Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Tommy Nolan was born near Kildangan, a name now synonymous with racing in Ireland as well as overseas. He was one of a family of four, and his father died when Tommy was only five. But in listening to all the stories about him, his father’s death had a positive effect.
They say that talented people need not just flair but also a good grounding of knowledge. Tommy had a great way with animals. This manifested itself early on, with his ability to rear pigs, goats and chickens that better versed farmers could get no good of. Times were hard but this knowledge combined with an iron will and indefatigable optimism would be the formation of his character.
Life took a great turn for the better when he met Margaret, a Cavan woman, who was working in Kelly’s of Kilmead, at a dance in Nurney, Tommy and Margaret both shared a love of singing and dancing. His prowess on the accordion, self taught, had many an outing at family gatherings and hooleys. And cycle, well considering that Kildangan was the birthplace of Paddy Flanagan, three times Ras winner, is it any wonder that the young Tom was always on two wheels.
Tommy learned his craft at the hands of M.C.Collins, Roderick More O’Farrell and a vetinary surgeon par excellence Dr. O’Driscoll. The young Tommy found a great wealth of knowledge from these men. Their ability and selflessness made sure that he knew all that they knew and more. He moved to Ragusa Stud in 1964. He was more than just stud groom, effectively managing the affairs of the Mullion Family in their breeding operation. At a time when there would have been few big players in the racing game in Ireland, Jim Mullion and his wife Margot brought new standards to all of the racing and breeding network in Ireland. Tommy had a hand in everything, Martina remembers him staying up all night during the foaling season, only to be straight back at work at five or six o’clock the flowing morning. People say that the Ragusa operation had great luck. Sam Goldwyn put it best “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” It certainly could have been a maxim for Tommy Nolan. A huge capacity and drive for work, and at something he loved. He was renowned throughout the breeding world for his ability to weave his magic on the most difficult mares. People would often send him horses that just would not or could not take foal. Within a short space of time, given his depth of knowledge and horse sense Tommy would have worked the oracle.

And the Mullion family success is still well remembered. Ragusa Irish Derby,King George, and Eclipse!! Ballymore, Floribunda, Sarah Siddons, names to conjure with. Perhaps Tommy’s greatest touch was in the 1980’s. Then first trainer to the Mullion family, Robert Collet arrived in Ragusa to take his pick of yearlings. Princess Pati was shown and met with the Frenchman’s disapproval. Tommy’s keen eye had seen something in her and he suggested to Con Collins to take a look. Having taken her on even Collin’s was forced to say, “Tommy, you were right, she does have something!” She sure had, the winning of an Irish Oaks.
With the sale of Ragusa Stud to the al Maktoum family Tommy continued his work with the likes of Lycius, until his retirement. He was unable to change the habits of a lifetime, regularly slagging Martina and the girls for sleeping too long. Mairead remembers him saying “Good Afternoon” if you weren’t up and about by ten.
His son John and himself had a few forays into racing with progeny of Margot’s Mink in Margaret’s Memory and Little Munchkin. Indeed you could well see a horse called Ashfield Sal or even Tommy’s Touch in the Nolan colours before the decade is much further along.
After his retirement he took great delight in walking down to Pat Murphy’s for the “odd pint.” Anyone who met him knew how sociable he was. Dan, his son in law says of him” like anyone involved in horses he was the eternal optimist. Every foal he bred was going to be the one, and who knows, his last foal could be just that.” He took great delight in the skill of Anne Marie at horse riding. He maintained a great relationship with John & Catriona and his grandsons Gerard and Stephen. He even found time to switch, briefly from equine to canine with “Braveheart Hero,” trained by Bill and Harry, a source of fun and excitement, who would have it any other way?
But certainly he would have knocked great sport out of the fact that Gerald Keane and Lisa Murphy attended his funeral and gave the whole village a talking point as part of his end off.
Tommy’s rules were simple, work hard; you get out what you put in, don’t spend your life sleeping and go that bit extra, an extra hour, and extra mile, even an extra pint. Ballymore is a lesser place at his passing. His legacy, however is all around us. Long may it continue to be so.


The Ballymore Eustace Juvenile Badminton Club held their end of season tournament in Ryston, Newbridge on Saturday 16th June from 11am to 4pm. With 3 courts to play on, a great day was enjoyed by all. Split into 5 groups, 53 members played to their very best, (another 12 were absent) and games and matches were very close. All members received a medal and winners in each group also received a trophy. Congratulations to all who took part.

GROUP 1A Court 1 – (5 players)

Michael Byrne
Rayanne Butler This group had 3 beginners and 2 members from last
Caitlin Barrett season. Each one played super in ‘Champions Games’
Emma Slevin Doyle and as final scores were so close it was decided to
Saoirse Byrne award a trophy to the five of them. Well done to all!

GROUP 1 Court 1 – (8 players)

Aoife Luccan The younger members of the club battling it out in 4
Laura Darby thrilling ‘Champions Games’ and knowing each score
Brian Keogh was so important. Game 1 put Cillian and Laura ahead
Owen Murphy with Brian and Jemma close behind. Game 2 put
Cillian Barrett Jemma and Cillian ahead with Aoife, Mayah and
Jemma Molloy Owen scoring high. Game 3 and Laura really clocked
Thomas Byrne up the scores with Thomas having a brilliant game too.
Mayah Sammon Game 4 puts Laura in lead with 4 members close
Absent ; behind. Well done to all!
Katie Guing 1st LAURA DARBY
Stephen Davis 2nd CILLIAN BARRETT
John Daly 3rd JEMMA MOLLOY

GROUP 2 Court 1 – (12 players)

Kim Kelly A fun filled court with 4 ‘Champions Games’
Clodagh Barrett played in great spirit and very competitive. Exciting
Hazel Stewart Byrne play between members and super rallies that
Lucy Field looked like they’d never end! Game 1 put Lucy in
Amy Mahon front with Kim and Amy close behind. Game 2 put
Shannon Slevin Doyle Amy ahead with Margaret and Kim scoring high.
Jennifer Mahon Game 3 puts Amy and Lucy literally ‘neck & neck’,
Lynn Barrett with Hazel playing a super game. Game 4 and all to
Lauryn Mc Namara play for, (4trophies) the competition could not be
Margaret Hayden closer. See winners and scores below.
Annie Mae De Cleir 1st AMY MAHON – 54pts
Joe Hayden 2nd LUCY FIELD - 52pts
Absent; 3rd HAZEL STEWART BYRNE 33pts
Abby Harris 4th MARGARET HAYDEN - 31pts

GROUP 3 Court 2 – (14 players)

Joanna Burke Hayes & Mairead Byrne A tension filled court with 7 doubles teams
Amy Kelly & Ciara Langan playing a full match (to 21pts) against each
Enda Stewart Byrne & Conor Keogh other. All members knew that every score
Kathleen Keane & Siobhan Murphy counted and each one really played their
Shane Barrett & Joshua Burke Hayes heart out. Shane and Joshua were unbeatable
Fionnuala O Connor & Heather Sammon and won all 6 matches, Amy and Ciara won
Dylan Curran & Ryan Wilson Black 5 matches and only lost to Shane and Joshua
Absent ; Kathleen and Siobhan won 3 but high scores
Kiva Sammon in losing games ensured their place.
Declan Davis An error occurred after matches which saw
Hugh Ronaldson Joanna and Mairead finishing 4th. This error
Harry Murphy has been corrected and the trophies are on
Mark Daly the way to the girls with our sincere
apologies. Well done to all for the exciting
and close matches.

GROUP 4 Court 3 – (14 players)

Danielle Kelly & Jude O Keefe The toughest and closest of the groups but
Patrick Langan & Gavan Mc Guiggan the one that proved our system of games and
Simon Ellis & Laura Cullen scoring to be fairest for all. Orla and Sean
Jeff Ganley & Tom O Connor won 4 of 6 matches but high scores of 18
Orla Whelan & Sean Kelly and 19 in losing games put them in with a
Jason O Keefe & Niamh Nolan big shout. Danielle and Jude won 5 of 6 but
Rebecca Kelly & Ruth Burke Hayes lost 8 vital points against Simon & Laura.
Absent ; Also winning 5 of 6 was Simon & Laura
Caolan O Neill who lost 13 vital points against Orla &
Sam Geddes Sean. Jason and Niamh won 4 but lost points
Stephen Murphy at the finish. Rebecca & Ruth played
fantastic together, Jeff & Tom didn’t
give up at any stage and kept going while
Patrick & Gavan got some great scores in.
Well done to all, super progress!


Player of the year 2007

Our clubs first perpetual cup to be awarded to one member. Each and every Thursday , many members have shown great kindness and special qualities. For her improvement in play and respect she has shown to fellow members and supervisors, LAURA CULLEN proudly accepted the award ‘B.M.E. Juvenile Player of the Year 2007’. Laura is 14 years old and lives in Valleymount. Her name will be the first on the cup when she returns it next year for another member. Everyone at the club congratulates Laura for her well deserved award and wishes her every happiness in her new home.


Our weekly visits to the bandhall will finish on Thursday 5th July. We’ll return again in September and hope it will be another successful season. Details of next season will be displayed in local shops in late August. Extra hoodies have been purchased by the club and are available to buy any Thursday for €20. Photos of our tournament, hoodie sponsorship and bandana day sales are on display in Langans Butchers.


Well done to all members for taking part in Barretstowns big fundraiser during May. A total of €1800 was raised and was appreciated very much. A kind note from Barretstown expressed a big thank you to all at the club.


Supervisors Julie, Liz, Ber, Fiona, Holly, Siobhan and Laura for all your time.
Hilda – (Ryston) Your advice, your help and great kindness. Appreciate it so much!
Tommy Dwyer and all involved in the upkeep of the Bandhall.
Fiona Barrett for our fab club poster
Aaron Slevin Doyle for all his help organizing our tournament games and trophies.
Mary Cambell, Colman Mac Sweeney and Sheila Flood for kind advice.
Kieran Langan Butchers for again giving us the window we need!
Leo Meenagh of L.M. Developments for the kind sponsorship of a club hoodie to all members and supervisors.

Tidy Towns Judgement Day Approaches for Ballymore!During July and August Ballymore Eustace will be visited unannounced – on two or more occasions – by the Tidy Towns adjudicators. They will be looking at the village with a mind to the following judgement categories:
* Overall Developmental Approach* The Built Environment* Landscaping* Wildlife and Natural Amenities* Litter Control* Tidiness* Waste Minimisation* Residential Areas* Roads, Street, and Back Areas* General Impression
The Tidy Towns committee, under the dynamic, dedicated, and experienced joint chairmanship of Mary Deegan and Jimmy Pearse, and our FÁS team, under the energetic, enthusiastic, and expert leadership of Martin Deegan, have been working hard to present the village in the best possible light. Hopefully, we will improve our score this year. Keeping the village free of litter and tidy is a daunting task, but it can be relieved if everybody – residents and visitors alike – do their bit. Please, don’t drop litter; place it in the bin or take it home with you. Residents of the village can be a great help, providing they are able, if they maintain the immediate area around their doorstep litter and weed free.
Martin and his team of Tommy Barker and Frankie Burke – assisted by the marvellous drive and organisational skills of Jimmy Pearse - have also worked wonders cleaning and decorating many of the derelict buildings on Barrack Street and Oliver Plunkett Road. The photographs show – but do not do full justice to – some examples of how their work has brightened up and improved the look of Ballymore Eustace. Take a walk around the village and see for yourselves.

Eric Firth (Secretary - Ballymore Eustace Tidy Towns Committee)Word count: 283

Laura Barrett

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