This year’s chess season began with a visit from St Gerald’s College Castlebar to compete in the National Checkmate competition. The Garbally team of Ruairi McKenna Carroll (Captain), Conor Barrett, Jack McKenna and Shane Bleahene had to play two matches against the St Gerald’s A and B teams. Garbally began against the St Gerald’s A team. It was a very tough match and all the Garbally players had to dig deep but eventually the wins came and the final score was a 4-0 win for Garbally. The following match against the St Gerald’s B team was a little easier and Garbally soon overcame their opponents and again finished with a 4-0 win. The National Finals were next and the games were played in the Castletroy Hotel Limerick on 29th March. The Garbally team on this occasion was Ruairi McKenna Carroll (Captain) Jack McKenna, Shane Bleahene and Conor Bleahene. The team performed really well and came fourth overall.
Garbally players have also been performing well in other competitions. Eoin Moran, Ruairi McKenna Carroll and Conor Barrett all played on the Connacht Under 16 team that came second to Leinster in the Inter-Provincials held recently in the Carlton Shearwater Hotel Ballinasloe. Eoin, Ruairi and Conor were joined by Jack McKenna on the Ballinasloe senior team competing in the adult chess league. Ballinasloe retained the Bodley Cup, only the second occasion that a team has retained this Cup. Conor Barrett received an individual prize for his scores during the season. Ballinasloe also retained the O’Connell Cup, this team included Shane and Conor Bleahene. Last summer Jack McKenna was selected to represent Ireland at Under 14 level at the Four Nations Chess Championships held near Cardiff in Wales. Ruairi, Jack and Shane are on the Ballinasloe Under 16 Community Games chess team that have won the Connacht final recently and have qualified for the National finals in May. We are hoping to win our fifth consecutive National title.