HAPPY SMILES Balla native Ray Holian (centre) being presented with St Patrick’s GAA Club Player of the Year 2017 by Chairman Jimmy Feeney (left) and Paddy Coyle (Team manager).
BALLA native Raymond Holian has been recognised for his hard work and dedication to St Patrick’s GAA Club, Fairfield, USA in the past year by being awarded Player of the Year 2017.
Having only moved to Connecticut last year after being awarded a Conlisk Scholarship to attain a Masters degree in Business Administration at Fairfield University, the UL graduate has made gigantic strides in the GAA scene across the pond.
Speaking at the awards night, Chairman of St Patrick’s GAA Club Jimmy Feeney (whose Mother hails from Glenmore, Crossmolina) highlighted the impact the 24-year-old has had since his arrival.
“Although only in Fairfield and the United States for a just over a year, Ray brought with him his passion for the GAA and commitment to Gaelic football and has made immediate and lasting contributions to the GAA in Fairfield County,” he said.
“A terrific teacher of Gaelic football skills and a great communicator with younger players, Ray served as a volunteer coach for the 2017 ‘Introduction to Gaelic Football’ course and the Club’s Annual Cúl Camp. Ray also volunteered to train the Fairfield Prep High School Gaelic Football team prior to the State Championship at St Patrick’s Gaelic Games tournament at Notre Dame High School this past spring.
“Ray made an immediate and powerful impact on St Patrick’s Senior Mens’ Gaelic Football team: on the pitch during matches in the NY GAA Junior B Championship as a talented and tenacious half-forward and sweeper; as a demanding trainer in challenging pre-match workouts; and, as an unofficial team recruiter who brought new members to the Club and talented players to the Senior team. He did all of this while working full time in financial services and pursuing graduate school education!
“Ray is truly a role model for our younger players and we heartily congratulate him on being recognized as the 2017 Player of the Year. On this special night, we warmly welcome Ray’s father John, past Chairman for many years of the Balla GAA Club who has travelled from Co Mayo to celebrate with us tonight and his family in Ireland: his mother, Rita, his brother, Gerard, and sister, Louise.”