It is with great sadness to learn of the unexpected passing after a short illness of Gerry O’Donnell.

Gerry, who had a lifetime’s involvement with Ballina RFC, was one of the great characters of club rugby in Ireland. He had numerous roles with his hometown club including captain and president. He was a feared opponent on the field of play but a most welcoming person off it. He was in many ways the equivalent of our club’s Big Pat Hynes, being the “absolute heartbeat of Ballina RFC, a man like no other”. Gerry was also honoured as President of Connacht Rugby in 2015/16 when Connacht famously upset the odds to win the PRO12 title.

He will be greatly missed far and wide but, most of all, by his wife Olive and their children Olwyn, Olga, Roger and Rodney to whom heartfelt condolences are extended.