13 October 2010

Portumna Library
Ability West (Portumna Branch) - Fundraising Table Quiz
An Gáirdín - Upcoming Courses
Irish Blood Transfusion Service
Portumna & District Lions Club Fundraiser - Lough Derg Cycle
Portumna Camogie
Portumna Active Retirement Association
Portumna Rugby Club Annual Fashion Show
Start Your Own Business Course
Portumna GAA
Foley Memoir Raising Concerns

Portumna Library
Reading Certificates: On 28th Sept last Portumna Library held their ceremony for giving out Reading Certificates for all the children who participated in the Summer Reading Challenge. As usual there was a great response to the challenge and it continues to be a great success. Winners of book tokens for their wonderful colorings and reviews were Mairead O Meara, Sarah O Meara, Auna Haque, Ella Donlon and Sarah Jane Foley. Special thanks to Mayor Jimmy McClearn for officiating also a word of thanks to Teresa Tierney (Librarian) and Louise Harte (Asst Librarian) for their dedication and hard work over the summer and indeed throughout the year, between them they run a people and especially a children friendly Library. It will be appreciated by the children in later years.

Book Week: It's that time of year again! Book Week takes place in the library from Tuesday 12th Oct to Thursday 21st Oct. This year there is a wide variety of different activities including Story Telling and a visit by the Pignut Puppet Theatre. As usual we will have different arts and crafts competitions for children and of course a Jenga competition and Table Quiz. Art Workshops will take place in the library for the local school. It promises to be a wonderful event and for more information please contact the library.

Storytelling: Storyteller Danielle Allison will be in the library on Saturday Oct 16th from 11.30 am to 12.30 pm. It is open to children ages 6 and under. Admission is free. All Welcome!


Ability West (Portumna Branch) - Fundraising Table Quiz
Fundraising Table Quiz in aid of Ability West (Portumna Branch) in the Shannon Oaks Hotel on Friday 29th October at 8pm, Adult Table of four €40, Students €20. Proceeds of the quiz are for a purpose built gym for the service users at St. Dymnpa's, please support.


An Gáirdín - Upcoming Courses
Samhain With Colette Baynes: Saturday 30th October 10.30-1pm - In the Celtic Year Samhain marks the end and the beginning of the year. In this workshop we will use a combination of dance, meditation and art to celebrate new beginnings and to incubate hopes and dreams for the New Year. Cost: €20. Please contact An Gairdin on 090 9741689 or angairdin1@gmail.com

Growing in Polytunnels with Dolores Keegan: Saturday 13th Nov 10am-4.00pm - This day covers all aspects of tunnel growing including: choosing and erecting a tunnel, choosing suitable varieties of plants for tunnels, designing a yearly crop plan, maintaining healthy plants, irrigation, etc. Contact An Gairdin on 090 9741689 or angairdin1@gmail.com.


Irish Blood Transfusion Service
The Irish Blood Transfusion Service will be in the Shannon Oaks Hotel, Portumna, on Tuesday 2nd November. The times are 3.00 pm to 4.45pm Afternoon and 7.00pm to 9.00pm in the evening. As always blood is always in demand, if you can spare a pint make the effort to call in.


Portumna & District Lions Club Fundraiser - Lough Derg Cycle
The Portumna & District Lions Club would like to thank all the cyclists for taking part in our Annual Lough Derg Cycle in association with Sliabh Aughty Cycling Club on Sunday 10th October. A special thanks to the Marshalls on the day along with Portumna Red Cross, Shannon Oaks Hotel & OMeara's Supavalu. A great cycle was had by everyone, all monies raised will go towards the restoration of the church of ireland and also local charities within Portumna and district.


Portumna Camogie
Intermediate Final: Commiserations to Portumna's Intermediate Camogie team on their loss to Sarsfields in the Intermediate County Final last Saturday against Sarsfields in Loughrea. The girls didn't perform to their usual strengths. However, they did themselves and their club proud having gone up to this grade only last year. They can look forward to the challenge again next year and take a well deserved break after a hard campaign. Well done to all concerned.

Clothes Recycling Drive: This Friday 15th October there will be a clothes recycling drive in aid of Portumna Camogie Club. All clean unwanted clothes, bedlinen, shoes etc. will be accepted. Collection point will be in the town square. Please drop off all clothes before 6pm.


Portumna Active Retirement Association
The Portumna Active Retirement Association were glad to welcome Lorrha, and the newly formed ARA from Tynagh/Abbey/Duniry to their Irish Night in the Portumna Retirement Village. It was a wonderful night of music and fun, a special thanks to the sandwich makers and to those that provided prizes on the night.

Mr Tony Williams will give a talk on Thursday 21st October

The day out to Punchestown Races is coming up so bring any remaining monies due to the meeting on the 14th.


Portumna Rugby Club Annual Fashion Show
Portumna Rugby Club are holding their annual Fashion Show on Friday 22nd October in the Shannon Oaks. This is always a very entertaining night with loads of great fashion from local Portumna shops and a few outside shops by special invitation. The show always gets a great reaction not only for the top class style on display, but also for that that extra bit of fun and devilment that the rugby club always bring to the crowd and this year promises to be no different. The start time is 8pm with a cheese and wine reception from 7.30pm, tickets are only €10 and are available from participating shops, club members and some tickets will also be available on the door on the night.


Start Your Own Business Course
A number of places are available on the Start Your own Business Course which is being held in Portumna, in conjunction with Galway County Enterprise Board. This course will take place two evenings per week over five weeks. The course covers topics such as raising finance, grant aid, developing your business idea, marketing, health & safety, taxation and accounts. It is a very practical, down to earth course and there is no exam. This course is free of charge and participants can contact South East Galway IRD for further details.


Portumna GAA
Portumna senior hurlers live to fight another day after they secured the equalising point in injury time.

Portumna got off to a good start through a Joe Canning pointed free after 45 seconds. Andy Smith and Joe Canning added points before Loughrea got their first score from a free on ten minutes. Joe Canning pointed from a free on the eleventh minute. Niall Hayes had good vision to find Conor O Hare who made no mistake in blasting the ball to the Loughrea net; this was all due to good work from Leo Smith. Loughrea added three points which all came from frees while Niall and Damien Hayes and a pointed free from Joe Canning gave Portumna a six point lead at the interval on a score line 1-7 to 0-4.

Loughrea got off to the better start in the second half and scored three unanswered points before Kevin Hayes added a point to put a bit of distance again between the teams. Points from Damien Hayes and Joe Canning gave Portumna a comfortable lead heading into the final ten minutes of the game when disaster struck as two goals and a point from Loughrea put the teams on level terms before Eoin Lynch put over a point which looked like the winner only for Loughrea to level on 30 minutes. With four minutes of injury time to play Loughrea went ahead through a Johnny O Loughlin sideline cut. Portumna sought hard to get the equaliser and it came in the dying minute of the game when Andy Smith shot which seemed to going over the bar came off the crossbar and after a scramble for possession a Loughrea player picked the ball of the ground and Joe Canning duly delivered by putting the ball over the bar.

The replay is on in Athenry on Saturday at four o clock.


Foley Memoir Raising Concerns
Even while Portumna man Thomas Foley garners rave reviews in America for his autobiography, The Simple Game: An Irish Jockey's Memoir, some in America have criticised the Lorrha native for bemoaning the state of horse racing and the treatment of Thoroughbreds in the United States in his book. Some critics have even gone as far as to question whether the thirty year old has lived long enough to write the story of his life. Concerns come on the heels of the book's worldwide release, and as Foley prepares for the opening of Secretariat, a feature film by Walt Disney Studios in which he plays the role of Jimmy Gaffney, the real-life work jockey of the 1973 Triple Crown winner.

Criticism has centered around Foley's claim that some Thoroughbreds in the States are drugged in order to run in races in which they have no business taking part. Foley has countered naysayers by pointing out that everyone in the horse racing industry knows that this is happening, and yet the practice is allowed to continue. "No one takes responsibility," Foley commented upon learning of the remarks, "and that's what bothers me. When jockeys sign on for a ride, the most they should expect and demand, is that they're riding a sound horse."

While Foley raises the issue of the drugging of Thoroughbreds in his memoir, he also praises owners and trainers that do the right thing by their horses. "Those trying to make an issue out of me writing about this have probably not taken the time to read my book," Foley commented further, "if they had, they would find that I make it a point to praise those that do right by the horses they own and train. If anything, I berate myself for not doing or saying anything about it at the time."

Aside from the topic of horses and the use of drugs, in his memoir, Foley also criticizes the fact that Thoroughbreds are being purchased at pennies on the dollar by "pirates" for the sole purpose of being sold to slaughter houses. While horse racing tracks in the States have strict codes of conduct forbidding the sale of Thoroughbreds for the purpose of slaughter, Foley noted in his memoir that most tracks turn a blind eye to the practice. In the book, Foley relates the story of a time when he was at a horse auction in Pennsylvania, where he came across a Thoroughbred that was originally purchased for ninety-thousand dollars and was sold to a "pirate" for less than three hundred dollars. This particular horse was saved by two young ladies that paid the "pirate" over four hundred dollars to spare the horse's life. "When I think about horses that meet this end," Foley shared, "I'm reminded of the great Ferdinand, and where he ended up. "People that question where my heart lies when it comes to the horse racing industry in America miss the point that in my memoir, I clearly state that at the time I saw this happening around me, I was at a point in my life that even I didn't care what was happening to these horses. They meant nothing more to me than a meal ticket and a way for me to escape the troubles that defined my life at the time. But, that was then, and this is now."

Foley credits the director of Secretariat, Randall Wallace, with opening his eyes to the respect and care that Thoroughbreds deserve. "In one scene," Foley commented, "I was suppose to ride 'Secretariat' as close as I could to a camera on the track. Mr. Wallace told me if they didn't get the shot that it was okay; that we'd get it the next day because he didn't want to tire out the horse I was riding. I was surprised by what he said. Here was a man with a million and one things on his mind and yet he was worried about one horse. "It wasn't until later that night that I realized that it wasn't him that was different. It was me. I was the one that thought of horses as nothing more than the tools I used to make my living. I knew right then and there that the time had come to rediscover my passion for the game. It was either that, get out, or die. I chose life and my love of my boys, the sport and the horses."

While writing his book, Foley knew that some of the issues raised in the story would cause concern for some, but he never expected that his seemingly young age would be brought into question as well. "I might be thirty years old," Foley made clear in relation to this criticism, "but I've seen enough and have ridden enough Thoroughbreds to make me an expert on the subject of race horses; but all of that aside, if I'm not qualified to write the story of my life up to where I am today, then I'd like to know who is."

While criticisms surrounding certain themes in Foley's life story are sure to continue, American book reviewers have praised Foley's memoir. Jimmy Brammer of The Frederick News-Post wrote that, "In an engrossing, conversational prose, Foley spins an autobiographical yarn [that] is a fun, truthful and sometimes painfully revealing account of his life." While Norman Fine of America's Foxhunting Life noted that the piece "makes for an intriguing story and a compelling read."

Coverage of Foley's The Simple Game: An Irish Jockey's Memoir has garnered considerable coverage in newspapers throughout Ireland, most recently in the Irish Independent. The book is currently available, or can be ordered, in fine bookstores throughout Ireland. Foley will be in the country from late December through the end of January 2011 conducting a book signing tour in support of the piece and the motion picture Secretariat. The book is the latest offering from award-winning publisher Caballo Press of Ann Arbor.


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