Coolaney/Mullinabreena GAA Club notes clubnotes

The Club held its first on-line AGM via Zoom platform on Sunday last Jan. 10th. The meeting was very well attended. In brief, the reports of the evening detailed a very positive look back on a very difficult 2020 where the club managed to pull through, despite some very challenging hurdles. The year was dominated, of course, by the pandemic and it’s a credit to all involved in the Club that we still managed to provide a crucial service to our community given the testing circumstances.

Chairperson, Ollie Lee commended all involved in the Club during the year from sponsors to players, coaches, officers, parents and supporters. He remarked on the considerable achievement in getting through 2020. Great effort was again given to providing hours of coaching to our large membership of players, youth and adult. We also managed to deliver significant improvements to our facility at Nace O’Dowd Park through an extensive car park extension and associated works. He expressed a huge pride in being involved in such a great club with great volunteers and asked for renewed commitment again for what promises to be a challenging 2021.

Sympathy was expressed to all the recently bereaved families of the Club with special mention for former Chairperson, the late Fr. Paddy Kilcoyne. Fr. Paddy was a loyal and unconditional supporter of the Club ever since his tenure and supported us through all our events and fundraisers. Ar dheis Dé go raibh said go leir.

Best wishes and health for 2021 were extended to everybody on behalf of the Executive of the Club. An e-copy of the AGM booklet is available by contacting Club Chairperson Ollie Lee (

Club Executive 2021:

President: Jack Devaney, Chairperson: Ollie Lee, Vice Chairperson: TBF, Secretary: Eugene Henry, Assistant Secretary: Leo Coleman, Treasurer: Brendan Kivlehan, Assistant Treasurer: David Hosey, Coaching Officer: Padraig McGourty, PRO: Rose Maloney Quinn

Joint PRO: TBF, National Schools’ Coordinators: Padraig McGourty & John Marren

Insurance Officer: Shane O’Brien, Children’s Officer: Caroline Coleman

IT Officer: David Hosey, Registrar: Shane O’Brien

County Board Delegate: John Brennan, Strategic Plan Coordinator: Padraig McGourty


Next Club Meeting will take place on Monday 25 January by zoom meeting at 9.00pm. All are welcome. If you would like to attend please contact Eugene Henry 087 2447098 or Ollie Lee 087 7981827.

As a new GAA season begins, the Club would like to appeal for Volunteers & Underage Coaches to support the Clubs activities during 2021. If you would like to be involved please contact a committee member, phone details are available on our website –

Thank you.

Our Healthy Club Initiative work continues with “Lights on our Track” at Nace O’Dowd Park from 7pm - 9pm every Tues & Thurs. This initiative was developed to benefit those working day hours or unable to avail of the facilities during the day. Thank you to all the sponsors and volunteers who make this possible.

We realise that people need now, more than ever, to keep active and healthy. Our track is open every day for all to use within 5km. Please remember to adhere to all guidelines. A one- way system in place. No group walking except within one’s family unit. Physical distancing is in place at all times. Stay within your 5km.

Club are delighted to be participating in the “Every Step Counts’ Challenge”.  We’ve had a brilliant response so far and already surpassed the 500km mark on our steps challenge. Well done to all and keep up the good work. Please note: We will be running our own prize draw for all who register. More details on this challenge and coverage on the Clubs Social Media Platforms.

Club were delighted and proud to watch our valued Clubman and player Daniel Davey featured on “Ear to the Ground” recently. The programme showcased his career in Nutrition, working with Dublin GAA, his home farm in Chaffpool and our club. The filming included idyllic countryside of Chaffpool and also featured both his parents. Peter & Eileen Davey. There was great coverage of the Junior B Final. The programme is available to watch on RTE Player. If you like more information on Daniels company please see his or facebook page Davey Nutrition.

Given the very high prevalence of Covid-19 Achonry Farmers Market will remain closed for January. The Market Committee will review the situation at end of January and post an update.

Our Club would like to thank Chris McDonagh and CMD Group most sincerely for their continued support as our main sponsor during 2020. Their loyalty to our Club, in a difficult period for businesses everywhere, is very much appreciated and acknowledged as a significant boost in helping the club survive this past year. Míle Buíochas.

Clubs PRO would like to thank everyone who contributed notes, photos, information and supported the role during 2020. A special word of thanks to all who helped with the archive section during the first lock down phase in 2020. Please continue to send in anything you wish  to be included in the clubs notes to or contact Rose Maloney Quinn 0864658877

Last updated 25/01/2021 @ 10:23

Shamrock Gaels GAA Club notes clubnotes
The club is pleased to announce Glen McDermott will continue as Senior team manager for 2021 while Shane Quigley has been appointed Junior team manager. We wish them both well for the year ahead. The backroom teams will be confirmed at a later date.

The annual National Club draw tickets are now in circulation. The tickets cost €10 each with a top prize of a car. 100% of proceeds go to the club and we would be grateful for your support. Please return the tickets as soon as possible to Mary Quinn. 

Congratulations and best of luck to Johnny Kenny who signed a professional contract with Sligo Rovers last week. It is certainly a proud moment for him, his family and the community as he follows in the illustrious footsteps of his father, Johnny.   

Members may have noticed the new 'smoke free zone' signage at the pitch. This is another important step forward under our Healthy Clubs initiative and we would ask for our members and supporters help in adhering to the new policy. 

Last updated 25/01/2021 @ 10:21

Sligo GAA Welcomes AbbVie Video mainnews

Sligo GAA has welcomed a video made by one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, AbbVie, which highlights the work and life opportunities offered by the West of Ireland. AbbVie’s sponsorship of Sligo GAA and Sligo LGFA is the only sponsorship in Ireland between a multinational pharmaceutical company and a ladies’ or men’s inter-county Gaelic football team.


The video is part of the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association’s ‘Innovate For Life’ campaign, a series of videos showing the many dimensions to pharma’s impact on Ireland. The latest video showcases the opportunities AbbVie provides in the North-West. 


Sean Carroll, Chairperson of Sligo GAA, said the region was honoured that one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies would highlight the potential of the West.


“AbbVie employs over 2,500 people, with many located at its manufacturing sites here in Sligo. The firm has world-leading medicines innovation happening in Sligo, proving this can be done successfully outside the traditional hubs of Dublin and Cork. Many of its people are GAA players too making sure we have teams for club and county. We are proud that they are our County sponsor.” 


“AbbVie’s success has come because it has developed partnerships, not just with the GAA, but with local educators too who produce the right graduates for their needs. This means a whole generation of young people from the West of Ireland no longer have to leave the region to secure careers in this ground-breaking industry. Furthermore, these young people have the chance to positively impact the lives of patients in Ireland and around the world through the development of innovative medicines because AbbVie located here,” Sean said.


The video, which is available to view online, shows the North-West at its best. Outside of the workplace, it shows surfing and hiking destinations are just minutes away, although many of AbbVie’s employees simply enjoy the allure of a more serene lifestyle and the beautiful views of the North-West. 


The campaign, #InnovateForLife, opens a window on the world of medicines innovation right across the lifecycle – showing the process from discovery and development through to manufacturing and adoption by the health services. The campaign is organised into three pillars – Patients, Places and Pioneers – capturing the economic and societal impact of the biopharmaceutical industry on patients’ lives, on communities, and on science and medicines development. 


West of Ireland native Bernard Mallee, Director of Communications and Advocacy at IPHA, said: “We are delighted to launch inspiring new content for ‘Innovate For Life’ ­­­ the campaign IPHA leads which draws together the many strands of our impact in patients’ lives, in communities across the country, and in science for the development of new treatments. During COVID-19, the role of our industry in the economy and in healthcare has been starkly revealed. Like other biopharmaceutical innovators, including Pfizer, Janssen, Takeda, Novartis and Astellas, AbbVie is part of ‘Innovate For Life’. We are proud of AbbVie’s contribution to the industry. It is making medicines for global supply, creating jobs in the region, improving patients’ health outcomes and helping to position Ireland for foreign direct investments. The new film helps to tell that important story for AbbVie as part of a wider industry narrative.”


Dr Jerry Bird, Head of the Science Faculty at IT Sligo, features in the video. He says he is proud that his former students are positively impacting the lives of patients in Ireland and around the world through the manufacture of innovative medicines with AbbVie – medicines of great value and significance to the medical industry, patients and their loved ones.


“It’s important that parents and families understand that when their sons and daughters come to us and train in pharmaceutical science and in medical biotechnology, what are they going to do? They are going on to work in an international company that is producing drugs that are changing the lives of people, changing the lives of people with extremely high-risk diseases, changing their outcomes and giving them new lives,” Dr Bird said.


Andrés Rodrigo, General Manager at AbbVie (Ireland), said: “AbbVie roots in Sligo stretch back more than four decades. Over time, our two separate sites there have scaled as the world of medicines innovation turned. With that came demand for more people with new skills. IT Sligo has been key in helping us to source that new talent. We are a partner for Sligo’s economy. More than that, we have become part of the community. Our people in Sligo are supporting the global supply of innovative medicines in immunology, haematology and for Parkinson’s disease, to mention just a few. We are proud of their contribution to the economy and to society. We wanted to tell that story as part of ‘Innovate For Life’.”


AbbVie employee Matt Kavanagh features in the video too. He left commuting hell behind to embrace a new pharmaceutical career in the West of Ireland. He’s still at the forefront of global medicines innovation, but community appreciation of his company’s work is at a whole new level in his adopted home.


He said: “My work-life balance is pretty good at the moment. The fact that I can go hiking, even after the day’s work, having no traffic and very little crowds means everything’s very accessible and doesn’t take a whole lot of planning to go surfing or hiking. I get to do all that, as well as being in the front-line of innovation.”


AbbVie’s video can be viewed Here


All videos are available at Innovate for Life

Last updated 23/01/2021 @ 10:32

The Advanced Mark-Part 2 Mark Burke mainnews
By Anna Bradley
Sligo GAA Youth PR Committee
One of the most important things in life, and more importantly in sport, is a positive attitude. On the brink of turning forty, one of Sligo’s longest serving hurlers, Mark Burke, has not lost any of his positivity for sport. In these strange times and when talking pre-Christmas, Mark was just thankful that he could get out “to play a bit of golf, anyway.” His priorities are obviously in order.
This county player, previous outfielder, latterly goalkeeper, can still enthuse about the game that has been such a feature of his life. You might think that after twenty-one seasons playing for Sligo, the Tubbercurry man’s interest in sport would be waning. Apparently not. Just like all good training programmes, Mark’s enthusiasm for hurling started at the very beginning.
The spark for Mark’s interest in hurling came from his father, Mick, who was originally from Tipperary. Apparently, the Premier County produced the goods as Mark’s father, after moving to Sligo, hurled for Connacht and hooked his children and, one might say, got his children hooked. “If your parents are from a hurling stronghold, it’s in your blood I guess to try to play a bit of hurling,” admitted Mark.
Mark and his brother Jarlath hurled their way through underage for Sligo until Mark broke onto the senior team in 1999, during his Leaving Cert year. Although his first season consisted of National Hurling League games, the second season saw him start in the championship line-up. And he has continued to do so since then.
Previously regarded as a dominating centre-back, in the last few years he has traded the outfield positions for the place between the posts. Goalkeeping is “easier on the body” apparently. “The body is telling me to stop now at this stage,” Mark confessed. So, he has done what any sane person would do when their body is needing a bit more care. Willingly become a target at which men fire a small, hard ball. That should not take such a toll on the old joints.
“At this stage, it’s more the body that’s telling me to stop rather than the age on the birth cert.” Twenty years of playing intercounty and club hurling, club football, soccer, and a bit of golf can tend to do that.
Still, changes in position and twenty plus years of hurling has not changed this man’s interest in the game. However, one thing that has changed, according to Mark, is the skill level of players coming up. “They’re way ahead of where we were at that age twenty years ago […] young players coming up now, their skill level would be a lot better than my age group.”
However, their youth and skill do not appear to daunt this Sligo man.
When coming up against younger men who want to slice through him with a sliotar, Mark voluntarily throws himself in front of them. His commitment has paid off, as Sligo has won the Nickey Rackard Cup in 2008 and 2019, with Mark playing centre-back in 2008 and as a goalkeeper in 2019. In between that, he served time as a selector on the management team of Darragh Cox and Dáithi Hand that won the Lory Meagher Cup in Croke Park in 2018, sparking the current hurling revival in the county. Not content to just assist off the pitch in the final, he actually came in at full-back in the closing minutes to see out a narrow win for the Yeats men.
His positive attitude can be seen in his recalling a negative moment on the pitch. In the 2019 Nickey Rackard final against Armagh, Mark recalls, “I made a bad mistake for one of the goals, in the first half. So that was a big point and you can feel bad in yourself, but at the end of the day you still have a match to play and just try to forget about it and move on to the next ball.” That is exactly what he did, making some vital stops and telling puckouts in the second half as the team went on to win by a single point.
“It was always great to joke about when you have the win at the end of the day, but if things went the other way, I’m sure it would have stung for a long time.” Of course, that mistake “wasn’t forgotten about by some of the lads.” Rest assured Mark, it never will be either.
However, even though intercounty victories are nice, for Mark “it always goes back to the club.” Winning county championships with friends are what stay with him. “Some of these victories will stay as long in the memory as any of those county days.”
Mark’s dedication to and enjoyment playing with his clubmates is apparent in how he speaks of them. He joined the senior men in the late nineties, halfway through their winning streak of ten-in-a-row county championships. (He managed to casually just slip these stats into the conversation.)
Sadly, Tubbercurry, these ten-in-a-row champions, have been tamed. “With the club unfortunately, Tubbercurry haven’t had a senior team in the last number of years. So that would be a low point.” Like many hurling clubs in a football-dominated county, they are suffering from a lack of numbers.
Though, this has not stopped Mark playing the game he loves.
“I’m hurling with another club in south Sligo, Tourlestrane, for the last few years.” There was a slight disbelieving laugh when he admitted that he had to play for a different club. Is that regret? Certainly not from Mark ‘The Positive’ Burke.
The fact that Mark is continuing to hurl shows his sheer love for the game. When he steps out to play for Sligo, he also represents Tubbercurry. That is the black and white of it.
Of course, it is not just hurling that Mark can play. The Tubbercurry local has represented his club in Gaelic football for over twenty years also, helping the club to championship success in 2014, before stepping back.
It has to be handed to Burke though. Swimming in sporting success does not seem to have gone to his head. Even if his club did win ten-in-a-row and “would have the most senior titles” in Sligo.
However, the physical prowess of sports evidently is not the only place where Mark’s talents lie. 2017 saw the tactical abilities of the Sligo man get international recognition, when he ranked number one in the world for fantasy league football. As Mark explained, ranking number one certainly earned him a “bit of notoriety” within the locality.
And it went farther when former team-mate Darragh Cox, then working in local media, encouraged him to do an interview for the local paper. And local radio. And Radio One.
The weight of all this international, intercounty, and club success has not seemed to slow this athlete down. He still hurls and plays golf, though no longer playing three matches at weekends, like he did regularly over the last twenty years. There is obviously a strong engine there. Engines like that do not just splutter and stop. It is bound to have a few years left in it yet. His interest in sport still burns even if the playing time needs to be rationed.
Throughout our conversation, Mark was relaxed and easy to chat to. During this crazy time, you might be wondering how Mark stays so relaxed. In fact, you might be asking what Mark does when there are no sports to be played. Between club, county, football, hurling, soccer, golf, fantasy football, and who knows what else, are there any hours to himself? Fear not. Mark fills his spare time with a job as a paralegal. “I went to college in Galway for five years. Enjoyed that immensely, Galway’s a great city.” But what does he get for all of that work? No holidays over Christmas, he tells me. “but we were not too busy.” They say that crime never sleeps. Apparently neither does Mark Burke.
How does the saying go: your mind will quit one hundred times before your body will? Apparently, Mark’s mind is just as sharp and as positive as ever, and the engine is still running.

Last updated 22/01/2021 @ 15:51

The Advanced Mark-Part 1 Mark Breheny mainnews
By Anna Bradley
Sligo GAA Youth PR Committee
For some people it is one of the dreaded ‘F’ words in life.
Mark Breheny is about to face it, turning forty soon. However, the Sligo footballing veteran does not at all appear fazed by this.
He was, however a little more concerned about the interview.
“You might fill me in […] on what the idea was behind the chat again.” The memory is probably fading—with him turning forty.
The purpose of the interview is this, Mark; a public announcement of your turning the wrong side of thirty-nine. Or maybe think of it more as a celebration.
One ‘F’ that the Sligo man is interested in, though, was introduced at the very beginning of the conversation: Fatherhood. Happily chatting away, his little three-year-old lady was ready to join the conversation, asking some questions herself.
If she is anything like the Breheny side of the family, with a father, uncles and cousins representing their county in senior football, it is probably best to start practicing early for sporting interviews.
With a seven-year-old son too, Mark is obviously kept on his toes despite having retired from county. A secondary school teacher by profession, Mark only half-jokingly admitted “it is easier to be in school, I think. Minding twenty teenagers than a little three-year-old, but good craic.”
Once everyone was settled, it was time to talk about the next major ‘F’ in Mark’s life: Football. Having served seventeen seasons for Sligo and being retired from the intercounty scene for the last three years, Mark described his footballing county career as: “It was long and it was a lot of ups and downs, but no, really enjoyed it.” So how does he fill his time since retiring from county football?
“I’m busy with things happening at home and kind of club football.”
Since intercounty retirement, Mark has continued, and still continues, to play a pivotal role for his club, while he also admits to taking in some local soccer games, and “trying a bit of tennis ... recently enough,” with his son. Mark admitted: “The football probably totally engrossed me over the years.” It might still. The St. Mary’s clubman has recently joined the Sligo football management team as a selector.
As he waits for that to get going, Mark has turned to other things to fill whatever downtime the kids and work allow him. “Reading and running really would be the main two. Going out for walks at the moment as well. Sligo is a great place for scenic walks. Whether it’s mountain or beach range. So, it’s kinda things like that would keep me busy in fairness.”
Good with kids, likes running, reading, and long walks on the beach. This is sounding like a template for a dating profile.
But his new role in county management shows that his body and brain still think football. He seems to take positions based on his interest in the sport.
“You don’t know really know what you want to be as you’re going through the school years. I used to look at my other teachers who used to bring us away to matches and I thought: ‘you know what, I might fancy a bit of that’, because you’re going away to the matches and you’re coaching teams. You still have the sport element as part of your job.”
It is evident that Mark likes his job, not just because of football. He has “the enjoyment of coaching kids and seeing them develop. Even from the classroom environment to see teenagers from 13 years of age, developing into young men.”
In both coaching and teaching capacities, nearly forty years of learning on and off the pitch is something this Sligo man obviously wants to share. “The advice you would have got over the years, like, I carry all of that forward now. Even my job as a teacher, now as a selector with Sligo, you’re bringing any positive stuff that you would have learned. They’re the kind of learning truths that you bring forward in life.” What better place to share his knowledge than the school where he learnt some of it himself, the famed Summerhill College.
However, teaching the kids maths and business studies is only part of the enjoyment. “With the football element, you can coach the lads and get away for matches and try to develop them that way as well, so. Maybe my interest in Gaelic football nearly prompted me a little bit to go to the classroom.” A little? It sounds as though the football is the job and teaching is a perk.
But school is not all fun and games. There are some rough days too. Like when you forget your homework, have to do a class presentation, or when you lost a county match the day before. “Some Monday mornings, pupils would be slagging you about the defeat and sometimes when we won, they wouldn’t know about it. But once we lost, they were telling you all about it, so that was a bit of fun as well, you know.”
Another ‘F’ Mr Breheny holds as important: Fun. “That bit of banter is always good as well in the classroom.” Teachers and coaches, take note.
“The students would be asking me other questions, like tips on nutrition and strength and conditioning, what are you doing at the moment and maybe psychological stuff that I learnt from Sligo that could help lads.
“There have been teacher versus student matches actually, one or two years as well and that was good craic.”
As always, teachers led by example, doing their best to win. But if they lost, teachers should take it graciously. Apparently, no one told the Summerhill men that. “If we didn’t win it we’d still pretend we won it, we always had a good referee to look after us.” It would seem maths is not his strong point when on the wrong side of victory.
For Mark, being a GAA player helped “the engagement level” of his students. “They could relate to me as in an athlete, not just a teacher, or not just a ‘Mr. Breheny’ or ‘sir’. They could see that I had another life outside teaching and sometimes I think kids think that teachers just only have the life in the classroom and that’s all they are.” As a local player who represented his county, students “felt comfortable talking to me about football and talking about the matches coming up”.
What happens then when the student and master face off in club match? “The respect was there in fairness and they don’t really mind playing with their teacher.” Mark commented that he has “good relations built up with these guys so there were never really any issues from that point of view.” There are no friends on the pitch and certainly no titles like ‘sir’. One would imagine that students might just go that bit harder against their teachers. Though, a seventeen-year-old would probably regret hitting Mark a shoulder. Or bouncing off his shoulder, as the case may be.
Just like football, teaching is changing. As evidenced from Mark saying that he likes a bit of banter in the classroom. “I think change is good and you just have to adapt to it and move on […] you’re hoping that it’ll benefit the kids more than anything else, you know.”
Throughout the entire conversation, one thing that was clear is how much Mark enjoys everything that he does and always wants to use his own knowledge to benefit others. Listening to him, it is apparent that he enjoys helping young people develop themselves. This attitude, mixed with his laughter at his memories of students, speaks to the type of teacher he is.
However, Mark was not always a teacher. He previously worked at his brother’s auctioneer office. “That was busy at the time of the boom years and I enjoyed that, and again I’m glad I did that because it was something different.”
Mark has also completed a postgrad in special education needs teaching and puts this to use sometimes after school.
While apparently inspiring young people in work and sport, Mark still remembers exactly who influenced him growing up. “From a playing point of view, my dad, obviously [and] my older brother, Tommy.” As a player, “there was a local coach of mine and he played for Sligo, John Kent. I heard great stories from him and about him. He was someone I would have admired and always looked for advice off.”
“From a national level...Maurice Fitzgerald.” Mark’s mother hailed from The Kingdom, which might explain the attraction to the Kerry legend.
The St. Mary’ man also found it hard to think of any embarrassing moments in his football career; at least any he would share. “I just can’t put my finger on anything really. Let me see. None that I can tell you anyway.” It was left at that. Some stories are better not told. Like the one about him being a Manchester United fan.
That is an ‘F’ for Flaw.
While considering the upcoming major F (turning forty), it is the other, positive Fs that dominate Mark Breheny’s story—Family, Football and Faith in the next generation - “I think the Future is still bright for Sligo football.” To see this achieved, Mark is building the Foundations through teaching, coaching, and taking time to play with his kids.
Fair play!

Last updated 22/01/2021 @ 11:40

Shamrock Gaels GAA Club notes clubnotes

It was with sadness that we learned of the passing of our club Patron, Kieran McDermott. A native of Riverstown, Kieran was an iconic figure in GAA circles and gave a lifetime of service to the GAA including a spell as Chairman of the County Board. Kieran played his football with Knockalassa, a formidable back he was on the Knockalassa team who won the Foley Cup Divisional Final in 1968 having lost three finals in a row. He went on to win a second title in 1969 and while both teams made their respective county finals, they had no success losing to Mullinabreena by two points in 1968 and losing to Grange in a controversial final in 1969. Kieran played on the last Knockalassa team ever to field in 1971, prior to the amalgamation with old rivals Sooey to form Shamrock Gaels. It was a proud moment for Kieran in 1992 when as County Board Chairman, he presented the Owen B Hunt Cup to Gaels captain Noel Willis when we won our second Senior County Championship. We wish to express sympathy to his wife Nuala, children Garrett, Dara, Niamh and Ciarán and the wider McDermott family and friends on Kieran's passing. He was a true gentleman. Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a anam. 

Last updated 21/01/2021 @ 11:21

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