Sunday 17 December 2017

The West has gone half mad after big win

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Noel Mannion

Much of the focus in the west this week surrounded the Galway hurlers, and with the homecoming arriving in Ballinasloe where I run a sports shop, it made for a hectic Monday for every business in the town, writes Noel Mannion.

I closed up shop at around half two, but it was crazy around the place after that. The excitement was building all weekend - the stand was up on Friday, so win or lose they were stopping - and it looked like a lot of people from the county decided to come to Ballinasloe rather than the city.

There is a whole generation that are experiencing a hurling win for the first time, but for all sports it's a big boost.

I was delighted for the local lads, players like the Mannions from out the road in Ahascragh, Cyril Donnellan from Pearses, but there was a few of them that were involved with us in Ballinasloe RFC over the years.

James Skehill was a lock for us and won an U-18 All-Ireland medal, Martin Dolphin and Joe Canning played a small bit with us at U-18 level, while the minors Jack Canning and Sean Bleahane played U-14 and U-16 with us.

Even then you could see Joe was a classy operator. He was involved in the last three or four games for us and we did the clean sweep that season: the league, the cup and the All-Ireland club cup in the same year.

Congrats to all the lads.

Irish Independent

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