Local Achievers
(If you know of someone who has achieved some distinction in any capacity
please let us know for inclusion here - preferably with a photo )


Miriam makes the Grade with 600 points

Miriam Smyth of Connaberry, Ballon achieved the ultimate 600 points in her Leaving Certificate. She said she couldn't believe her eyes when she discovered she had obtained six A1's and one A2 followed closely by an offer to study medicine.
Miriam gave special thanks to the teachers and principal Caitlin Mhic Carthaigh of Gaelcholaiste in Carlow for their support and encouragement.

Her sister Suzanne achieved the same result five years earlier and will qualify next spring with her medical studies. Her other sister Sarah Jane works for the European Union in Brussels.

Their mother, Margaret, is a primary school teacher in Tullow and dad John just completed a law degree as a mature student planning to follow through with a Masters.

(posted 24/9/10 - results obtained in August)

Brother Gerard (Tom) Cummins C.S.Sp., formerly of Ballintrane, recently celebrated the Golden Jubilee of his religious profession.  Brother Gerard was professed in April 1960 in Ard Bracken, County Meath and is one of only five Christian Brothers still serving in the Irish Province of the Holy Ghost Order.   
Brother Gerard subsequently trained in architecture and engineering and in 1964 was sent to Nigeria as a missionary to supervise the building of churches but due to the war in Biafra was forced to return to Ireland in the summer of 1967. Following a short spell in Kimmage, spent recovering from malaria, he was assigned to Rockwell College, Cashel, County Tipperary (1968) where he has remained for 42 years. Initially he was part of the academic staff of the boarding school but in later years has taught machinery and engineering to students at Rockwell Agricultural
On Saturday 1 May a special mass and celebrations were held at Rockwell where Brother Gerard was joined by members of his family -  sisters Mary (London), Patricia (Ballon), Theresa (Ballintrane) and Rosalean (Rathvilly), brothers Seamus (Ballon) and Joe (Kilnock), brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. Another sister, Jane (England) was unable to attend. Also present at the celebrations were many members of the Holy Ghost Community led by the Superior, Fr. Knight as well as other personal friends.
Many tributes were paid to Brother Gerard by his Community and the academic staff of the college regarding his very kind, obliging nature and dedication to his faith.  Brother Gerard, who is son of the late Jim and Rose Cummins, remains a frequent visitor to his native Ballintrane and he is wished many more years of health and happiness by the entire Ballon/Rathoe Community.

Sarah Nolan, The School House, Ballon beat off all competition to emerge winner of the Carlow Historical Society’s annual competition for historical essay/project relating to County Carlow. Sarah’s essay on the late Jim Morris, one of Carlow’s greatest ever footballers and a Leinster medal winner in 1944, was selected as the winner from 147 entries from 16 schools. Incidentally, Sarah is the granddaughter of the late Jim Morris and is a sixth class pupil in Ballon National School. The result of the competition was announced on Wednesday 24 March at a function held in Carlow Rugby Club and Sarah received her prize of €100 from Dan Carbery, President of the Historical Society and Jim Shannon, who organised the competition. Sarah is daughter of Pat and Deirdre Nolan.  

(posted 29/3/10 by Michael Dawson)

Lianne Cort

Twenty-one year old Lianne Cort from Ballon has been selected to compete in the semi-finals of ‘The Face of Ireland’ contest which will be held in Jackson’s Hotel, Ballybofey, County Donegal on Saturday 27 March. Forty girls were selected for the semi-finals from 25,000 applications.
The Face of Ireland Competition is an All-Ireland beauty contest to find the new Face of Ireland and is organised by Brian Cunningham, Managing Director of Face of Ireland. The winner of the competition receives a host of prizes, including a trip to New York and a one year modelling contract with Compton's Modelling Agency in Dublin as well as a fabulous piece of jewellery to the value of €3,000 courtesy of Voltaire Diamonds. 
Each contestant must get sponsored for the gala ball which and they must sell ten tickets before 6 March. On the night they will be on stage for approximately six minutes where they will be interviewed and required to perform a party piece. Only one candidate will go forward to the National finals. We wish Lianne every success and we will be coming back to this story nearer the event.

Alan Kelly

The announcement by Carlow GAA County Board of Alan Kelly as the County Intermediate Footballer of the Year came as little surprise. Ballon’s scorer in chief was hot favourite to win the award following an outstanding year in the red and white jersey.

Alan is a top all-round sportsman and is a previous winner of the Soccer category in the Eire Og Sports Stars Awards.

Carlow Person

Web Master Michael - Carlow Person of the Year

The Carlow Person of the year awards 2009 were held in Mount Wolseley on Friday 27th November. Local man Michael Martin was awarded Carlow Person for the Communications Award (mainly for the success of this Web site). His sponsor was Philip Meaney M.D of Stone Developments. The MC was Ronan Collins of RTÉ who happens to be Michael's favourite presenter with his 12 am radio show.
All of this is to raise awareness and generate funds for Carlow Rehab Care and now in its 11th year.
As a social event it ranks about the highest in the County and highlights the considerable amount of good works carried out by individuals. There's far more ' good ' in the world than ' bad ' and this event covers the good.

More pictures here

John and Breeda McDonald

John and Breeda McDonald celebrate 40 years of marriage.

There was one hell of a knees-up in Leinster Hills Golf Club at The Fighting Cocks on Saturday night 19th September as John and Breeda McDonald, Graiguealug celebrated their Ruby Wedding Anniversary at a surprise bash organised by their family..
Present were the couple's four children with spouses and 10 grandchildren along with plenty of friends and neighbours. Music was by Pat Bermingham and Billy Kirwan and the night was long....
They celebrated the next day at Mass by renewing their marriage vows and exchanging gifts. (Extracted from B/R notes by Michael Dawson)

Picture with thanks to Pat Bermingham - one of the best compositions this amateur cameraman has seen

Mary O'Toole


 Mary O’Toole from Boggan, Kilbride has been awarded the Carlow FBD Young Farmer of the Year Award for 2009. Mary, only daughter of Paddy and Angela O’Toole, represented County Carlow at the national final which were held in the Breaffy House Hotel, Castlebar last week and although the top award eluded her she is nevertheless one of the top 26 young farmers in the country and as the only female to contest the final is the undisputed top young farmerette.

Mary is a member of the Tullow Macra na Feirme Branch and also serves on the County Executive. She works in Kilkenny in equine supplies but at home she runs the family beef and sheep farm in partnership with her parents.The aim of this Macra na Feirme/ IFA competition is to recognise and reward the top young farmers in Ireland.

The Ballon area has its first local representative in nearly 35 years after John Murphy’s victory in the Local Elections held on the 5th June, 2009. John, from Boggan, Kilbride took a seat for Fine Gael on the fourth count in the Borris Electoral Area and will be the first Ballon voice in the County Chambers since Donie Nolan, Ballykealey contested two elections successfully for Fianna Fail in 1967 and 1972. Prior to that the late Bill Nolan had held a seat for Fine Gael.
John, a Ballymurphy native and manager of Tullow Livestock Sales received 815 first preference votes.

His victory is notable in that the parish is unfairly divided among three electoral areas making it very difficult to capture votes.

Sean O'Brien born 14th February, 1987 schooled in Rathoe NS.

From Ardristan in Co Carlow, through Tullow Community School, Tullow RFC and then the Irish Youths, the young flanker has landed a Academy contract at Leinster Rugby.
The glory being that Leinster lifted the Heineken Cup with a thrilling 19-16 victory over the Leicester Tigers at Murrayfield on Saturday 23/5/09.

Carlow Volunteer Awards 2009

Seamus Cummins was selected for an Award representing Burrin Celtic on Friday 22nd May in McGrath Hall, Bagenalstown.
Seamus was selected for his many years of work in funding and producing the finest soccer pitches in the county.

Seen here with Olivia O'Leary

further details here

Carlow Volunteer Awards 2009

Michael Martin was selected for an Environmental Award representing Ballon Improvement Group Friday 22nd May in McGrath Hall, Bagenalstown.

Seen here with Olivia O'Leary

further details here

Julie Dowling, Ballon Hill competed at the Irish National Dance Awards 2009 in Longford on Friday 17 April with great success.
Competing in three categories in the 16 to19 years age group, Julie won 1st prize for her modern piece, came 2nd in the classical ballet section and won 3rd prize for her Contemporary solo dance. As well as all that she was also awarded the INDA Senior Perpetual Cup for 2009.
Julie previously studied at the Aedeen O’Hagan School of Ballet in Tinryland and is currently studying dance full time at Inchicore College of Further Education in Dublin.
Daughter of Seamus and Anita Dowling, Ballon Hill, she has had many previous successes in competitions but victory at the National championships is her biggest achievement to date.

(Posted 28/4/09)

Toomas Ilves is Coach of the Year
Ballon Basketball club’s exciting and unexpected fete in winning the All-Ireland Senior Men’s Div. 1 title last weekend caused great excitement in the area although none of the team are local. The club was founded by Estonian, Toomas Ilves who came to Ballon nearly ten years ago and caters for the many Eastern Europeans who live and work in the area as well as the locals.
It was victory at the first time of asking at this high level for the Ballon club which has previously operated in the Midlands League. In winning the National Senior title the Club defeated Galway Titans in the final having already accounted for Tolka Rovers (the holders) en route to the decider.
As a result of this great achievement Toomas Ilves has been selected the Basketball Ireland senior coach of the year. Toomas’ story of life in the Russian Army during the cold war has been documented in ‘The Chronicle’. Well done to all concerned.

(Posted 5/4/09)

Jordan McDonell from Birchwood Lodge, Kilbride could well be our next top young actor if his performances in the Bunclody/Kilmyshall Drama Group’s production of Tom Murphy’s ‘The Wake’ are anything to go by.
The 10-year-old, who is a fourth class pupil in Ballon National School, has been catching the eye of the adjudicators as the Group performs at various Drama Festivals the length and breadth of Ireland.
Jordan had his ‘special moment’ at the Newtownstewart, County Tyrone Festival recently when he was selected as the winner of the Edward McNamee Award as well as being nominated for the best Young Actor Award.
The Bunclody/Kilmyshall Group, which has won five of the eight festivals they entered, has qualified for the All Ireland Open Drama Festival which will be held in Athlone from May 1 – 9.

(Posted 28/3/09)

John Murphy of Laragh, Ballon has just completed his basic training in the Irish Army and seen here at his passing out parade in the Curragh recently. John now continues with the Three Star course and joins the force of 8,500 men and women dedicated to serving the State in defence and peace keeping roles.

(Posted 7/1/09)

Jenny Cummins, Chapel Lane, Ballon is awarded the Bene Merenti medal by Most Rev. Dr. James Moriarty D.D, Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin on Sunday 23/11/08 in Ballon Church.

Jenny served as Sacristan for thirteen years taking the keys of the church in 1988 when the original Bull Tree was chopped down.

Jenny, aged 74, joined the church choir when she was just ten years old and remained a stalwart supporter up to three years ago.

Some more pictures here

Tess Blanche, Ballinadrum, Ballon is awarded the Bene Merenti medal by Most Rev. Dr. James Moriarty D.D, Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin on Sunday 23/11/08 in Ballon Church.

Tess, aged 85, has been very active in church matters and joined the choir when she was just seven years old and gave a record breaking service of 76 years.

Tess was an early member of the Apostolic Work Society and still continues with this good work and fundraising.

She was also a founder member of The Evergreens, now the Senior Citizens.


Mick and Marie McGrath, Maple Lawn pictured at their 40th Wedding anniversary celebrations in the Dolmen Hotel, Carlow on Saturday night, November 15. The couple were married in the Cathedral of the Assumption, Carlow on November 16, 1968 by Rev. Tom Brophy, Adm.

Douglas Keppel, Rathrush, Ballon

A photo of Douglas Keppel on top of Kilimanjaro on Mon. 8th Sept. at 7.00am. They climbed during the night and arrived at 7.00am with a little altitude sickness but nevertheless elated and "elevated" having
achieved a life long ambition.

(With thanks to Des Keppel)

Eileen Croke

Eileen Croke from Tullow celebrated her 100th birthday on the 1/9/08 at Tullow Day Care Centre, a place of support and friendship for the area.

Eileen assisted by Lila Rogers - volunteer

See loads of pictures on the Day Care Web Site.

Click on the 'Latest News' button

Tadgh Downey - Forge Meadow

Tadhg won the county Carlow competition run by Londis and took the family to Bewleys in Leopardstown for an overnight stay and attended the preview of the film in Dundrum meeting Po the panda himself.

July 2008

Alan Kelly - Player of the Year

Alan Kelly of Burrin Celtic was the popular choice for the Player of the Year Award and he received his trophy from David Blood, President of the FAI.
Alan was also the winner of the Premier Division’s Golden Boot Award having finished as top scorer in the division. Burrin teams also finished runners-up in both The Dooley Motors Cup and the Youths Shield.

What a marvellous year it’s been for Burrin Celtic AFC!
Firstly they won the Carlow Premier League just a year after being promoted from Division 1 and now they have been chosen as the winners of The Carlow Club of the Year Award.
The result of the latter was announced at the League’s Awards Night held in The Seven Oaks Hotel, Carlow on Friday of last week where club captain, Armour McFarland was presented with the award by John Delaney, CEO of the FAI.

(Posted with thanks to Michael Dawson - June 2008)

Congratulations to Ann Butler

Anne Butler of Forge Meadow pictured at her graduation
in Belfast on 17th May, 2008.

She was conferred with a B.Sc.(Open) Degree from The Open University.

And is now studying for a B.Sc.Psychology (Hons.) Degree.

Learning keeps you young.

(Posted June 2008)



Very Rev. Edward Whelan PP, Ballon/Rathoe will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood on Sunday, June 22.
Fr. Whelan, a native of Hacketstown Parish, was ordained in Maynooth on June 22, 1958 and spent the first year of his priesthood in Liverpool. He then ministered in the parishes of Rathvilly (1959-1968), Daingean, Co. Offaly (1969-1982) and Nurney, Co. Kildare (1982-1987) before being appointed to succeed the Very Rev. John Flood as Parish Priest of Ballon/Rathoe in 1987. He also holds the position of Chaplain to the Apostolate of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration since 2007.

Fr. Whelan, who is a deeply religious man is particularly known for his kindness to the sick of his parish and is a regular visitor to those in hospital and those who are housebound.

During his twenty-one years as Parish Priest, Fr. Whelan has had major renovations and redecorations carried out to both Ballon and Rathoe Churches and built a new Parochial House in Ballon.

Plans to mark Fr. Whelan’s jubilee locally have been put on hold as he is currently unavailable through illness. He is wished a speedy recovery and joyous day on Sunday

(Posted with thanks to Michael Dawson 18/6/08)

John McHugh


Customer Service Award – Professional, Private & Public Sector

At the Carlow Chamber 2008 Business Awards on Friday the 7th March 2008, this award was presented to McHugh O'Leary Insurances. This award was open to all organizations offering a service, which is committed to offering the highest level of customer satisfaction to each and every customer.

RTE’s Marty Whelan, Keara Slattery, John McHugh Managing Director , Catherine Tallon, Joan Brophy all of McHugh O'Leary Insurances with
sponsor Kieran McKeown, Matrix Recruitment &
David Walsh, President of Carlow Chamber.


Marian not only passed with flying colours but selected as the best in the country among participating colleges.

from Ballynurney, Rathoe


Marian O'Toole Certificate in Marketing Skills Student of the Year 2007 prizewinner with Jarlath Jennings, Chairman of The Marketing Institute of Ireland and Bernard Lyons, Managing Director of Custodian Print Consultancy (sponsors of prize).

Marian O’Toole has worked with Carlow District Credit Union for the past twenty years. Her role involves dealing with sponsorship, PR, advertising, design and website management. Marian studied at Carlow IT.

Carlow Person of the Year Award

Bernie Mullins was awarded Carlow Person for Youth Work at a Gala Banquet and Presentation on the 23/11/07 at the Dolmen Hotel, Carlow.

Bernie's contribution to the school, the children and her many other activities in the village made her a welcome nomination from her community.

The Rehab organising committee endorsed this by giving her the award.

For further details and pictures click here.


Ballon has a new All Ireland sports champion. On Sunday September 16th, Noel Hutton, Kilnock won the National Auto Grass Championship (Class 3) at Lismore, County Waterford.

It was an excellent weekend for the Hutton Family as Noel’s son, Brian, finished in fourth place in the Class 5 championship. Both men are members of Carlow Autograss Club whose home track is at Aghade.

(posted September 21st 2007 by Michael Dawson

Futher details and pictures click here for Noel's web page  on this site

"My face is my fortune sir, she said" and with those big blue eyes who would contradict?

Emma Slye, 11 months, whose grandparents Breda & John hail from the Cocks tell that she has won 'Carlow's Cutest Child' competition run by the Nationalist & Fairgreen Shopping Centre.
Emma has decided to share the prize of a trip to Florida with mum and dad Josephine & Declan from Myshall - 'cause they're worth it'

(posted September 2007 by Breda)

Michael Dawson - A scribe for forty years

This week marks Michael's forty unbroken years as journalist and correspondent for the Nationalist with the Ballon/Rathoe Notes.

Read more of the story here


(posted August 2007)

Beatrice Cantini - the Gold Medal Girl

Beatrice follows her brother in swimmimg skills.
She obtained a Gold Medal at the National Community Games finals held in the National Aquatic Centre, in Blanchardstown, Dublin.

She competed in the u8 Freestyle

(posted August 2007 by Bernie Mullins)

Lorenzo Cantini, Carrigslaney

is a young man who has been making the news in recent weeks due to his exploits in the pool at the Leinster Swimming Championships and in the Carlow Community Games finals. Now he’s back in the limelight again following his success at the National under-age finals that were held in Limerick at the end of June.
Lorenzo won the gold medal in the 200 metres individual medley, silver in the 100 metres butterfly, bronze in both the 100 and 200 metres freestyle as well as a fourth place finish in the 100 metres backcrawl and sixth place in the 100 metres breaststroke.
On top of all that Lorenzo was the recipient of a plaque as the best swimmer in the 11/12 age group. Well done, Lorenzo!

Sadly, the family are moving bak to their naitve Italy and will be missed.

(Posted August 2007 by Michael Dawson)


Lorenzo Cantini, Carrigslaney, enjoyed outstanding success, winning five medals at the Leinster Interclub Swimming Competitions held in the National Aquatic Centre on Sunday, May 20. Lorenzo won gold in the under-12 butterfly and backstroke, silver in the individual medley and breaststroke and a bronze in the freestyle and his results included four personal bests. He is a member of St. Fiach’s Swimming Club and was representing Carlow in the competitions. His next target is the All-Ireland finals which will be held in Limerick next month.

(Posted May 2007 by Michael Dawson)

Barry & Rose


The County Carlow Sports Partnership Volunteer Awards, in association with Carlow County Development Board, held their inaugural presentations in the Council Chambers on Wednesday night, April 25.

Two people from this area were amongst the nine award winners which were presented by former GAA President, Sean Kelly and now executive chairman, of the Irish Institute of Sport.

They were Rose Whelan, Chapel Street, who founded Ballon Basketball club which now operates in the National League and caters for foreign nationals as well as the local community and Barry Doogue, Forge Meadow, secretary, Carlow Rowing Club.

(Posted April, 2007 by Michael Dawson)

Padraic and Eoin Nolan


In a week in which an inter-county GAA transfer has been the main talking point in sporting circles in County Carlow its ironic to see that two of our own young sportsmen, Padraic and Eoin Nolan of Carrigslaney not alone swapped their Carlow jerseys for those of Dublin Institute of Technology but also helped lower the colours of their native County when assisting the Dublin side to victory in the Kehoe Cup Final.
The 20-year old twins assure us, however, that Carlow remains their number 1 choice and they hope to revert to the green, red and yellow for the forthcoming championships.
Padraic played at midfield on the team that defeated Carlow by 1.10 to 1.7 at Dr. Cullen Park last week but Eoin was forced to remain in the substitutes through injury.
The Nolan brothers have already won two All-Ireland Minor B championships with Carlow and last year had the unusual distinction of playing in both the Carlow (with Naomh Eoin) and Dublin (with DIT) under-21 HC finals. Unfortunately they lost in both deciders.

(Posted February, 2007 by Michael Dawson)

Pictures by
Kieran Daly

Gillian Daly performs at the Permanent TSB High Achievers Awards

Gillian from Castlegrace, Ballon was selected from over 38,000 students nationwide to perform a piano recital at the event held in the Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise recently.

Presentation by Hilda Milner R.I.A.M

Fifteen year old Gillian gave a beautiful performance of Sonata in C by Haydn displaying her proficiency on the piano to a large gathering. She is a third year student at St Leo's College and has won awards at Arklow and Kilkenny Feis and also winning the Finton O'Carrol - Most Promising Performer Award - for two years running in the Waterford Feis.
She is also a member of Carlow Youth Choir under the direction of Majella Swan her teacher for many years at the Carlow College of Music. She also studies ballet with the Aedeen O'Hagan School of Ballet.

December 2006


At the annual meeting of the County Carlow Community Games organisation John Mullins was chosen as the Best Club PRO.

Ballon/Rathoe was adjudged the winner of ‘The Best Involvement Award’ for the third successive year.

November 2006

The Milltown Engineering/Rehab/ Carlow Person of the Year Awards which are held in association with The Nationalist aims to give recognition to those around the county who would perhaps rather go about their lives without so much as a nod of thanks. This year there are nine award categories and one of the recipients will then be named the Carlow Person of the Year.

Winner of the Community Leadership Award whose sponsor is Stone Developments is Ger Proctor from Castlemore, Tullow. Ger is well known in the area and has worked as a postman with An Post for the last 14 years delivering mail on the busy Rathoe route. With sports being his forte, Ger has been involved in community games in Ballon and Rathoe for the last number of years and is a member of the Carlow Athletics Association. Ger also cofounded the hugely successful Cu Chulainn Rounders Club five-years ago and already the club has won three All Ireland titles. Well known for stopping to have a word with everyone, Ger also helped establish the Rathoe Community Alert 12 years ago.

See more pictures here

November 2006

John Doyle, Ballon Hill, takes off to the Florida Space Academy.
John who served an electrical apprenticeship with Seamus Byrne Electrical, Carlow, was selected through a national FAS Science Challenge Up-skills programme. He is to spend three months in the Academy working alongside some of the world's leading scientists and engineers. This chance was given to apprentices two years out of their training who had passed their examinations with merit and who performed well in the interviews.

A super opportunity and a rare experience for a young man.

November, 2006



Maurice & Stacia
October 2005

Maurice O'Neill - Observationalist, Author, Independent thinker.
In his 86th year, Maurice O'Neill, of Ballon, reflects on change in Ireland, particularly in rural communities. He gives us a sense of the joys, trials and sadness of times past. He reflects on how people lived and the values they lived by, the good as well as the not so good. He shows how communities were tightly bound together, how everyone belonged, and how people cared for each other in the poorest of times. In the process he gives very clear insights into what we are losing, Many challenges are posed for the new society that is emerging in Ireland today.

His book "A Social History - reflections on changing times" is a collection of his writings and observations and encouraged into book form by family support.
Available in all local shops at 8 euro.

October 2006

Michelle Kenny adds to her medal count.
Congratulations and Well Done on her great success at the 2006 Special
Olympics European Youth Games, held in Rome, Italy this week .
Michelle won the following:
2nd/Silver Floor - Ladies
Beam - Ladies 3rd/Bronze
Vault - Ladies 4th

October 2006

A Dream Come true for Suzanne Smyth of Ballon
When is 6th class, at Ballon N.S, Suzanne won first prize for an essay at the Tullow Show. Her ernest wish was to become a doctor/surgeon.
Today, 21/8/06, her dream came true when she was accepted by UCD to study for this.
With a Leaving Certificate result of 600 points she truly deserves this and has to be congratulated on an excellent result.

Suzanne did her studies at Gaelcholáiste Cheatharlach in Carlow.
At UCD she will have the company of her sister Sara Jane who is studying law.

August 2006

All-Ireland Special Olympics finals which were held in Belfast in June.
Declan Corrigan, Ballon Hill won a bronze in bowling. Declan (33) is son of Johnny and Sheila Corrigan and is a trainee in the Delta Centre in Carlow.



July 2006

All-Ireland Special Olympics finals which were held in Belfast in June.
Michelle Kenny (17), won her medals in the gymnastic events taking gold in the vault, bronze on the beam and a ribbon in the floor exercises. Daughter of Oliver and Mary Kenny, Michelle attends St Lazarian’s School in Carlow.


July 2006

Padraic Lalor


Excellence in Business Practice Award
Lalor O'Shea Chartered Accountants were awarded this title on the 10th March, 2006 by Carlow Chamber. Excellence in Business is about customer focus and innovation, not about size or sales. So taking into account Managing Process, Customer Service, Innovation & Product Development Lalor O'Shea were judged to be the best.

John O'Shea
Eddie Deegan
Padraic Lalor
Mary O'Connell

March 2006

This week Bertie Murray, Ballintrane, joins the small but elite group of men and women from the Ballon/Rathoe area who have been selected as County Carlow All-Stars. Bertie is the 16th recipient of the awards from the area since they began in 1968 and as winner of the Hall of Fame section is the third winner in this category following in the footsteps of footballers Jim Morris and Johnny Lawlor.
Bertie, of courses, wins his award for athletics. He was County Carlow’s top athlete during the 1950s, ’60 and into the early 1970s. In 1959 he dominated Carlow athletics winning the 220, 400, 880, mile and three mile events at the track and field finals as well as the cross-country championship and in 1960 and 1961 he repeated that fete in all events except the 220 yards. In 1960 he won the Leinster 1500 metres at his native Ballinree track and in 1961 was placed third in the All-Ireland 1500 metres. His personal best for that event was 3.56.5 set at College Park in 1960 and although he was placed second in the race he was well within the Irish record of 3.58.
When he hung up the spikes, Bertie took up ploughing and apart for numerous County Carlow championships has won the All-Ireland two-furrow trailer class on six occasions and was placed third in the European vintage competition in 2002.
Articles on Bertie’s athletic and ploughing achievements appear in the 2003 and 2002 editions of ‘The Chronicle’

January 2006

Daragh Foley from Conaberry will be part of the u-14's Co. Carlow soccer squad going to Belgium on the 24th March. The competition in Belgium will allow Carlow to play against teams from all over Europe for the Euro Cup.
Daragh has been a member of Burrin Celtic Soccer Club for four years and was justly rewarded for some great displays in goal over this period .
He will also be a member of the Kennedy Cup Squad to play an inter county competition in Limerick later this year.

March 2005

Joe O'Donohoe New President of the National Rounders Association of Ireland.

Following the AGM Joe O'Donohoe, currently serving a s secreatry of Cúchúlainn Rounders Club, was elected as President of the National Rounders Association of Ireland.
Joe served as Vice President for the previous three years.
Joe was the founder member of Cúchúlainn Rounders Club in the year 2002.
Previous to this Rounders was played in the parish for fifteen years when Joe first brought Rounders into Co. Carlow.

February 2005

Breda McDonald

Breda McDonald, Graiguealug, Nurney, was recently presented with a Certificate in Social Studies at the College of Further Education in Carlow.
Not content with that she is currently studying Rural Development with a UCD distance learning course.


November 2004


Kilbride’s P. J. Reamsbottom has been named Referee of the Year in the Carlow County Board’s awards for 2004. It’s P. J.’s second time to win the award having first done so in 2000. P. J. took up refereeing in 1996 and since then has been the man in the middle at numerous games including league and championship finals. The ESB Area Supervisor, who lives in Carlow, won an Intermediate FC in 1973 and a Junior FC in 1992 as well as two FL Div.2 and three FL Div 3 titles with his native Kilbride.

November 2004

Colm Brennan, age 16 of Sandbrook, makes it 30

This year Colm won a silver medal in the 100 m at the Community Games making a total of 30 in his short athletics career. Participating in running, long jump, relay & team events his medals todate are:
One gold in the All Ireland - relay
One Bronze in the All Ireland - 80m
Five gold for Leinster
Six silver for Leinster
Three gold for County
One silver for County
Three bronze for County
Seven gold for Community Games
Three silver for Community Games

October 2004

SECRETARY RETIRES: Mrs. Marie Kennedy, Gilbertstown, Rathoe, who has held the position of secretary of Ballon/Rathoe Parish Council for sixteen years has retired from the position. To mark her retirement Very Rev. Edward Whelan PP presented her with a Waterford Crystal Vase at the September meeting of the Council. He also presented her husband, David, with a Rosary Beads. Mrs. Mary Hogan, Rathrush, replaces Mrs. Kennedy as secretary.

September 2004

Community Games

Jonathan Castle, Ballykealey, Ballon won the bronze medal for boys
under 8 in the National Finals held in Mosney on 21st August, 2004

Tara Murphy with "Holly"

who won 1st prize for Best Toy Dog
and 2nd prize for "Best Dog Handled by Child"

at Ballon Sports and Gymkhana on 11/7/04

Patrick Doyle, eldest son of of Pat & Frances Doyle, Ballon Hill graduated in June 2004 as an aircraft mechanic at the Air Corps in Baldonnell. Pat was also the winner of the top apprentice award for 2004. Well done Patrick


Kate O’Toole, Ballinunnery, Rathoe, won a two-week scholarship in the beautiful Austrian city of Salzburg.
She wrote an essay in German based on Austria, which a panel of University Lecturers judged as one of the six best submitted.
Kate will be jetting off to the picturesque setting of Salzburg University to do two extra weeks study in German, something she is pretty pleased about and very much looking forward to.
Kate, who is the eldest daughter of Michael and Mary O’Toole, is a former pupil of Rathoe National School and currently attends St. Leo’s College in Carlow where her German teacher is Ms. Anne Tully.
Last week Kate and her parents were guests of the Austrian Ambassador, His Excellency Harold Miltner in the Austrian Embassy in Dublin where she was presented with her prize.


Sean Whelan

Sean is presented with the bronze medal - u14 All Ireland - for the Solo Dance held in Mosney 14th May 2004 by chairman Dick Fitzgerald.
This is a new event and held during a Skills Weekend.

Máire Quirke

Maureen won the All Ireland All Star Award for 2003.
Her award was presented by the Minister for Finance, Charlie McGreevy, on Saturday 24th January, 2004 in Croke Park.

The team spirit was such that twenty of her team mates
came to give support .

Click here for bigger photo

Congratulations to Bríd Lalor of Ballykealey

Bríd at the Conferring Ceremony of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland held at UCD on 17th January, 2004.

John O'Donovan
December 2003

Seen here at the launch of his new book, "Members and Messengers", on the 12th December in Carlow.
John from Kilnock, Ballon and a teacher at Tullow Community school is a political activist and analyst. His book gives the political profile of sixteen public representatives for County Carlow during the 20th century. Three were MPs and thirteen were TDs; and three were local, Ned Doyle of Ballon, Jim Hughes of Kellistown & Dr. Frank Humphries of Shangarry.
The MC for the evening was Pat O'Neill of Carlow Historical & Archaeological Society and the launch was by Jimmy O'Toole author of "The Carlow Gentry". There was standing room only during the evening with many representatives from the political scene past and present; and many friends and well wishers.

Heather Zerafa
November 2003

Mrs. Heather Zerafa was announced as the winner of the PRO of the Year Award at the annual meeting of the County Carlow Community Games Executive held in the Seven Oaks Hotel, Carlow on Sunday October 9th. The award is presented annually and the adjudicators are Mr. Eddie Coffey, editor of the Nationalist, and M.r Eddie Dawson, County Community Games PRO.
Heathe received a perpetual trophy and a Waterford Crystal vase.
A very deserving winner, Heather has promoted all activities of Ballon/Rathoe Community Games both in the Ballon/Rathoe Nationalist notes and the Parish Newsletter almost on a weekly basis.

Nicola Kirwan
September 2003

At an awards ceremony by Ballon/Rathoe community games a special award was given to Nicola for being the person to represent the area on the most number of occassions. She has competed from the age of eight at nearly every national competition winning two gold medals and two bronze medals. Sadly, age has caught up and Nicola no longer qualifies to compete.

Nicola Kirwan - Golden Girl
July 2003

Nicola Kirwan, Castlegrace, had a golden weekend at the recent Leinster Juvenile Track and Field championships in Tullamore. She took gold in both the100 and 200 metres under-17. She also collected two more gold medals assisting her club and county in separate under-17 relay events. She now goes forward to represent Leinster at the All Ireland Championships.
She will also represent Carlow at the Community Games finals in Mosney in August competing there for a seventh and final time. Nicola has twice taken gold in the sprint event in Mosney.

Fiona Brings Home The Medals
July 2003

Pictured left is Fiona O’Brien proudly displaying the two medals she won at the Special Olympics last month. Fiona, who is 22 years old, is daughter of Pat and Kathleen O’Brien, Kilbride, and won her medals in the motor activities competitions.

Peace Commissioner Appointed
May 2003

John Delaney of Kilnock, Ballon was appointed as a Peace Commissioner by the Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell. John, who works for Irish Sugar, is chairman of Ballon F.F. cumann and chairman of Ballon/Rathoe Credit Union.

March 2003

Leslie Ann Dawson, Ballon-Hill, emerged winner of TV3's Sweetest Moment competition last week and as a result won herself a prize valued at €6,000 which will enable her to fulfil her dream of a lifetime - a trip to Nashville.

March 2003

Thomas Murphy, Sandbrook, Ballon, is a young man making the sporting news this week when as a member of the local Cuchulainn Rounders Club he was selected for a National All-Star Award.
His selection came following his outstanding performances in minor and senior inter-club competitions during 2002 and the selection was made by members of the Governing Body's Central Council. He is son of Thomas and Josephine Murphy, Sandbrook.

Ballon Garda receives an Award
January 2003

Ballon based Garda Liam Shanahan was one of two Gardai honoured by the Carlow Branch of the ISPCA for continued vigilance in the pursuit of animal welfare.

On behalf of the Society Judge Donnacahda O Buachalla made a presentation of a bronze medal for humanity to animals to Garda Shanahan at Tullow District Court on Thursday January 23rd amid a warm round of applause from all present. Garda Shanahan has been instrumental in bringing a number of cases of cruelty to animals before the courts.

A native of Bracknagh, County Offaly, he has been stationed in Ballon for twenty years.

First "Double Winner" for the Parish
January 2003

Glenn Malone, Knockdoorish, Kilbride became the first 'Double Winner' of the Carlow Sportstar Award from the parish when he was chosen as the volleyball winner for 2002. He previously won it in 1998.
Glenn plays with DCU in the premier league and has amassed thirty senior caps and twenty junior caps for Ireland.

Carlow Person of Courage
November 2002

Kathleen O'Brien lives in Kilbride, close to Ballon, and was born with a hearing and speech defect. Having overcome great personal tragedy and caring for her daughter for 21 years, who is competing in the Special Olympics, she was selected as Carlow Person of Courage for 2002.

40th Annivesarary
June 2002

Fr. Pat Travers SScc from Kilmurray, Ballon celebrated the 40th anniversary of his ordination in the Priesthood in June 2002. He was ordained in Cootehill, Co. Cavan on the 24/6/62.
Fr. Pat is principal at Damien High School in Los Angeles CA