Darren’s Diary – Kicking The Habit (Day 24) – Thursday, 15th March 


I know you’ve been waiting with bated breath about the activities in last night’s action in the Ballinasloe Senior Club Championship so I won’t keep you waiting anymore. 

A night of high drama saw Kenneth Higgins become just the second three-time champion when he beat Tommy Dunne Jr around 11pm last night.  They were fighting for the title and Tommy was the defending champion.  But when the dust settled, Athenry’s finest added to his 2011 and 2015 wins.

Tommy had the consolation of finishing third as debutant George O’Brien took second place after his draw with Johnny Dunne.  Actually, we’d four players joint second on 4.5 points and Johnny missed out on countback along with Paddy Divilly.

There was equal excitement regarding the grading prizes.  Jake O’Grady produced a shock win over the club’s junior champion Aoife Castle to become the first winner of the under 16 prize.  And after having to wait over an hour, Liam Martin become the second youngest ever winner of the grading prize.

It’s nights like these that make me proud of what we’ve achieved with Ballinasloe Chess Club.  We had 33 entries in the senior club championship this year and there’s 49 players currently taking part in the Junior championships which will end in May.  For a minority club, the numbers aren’t bad.

I’ve been talking about this week’s All-Ireland camogie finals but there’s another big event the following Friday (March 23rd).  Am honoured to be co-ordinator along with John McKenna for the County Community Games Chess and Draughts Championships in what is always a hotly contested event.

We lost our chess titles last year to Dunmore and are delighted to bring the event to north Galway.  Dunmore won for the first time last March and represented Galway very well in the National Finals with one team coming home with gold.  It’s going to be a battle.

And we’ve also brought draughts back into the club and we’ll have two teams competing on the same night.  Took them for a training session last night and they’re an enthusiastic group who are putting the work in so hopefully, they’ll get rewarded.

Workwise, it wasn’t the most productive day I’ve had but I’ll be forgiven as I saw my favourite three-year-old for the first time in eight months today.  My brother Rory is home with his partner Jade and little Evie and they called to see me around lunch time.

It’s amazing the little things you notice about children when you haven’t seen them in some time.  Evie’s flying around the place, playing leapfrog with our couch and posing for selfies.  Going to be a busy couple of days but delighted to have them home.

Evie turns four on St. Patrick’s Day so we’re looking forward to that after Corofin in the football and Ireland in the rugby.  Won’t be continuing the celebrations myself that night as the big games are on Sunday and the aim is to get into the spirit Sunday night somewhere near Bullaun or Athenry.

Being late home meant later getting into routine today but the cravings were very minimal.  It’s still in the back of the mind but, while I’ve said this before, I couldn’t imagine having one now.  I think I jumped the gun some time back thinking I was an ex-smoker but I’ve learned I won’t get complacent yet.

Every day that the diary turns into an actual account of my day rather than explaining touches of temptation is a good day.  I’d like to think Evie’s return will give me more motivation over the weekend.  And while I won’t see her Sunday, I’ll have four other days with her to look forward to.


So, that’s it.  Officially, three less exciting entries in-a-row but I hope you stick with me and thanks a million for all your support.  We’ve still 16 days before we go weekly and if I’m still popping out accounts like this then, there’ll definitely be every reason to enjoy the Easter celebrations.  Chat tomorrow 🙂