The candidates have been unveiled in the contest for the title of the Baron/Baroness of Ballyshannon. Six candidates were revealed at the recent launch of the competition at Sean Og’s Pub.
This is a fundraising event for two local organisations, Gael Scoil Eirne and Rory Gallagher International Tribute Festival and follows a format last seen in vogue some 30 years ago, when John Keon was elected baron of the town - again older readers will recall that too was a worthy fundraiser and the format has been revised.
Master of Cermonies at the launch night was Barry Sweeny who gave a brief history of the famous title first held by Henry Folliott - the first Baron of Ballyshannon back in 1620, with two further Barons up until 1697 when Henry Folliott II vacated the role.
Mr. Sweeny revealed the modern day 2012 candidates that will contest the title – representing Gael Scoil Eirne are Kathleen Brennan, Maurice McLaughlin and Raymond Gallagher, while representing the Rory Gallagher Festival will be Patrick McGahern, Yvonne McCabe and Cyril ‘Meatloaf’ Brennan.
In an open and candid interview with the candidates – Cyril Brennan said that “the title of Baron was within his sight after his recent success in Ballyshannon’s Stars in your Eyes and that he would be hitting the ground running, like a bat out of hell in his bid to win the Baron Contest.”
However, Raymond Gallagher said that he “would be calling on all his sporting connections and has big plans in place to land the title.”
One of the two female candidates seeking to become the first Baroness of Ballyshannon – Kathleen Brennan said she “had what it takes to make history and was calling on all the female population locally to back herself and Yvonne McCabe to ensure that a Baroness would come out on top.”
There is already a battle developing between Patrick McGahern and Maurice McLaughlin, with a serious amount of backing with the bookies between these two candidates. Maurice, a well known business proprietor, said he “has his campaign team in place and will be first out of the blocks” with his fundraising drive in the next week. But he was keeping his cards close to his chest on one significant event while Patrick McGahern representing the Rory Fest said he “had the real quality meat to win the Baron for his homeland of Coolcholly.”
Local bookmaker, John Patton of Ballybookies, from the stage declared that Maurice McLoughlin was being installed as favourite followed closely by Cyril Brennan, Patrick McGahern and Raymond Gallagher, with both female candidates at present outside in the betting. However, Mr. Patton said “the first four weeks of the seven week campaign will be a telling factor” and he said he nwould expect both ladies, Kathleen and Yvonne to make waves and come into contention in what will be a close battle.
The history books may record that the title is extinct, however, in an effort to assist two voluntary organisations in Ballyshannon in 2012, the Baron of Ballyshannon is now underway. Fundraising events will include a Cake Sale, Fun Quiz, Ballyshannon X-Factor Night, Compromise Rules Football Match, Maurice’s Big Beach Party, McGahern’s Retro Night, the Santa Tractor Run and you can back your candidate by supporting their sponsorship cards throughout the Erne Town.
The intense campaign is underway until January 5th when the first citizen of County Donegal, Mayor of the County, Cllr. Frank McBrearty will be in Ballyshannon at the final function and will announce the new Baron or indeed Baroness of Ballyshannon.