Ballina Bridge Club

Past Presidents
Past Ballina Presidents


Welcome to Ballina Bridge Congress page of Presidents


Rubber Bridge had been played in homes in Ballina for many years before the Balllina Bridge Club was formally established in March 1958; this with a view to joining the many people worldwide playing Contract Bridge and which required a hall to hold several tables. In the early years, players took their fold-away tables and packs of cards to the venue and a club grew out of this. Ballina Bridge Congress is an event that evolved from an idea our founding fathers had in the 1970s. The town held a Salmon Festival in July each year which attracted many visitors to the town; several of these from Northern Ireland. Aidan and Ena Cleary were living locally at the time, and on returning from a Bridge Congress in Clonmel in the Spring of 1976 with a prize of a flitch of bacon, the idea of holding a Bridge Congress in Ballina with salmon for prizes was born. At a meeting in the Moy Hotel (home to Ballina Library in Pearse St. at present) on 27th April 1976, a sub-committee which included Anthony Kilcullen, Mrs Rita de Vere, Aidan Cleary, Joe Moran and John Lowry was set up to investigate the possibility of staging a Bridge Congress in the town. The Salmon Festival Bridge Tournament which took place on Sunday 11th July 1976 was a great success and at a committee meeting in The Central Hotel (now The Broken Jug in O'Rahilly St.) in September 1976, Mrs Betty Gormally proposed that the aforementioned tournament be extended: this was duly ratified at the AGM in October on the proposal of Mr. Aidan Cleary, who became the first Ballina Bridge Congress President. The National AGM of the Contract Bridge Assoc. of Ireland is held annually on the first Saturday in July: Ballina Bridge Congress is the first of the new season, held annually on the weekend following the National AGM. Salmon, fresh from the local River Moy, were offered as prizes in the '70s and early '80s until stocks of wild salmon began to dwindle; the practice ceased after the Moy Fishery Company was purchased by the state in 1987. The present day Ballina Bridge Congress is a full weekend event with cash prizes. The Mixed Pairs competition on the Friday night is dedicated to the memory of a brilliant former Ballina Bridge player, Ias Kane, who was killed in a hit-and-run accident in the US in December 1954. Saturday's Congress Pairs is the John Lowry competition: John was a staunch member of the Congress Committee from the very beginning and a former treasurer and president, and won many trophies with his favourite partner, Anthony Kilcullen, both now deceased. The Congress Teams Competition on Sunday is sponsored by Ballina Beverages, Coca Cola, and an Intermediate Teams Competition was added in 2014. There are Open Pairs sessions throughout the weekend. A one-session Novice Competition is held on the Saturday afternoon.


Presidents  Ballina Bridge Congress


1970 +

1976 and 1977: Aidan Cleary

1978 Betty Gornley

1979 Jackie Carney




1980 +

1980 Peg Glacken

1981 Michael Mullen

1982 Breege Gallagher

1983 Ena McCorkell

1984 Joe Moran

1985 Kay Forde

1986 John Lowry

1987 Breege Gallagher

1988 Valerie McGeogh

1989 Josie Cawley 

1990 +

1990 Anne Freeman

1991 Anthony Kilcullen

1992 Frances Walkin

1993 Tim Summerfield

1994 Jacqueline O'Toole

1995 Eithne Daly

1996 Mary Galvin

1997 Betty Gormley

1998 Vincent McMahon

1999 Marie Molloy

2000 +

2000 Gráinne Bourke

2001 John Mulkearns

2002 Marie Fahy/Anne Freeman

2003 Marge Lennon

2004 Edna Bourke

2005 Mary Lowry

2006 Mary Mongan

2007 Christy McLoughlin

2008 Michael Walkin

2009 Mary Gilvarry

2010 +

2010 Gerard Moran

2011 Mary O'Dowd

2012 Helena Moran

2013 Úna Doyle

2014 Gerry Scanlon 

2015 Gussie McEvilly

2016 Richard White