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Love Is Alive In Hurling’s Finest Family

by Jimmy Rhatigan
Pics by Donal Foley

A LOVING local community has shown once more that it will never forget to remember.

Since a road tragedy claimed the lives of two beloved sons and best friends in December 2011, local families have turned out in big numbers every Yule for a memorial tractor run.

This year is no different.

Big numbers of men, women and children from families in Ballyhale and surrounds drove or walked together on Tuesday, paying tribute to Shamrocks hurling mates, former school pals, best friends and champion sons in their local communities.

What is arguably the best hurling parish in Ireland is still in mourning.

Parting with pals, workmates and future hurling stars had to be cruel and heartbreaking.

Martin Duggan, aged 20, and his friend, Seán ‘Minty’ Malone, aged 18, were much loved and respected.

Extended families were shattered following an accident outside Ballyhale’s sister village of Mullinavat. 

Neighbours and friends shared their grief.

An entire community had vowed that the boys would never walk alone or perhaps more aptly, share a tractor without support from a kind farming coterie.


Adhering to pandemic restrictions, a cavalcade of Tractor Boys, girls too, edged its way along local roads, a fitting tribute to devoted Ballyhale boys who would have been first in line as volunteers had the hand of help beckoned during their all too short lives.

The turnout was heart-warming, spectacular even, as young Ballyhale was joined by young at heart for an event that oozes love and friendship.

It was a reminder that a proud community that celebrates together in GAA success will always fashion a chain of support when the going gets tough.

The event was a reminder of the passing of wonderful hurling warriors but, more importantly, it was the celebration of the gifts that the young men had brought to a bailiwick they cherished so dearly.

Perhaps the picture that tells the heart-warming story of a united people is photographer Donal Foley’s fine shot of young boys, with hurleys by their sides, observing and respecting.

Hugginstown man, Donal, has the distinction of capturing on camera, all the Ballyhale memorial tractor runs.

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