head of Fundraising at Aware said: “We were delighted to be chosen as one of the organisations to benefit from the Charity Rugby Tournament. Events like this bring the whole community together to have fun, raise funds and significantly bring awareness to important topics like mental health. With one in ten experiencing depression in Ireland, we all know someone who has been impacted – whether directly ourselves, a family member, a friend or a colleague. Aware helps communities nationwide, supporting those affected by depression and bipolar disorder, and delivering education programmes to empower people to look after their mental health. These services are free of charge, and support from Ballyhaunis RFC and all who take part will help us to continue to provide these services that make a real difference in people’s lives.”
Pieta House said: “Both Depression and Suicide are major issues not only in Ireland but globally, all to often people who battle with depression and suicidal tendencies don’t feel they have any support, so we want to work with everyone involved in this fantastic event to highlight what we are doing so that people know they can and will come to us for support rather than take drastic and regrettable action”.
Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association said: “Motor Neurone is a terrible disease for which there is no cure Ireland currently has 350 people living with this disease and rugby like every other sport and non sporting communities have great people currently battling or sadly lost great people to this disease. One only has to think of Springbok Legend Joost Van Der Westhuizen to see his heroic battle and what he has done in his lifetime to highlight the effects of this disease. We also want to take this opportunity to wish Scotland Legend Doddie Wear all the best in his battle with the disease. Through these courageous people we hope to see a world free from MND.
Research Motor Neurone said: “This event is something that we are greatly excited about and we greatly hope it will help us in the global fight against MND. We want to wish Ballyhaunis RFC all involved all the best with the event we are sure it will be a great success”.
Former Ballyhaunis RFC and current Finsbury Park RFC member Eamonn Gallagher one of the driving forces behind this whole project said: “Having lost my Mother Maureen to cancer in 2001 it left me truly devastated I felt so low I just wanted to do something. However I feel it also made me realise how devesting it all is for everyone else who has lost to these diseases”.
“Since my Mother’s passing I am more determined than ever to see this through as I started to realise what my paternal Aunt years earlier, and more recently my Paternal Uncle both of whom died of Cancer and their families must have gone through along with close family friends who have succumbed to the disease, as well as that my other Paternal Aunt die of MND and again I am mindful of what my Uncle and her family must have gone through, all these diseases are devesting and leave a big hole in our lives. This coupled with the fact my Brother-In-Law has just beaten cancer and my own battle with depression I really want to help make a difference to all our lives and bring us all together to fight a common cause”.
Gallagher who is a native of Midfield (in County Mayo) works for the Rugby Business Network which is a Global not for profit organisation that helps current and ex-players adjust to live after rugby is hopeful to attract some of the games leading former and current stars to the event in Ballyhaunis this August.
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