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Fresh start for Ballinrobe Agricultural Show

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ALL SETJoe Cusack, John Burke, Cllr Patsy O’Brien and Seamus Macken, Chairman, at the launch of the 2019 Ballinrobe Agricultural Show. 

Willie McHugh


Old Father Time has made a significant adjustment to the Ballinrobe social calendar. The 69th Ballinrobe Agricultural Show, normally staged on the first Sunday of September has been brought forward. It now takes place in Ballinrobe Racecourse on Sunday next, June 30.
At a well-attended launch recently, an efficient reception committee plied all present with details of the upcoming event along with generous servings of niceties washed down by copious cups of tea and light refreshments.
Among those in attendance were recently elected members of Mayo County Council, Councillors Michael Burke, Damien Ryan and Patsy O’Brien. In their addresses to the gathering all spoke of their on-going commitment and support for this Ballinrobe showpiece. One among them went as far as assuring fine weather on the day. A left-over election promise perhaps.
Various reasons were put forward for the change of date. A football aficionado in favour of the move suggested it was because of the qualifier system operating in the football championship. Or ‘the back-door’ as he still refers to it.
“Sure the way things or gone now you can’t plan anything. Between waiting for the draw on Morning Ireland every Monday and Darren Frehill delighted when Mayo gets hard opponents we don’t know what we’re doing from one week to the next. My wife and I haven’t been on a cruise for the last four years. A weekend in Clifden in February was all we could manage. Thank God there are five Sundays in June this year for a bit of breathing space.” he said.

Clash avoided
Another in favour of the rescheduling and a long-time fan of the small ball was even more pleased. “It always clashed with the All-Ireland Final. Who wants to be looking at the best cross-bred heifer’s backside below in the racecourse when they could be sitting at home watching a cracking game of hurling.”
An annual exhibitor among the coterie voiced his disapproval. “How can I have three seasoned onions with skins in the month of June,” he inquired. He received not an iota of empathy.
“For God sake have you no Plan B,” came the terse reply. “Show a bit of ingenuity like the man from Tuam who won the Partry Anglers Fishing Competition three years in-a-row with fish he took from his deep freeze on the morning of the final. Go up to Aldi and get a net from the organic vegetable section and maybe the judges won’t spot the difference.”
Other reasons were put forward for eschewing the September setting.
“It’s a costly time on parents with kids going back to school and college and around here we have the added annual expense of Mayo’s appearance in the All-Ireland Final,” commented our aforementioned football enthusiast.
Next Sunday it is then and happenings get underway at 10am when showjumping commences. There are the usual classes for horses, ponies, cattle, sheep, dogs, farm and garden produce, flowers, home crafts, and arts and children’s section as well basket weaving, butter making, baking, vintage, best dressed farmer, trade stands and a plethora of sideshows. There will be live music on the day by Trevor Moyles.
Entries no later than Tuesday (today actually) to Ann O’Malley (087 7560054) or Marian Macken on Main St, Ballinrobe.
The future of the show is assured if the number of younger volunteers getting involved is a reliable gauge. Among them is Alma Fleming who is quickly establishing herself in a hard-working assemblage who ensures this event continues as the success it has become.
And regardless of when it’s calendared for.