Kilfian's Legendary Cyclist
Kilfian's Legendary Cyclist
The late John Garvin, Cartonrathroe, is
easily the greatest athlete ever to emerge from Kilfian and
was one of the best known cyclists from the West of Ireland
in the 1940’s and 50’s. At one stage in his illustrious
career, John was the master cyclist in the province holding
all the championship titles of Connacht at distances greater
than the half-mile. He won four All-Ireland medals, 10
Interprovincial medals and 15 Mayo Championship Medals.
Considering that he did not enjoy the benefit of a cycling
club and that all his training was done on the roads of
North Mayo, it makes his achievements all the more
impressive. John had a quiet unassuming manner and rarely
spoke of his fame. It was indeed fitting that he was
honoured in 1978 with the "Hall of Fame" at the "Western
People" Mayo Stars Dinner. The presentation was made by the
then Minister for Sport, Jim Tunney and Kerry football
trainer, Mick O'Dwyer.
The following is an
extract from an article in the "Western People" 1978
Cyclist John was King"
"Great ability and a
dedicated interest were the prerequisites of by-gone cycling
champs who almost inevitably made their way to success at
Provincial, National and even International level. One such
man was John Garvin, Kilfian, Killala who was once beseeched
by the Lord Mayor of Sligo, Mr. Tolan, a Crossmolina man to
call it a day after winning the three opening races when he
seemed to be punishing his slight physical frame beyond
endurance. He battled on bravely and an hour and a further
two events later he won the 2-mile Pursuit Championship of
Ireland. The meeting in Sligo in 1942 was a personal triumph
for the 9stone, 17 year old wonder, winning four
Interprovincial gold medals. John also broke the Irish
record for the mile, in his time and it was this as well as
his exceptional ability and track record which led to him
being picked on the Irish N.A.C.A. team for the World
Championship at Helsinki. However, on account of the War,
the games had to be cancelled.
Training for John
consisted of two twenty-mile road trips each week which he
did on a regular basis
His most satisfying
win ever was in Sligo one year at the O'Duffy Cup games
between Connacht and Ulster. He was involved in the one and
a half mile when he suddenly tumbled to the ground only to
remount and in sensational style catch the other cyclists
who had opened up quite a considerable gap, to win in a
His most disappointing
run came about in equally sensational circumstances in the
National Championships at Dundalk in 1944. Coming from
behind in the mile event he was prepared to overtake the
leader in a sprint finish 15 yards short of the line when a
bracket axle broke and denied him of almost certain victory.
Following his win in
the 2-mile Pursuit Championship of Ireland in 1942 he added
to his collection in subsequent years the 10,000 metre
Championship of Ireland at Boyle in 1943, the 3-miles
Championship of Ireland at Sligo in 1948 and the 6,000 metre
Championship of Ireland at Tubbercurry in 1949.
This year John Garvin
was presented with "The Western People" Hall of Fame Award
at the Mayo Sports Stars function at the Downhill Hotel in
February. It was an award that this "Hero of the Cycling
Track" richly deserved.
Aileen Gilroy is one
of the most promising athletes Kilfian has produced for many
years. At the age of just 12
years she has already achieved success at a national level
on several different occasions. She has shown to be a major
talent in numerous sporting disciplines, ranging from the
long-jump to long-distance running. Aileen's parents are
both natives of the Parish, her father Martin is from Barranarran
and her mother Mary (nee Carroll) hails from Ballyduane.
Aileen is currently a member
of the Ballina Athletics Club, St. Brigid's U-12 Ladies' Football
team, the Mayo County U-12 team and the Killala Soccer team.
The following a list
of some of Aileen's achievements in 2004;
Country Championships, Mullingar. Under 12:
Bronze with County & Region.
Track & Field Championship, Tullamore. 1st: Under 12 Long
Track & Field Championship, Nenagh.
1st: Under 12 Long Jump
Track & Field Championship, Sligo.
1st:: Under 12 Long Jump
Connaught Indoor Track
& Field Championship, Nenagh.
3rd: Under 12 Long Jump
Country Championship, Sligo.
8th: Under 13 Individual
Mayo Cross Country
Championship, Ballina. 2nd: Under 12 Individual
Mayo Outdoor Track &
Field Championship, Ballina. 1st: Under 12
Long Jump, 2nd: 800 metres, 3rd: 80 metres, 3rd: Relay race.
Mayo Indoor Track &
Field Championship, Nenagh. 1st: Under 11 Long Jump, 2nd: 60
metre sprint, 2nd: 600 metres, 3rd: Under 13 Relay.
Aileen was awarded the
"Connaught Telegraph" Sports Star of the week
Achievements to date
Track & Field Championship, Nenagh.
1st: Under 13 Long Jump
Fr. Peter O'Brien
O'Brien is a native of Culleens, Co. Sligo. Born on 12th
September 1941, son of Peter O' Brien & Kathleen (nee
O'Connor). Ordained to the Priesthood by Bishop McQuaid on
18th June 1967. . Received a Higher Diploma in Education at
University College Galway.
1967-1968 Chaplain at Galvia Hospital,
Castlegar, Co. Galway
1968-1971 St. Muredach's College, Ballina.
1971-1974 C.C. Binghamstown.
1974-1976 C.C. Dromore West.
1976-1987 C.C. Ballina.
1987-1994 Adm. Ballina.
1994-1997 Army Chaplain, the Curragh.
1997 to Present P.P. Kilfian.
Fr. Alan Munnelly.
Fr Alan, son of Lena and the late
Paddy Munnelly is a native of Drinaghan, Kincon. He received
his early education locally at Mount Palmer National school
and St Patrick's College Lacken Cross and later at: St John's
College Waterford 1987 - 1989 Our Lady of Angela's Brooklyn
1989 - 1990 Maynooth College 1990 - 1994 Ordained 12th June
1994 in Sacred Heart Church Kilfian He has served in the following
Parishes St Patricks Ballina 1994 - 1996 Kilglass 1996 - 1997
Crossmolina 1997 - 2001 Geesala /Kiltane 2001 - 2004
Fr. Joe Walsh.
Fr. Joe Walsh is a native of Cloonaleedin
, Kincon, Ballina. He studied for the priesthood in All Hallows
College, Drumcondra, Dublin and was ordained there on the
13th June 1982, for the Dioceses of Northampton in the English
midlands. His first appointment was as curate in Slough,where
he ministered for six years with Canon Michael Hazell P.P.
In 1989 he was transferred to the parish of Corby and spent
four years with Canon Dan Ronin P.P. He was appointed Parish
priest of Little Chalfont in 1993 and he served there until
1995 when he was made Parish Priest of Rushden where he ministers
at present. His Web Address: St PETER APOSTLE CHURCH RUSHDEN
http://web ukonline.co uk/st petersrushden
Father Ambrose Bryce
The Reverend Father Ambrose Bryce,
a native of the Parish of Kilfian, Co. Mayo, Ireland, was
ordained to the Catholic Priesthood in Ireland on June 18,
1961. He began his studies at St Muredach's College Ballina,
Co. Mayo, and from there progressed to St Patrick's College
at Maynooth, Co. Kildare. From thence he moved to St John's
Seminary at Waterford where he was ordained to the Priesthood
for the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey, U. S. A. His first
appointments were as follows : Associate Pastor of Blessed
Sacraments Parish at Margate, 1961 - 1963 St Mary Magdalene,
at Millville, 1963 - 1966 St. Vincent Palotti, at Haddon Township
1966 - 69 and Our Lady Queen of Peace , at Pitman, 1978 -
As well, Fr. Ambrose served on the
diocesan Tribunal for ten years, 1969 - 1979 in several capacities
including Officials or Presiding Judge, as Advocate and Procurator,,
Defender of the Bond, and as Vice Officialis. He also served
on the Priest's Council of Camden Diocese. In 1980 he became
Pastor at Mullica Hill, at the Parish of the Holy Name of
Jesus and he served there for sixteen years, from 1980 -96.
During the sixteen years as Parish Priest of Mullica Hill,
Fr. Ambrose saw a tremendous development of population in
his Parish. His beautiful small Parish Church built in 1901
to seat 125 people was no longer adequate and there was no
teaching facility for the teaching of the Catholic faith to
a growing and increasing number of catholic children. With
the help of his parishioner's Fr.Ambrose made a decision to
build a Parish |Centre that would include a Chapel to set
500 people and would include eight classrooms, each capable
of accomodating 30 children.
Father Bryce laboured hard night and
day and his people responded very generously. This Magnificant
Parish Centre was finally ready for opening at Christmas 1993.
In 1996 Fr. Ambrose was appointed to a new Parish of St. Anthony
at Waterford, Camden, New Jersey. There he laboured again
to repair and refurbish an old church building. Finally he
retired in the year 2000. On the occasion of his official
retirement, the chairman at this function, the local Catholic
Medical officer described Fr.Ambrose as follows - "He came
to our Parish of St. Anthony's, he looked it over and he cleaned
it up." Yes Fr. Ambrose has retired 'officially'- but in reality
he is working for God's Church as faithfully as ever. Every
weekend he is on the road visiting Parish Churches and doing
all manner of priestly work when needed. We wish him many
years of good health and happiness doing such splendid work
in the Lord's vineyard.
Born second daughter of John and Elizabeth
Ruddy of Ratheskin, attended the primart school of Ratheskin
and later Stella Maris Secondary school in Ballycastle run
by the Sisters of Mercy. Four years later she qualified as
a Religious Educator from the Mater Dei Institude in Dublin.
That same year she left to teach in Cameroon, West Africa,
as a candidate with the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary,
Killeshandra, Co Cavan, spending two years among the delightful
young people of Nchang on the Nigerian border.
Returning to Ireland she entered the
Novitiate of the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary in
Killeshandra and after first profession left to teach in a
secondary school for religious
Sisters in Tanzania. Many Sisters in Tanzania had not received
a secondary education and the Tanzanian Bishops set up a secondary
school to provide the opportunity ofsecondary studies forsisters
of various Tanzanian Congregations. Angela worked there for
one year while she waited foe her visa papers to be processed
for South Afriica.
In January of 1981 Angela arrived in
South Africa where she became involved in the training of
catechists and deacons in the diocese of Tzaneen, a large
diocese bordering on Zimbabwe. To reach her mission she had
to cross the Tropic of Capricorn. This involved many miles
of travelling over dirt and gravel roads to reach the various
parts of the vastdiocese. But it was wonderful to see ths
Christian Communities grow and develop and take root. The
shadow of apartheid still hung over that beautiful land but
the people were warm, welcoming and wonderful co-workers.
In 1982 Angela was requested by her congregation to return
to cameroon. Being an international and intercultural congregation,
all young Sisters from the various countries and cultures
met for one year in community before they took final vows.
The intercultural community experiencewas being held in Cameroon
that year. During that year she taught religion in schools
and visited prisons and hospitals as a chaplain.
Returning to South Africa again she
continued her work in the Diocese of Tzaneen for some time
but was then requested by her congregation to be the Vocations
Promoter and work with young people who were interested in
the Missionary vocation. This ministry once again involved
many hours on the roads as she met with young people in colleges,
universities and work situations in five dioceses throughout
Work as Vocations Promoter lasted for
three years and Angela then left for further studies in Rome
where she was awarded a licentiate in Theology from the Pontifical
Angelicum University. Returning to south Africa she took up
vocations promotion work once again, giving retreats to young
people andbeing involved in spiritual direction with seminarians
in the seminary in Pretoria.
This lasted for a short time only as
Angela was recalled by her congregation to Ireland to work
as Vice-Postulator for the Cause of Canonisation of their
founder, bishop Joseph Shanahan C.S.Sp. Thisprimarily involves
meeting with various people who knew Bishop Shanahan during
his lifetime, including Holy Rosary Sisters and collecting
his letters and other documentation pertaining to his life
and missionry activity. Further information on Angela's present
work will be available when the congregational website is
in operation in the Autumn of 2004. In the meantime for more
information on the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary log
on to www.holyrosarysisters.com
Sr. Ellie Devine
Sr. Ellie Devine was
born in Ballygowan, Killala, in 1925. She joined the Order
of the Sacred Heart in Mount Anvill Convent, Dundrum, in
1949. In 1952 she was Professed and in 2002 Celebrated her
Karen McAndrew ,an Art and Design
student, lives in Creevesmore. From her earliest years in
Ratheskin National School she had a keen interest in creative
activities. In secondary school in Gortnor Abbey she competed
in the Texaco Children's art competition, under fourteen category.
Her winning picture an autumn scene featured in the Texaco
Art Calender 2000. Presently Karen is studying to achieve
her Diploma and Degree in Art and Design. She follows this
course at the Cluain Mhuire Campus in School of Art and Design,
Film and Television . G/M/I/TW www.gmit.ie Following this
she hopes to pursue her studies in L.I.T. College of Art and
Design to gain a higher diploma. This will enable her to teach
Art and Design at secondary level.