By Jimmy Rhatigan
Pics: Donal Foley
THE FRIENDLY face that is family love and community loyalty was prominent in South Kilkenny as locals celebrated the lives of school pals who lost their lives in a tragic accident seven years ago.
Good friends Martin Duggan and Seán Malone will always be remembered by their families and friends in the greater Ballyhale community, particularly in late December when a tractor run in their memory boosts local charities.
Thursday’s seventh annual run attracted next door to 200 tractors and those who were not behind a wheel or in the passenger area of a tractor were united in respect as they ambled and showed their devotion to sons of a proud parish.
The run which started in the village of Ballyhale was led by local businessman, Paul Holden who piloted the leading machine.
Tractors moved on to Mullinavat, Milltown Cross, Dangan, Ballinaboola, Ardera, Clogga, Knockanure, Raheen, Templeorum, Mullinbeg, Booleyglass, Hugginstown, Coolmore and back to Ballyhale.
The weather was crisp and fine, organisation by a local committee was excellent and as a result there wasn’t even a hint of a hiccup.
The trail of tractors on the 52km route was a fitting tribute to young men who forever and a day will be remembered in their native place.
Martin and Seán were school mates in Ballyhale and they later studied together at secondary school in Knocktopher.
Very few went straight home after the run. The rendezvous was at the community hall in Ballyhale where supporters and sponsors of the run in aid of Cois Nore Cancer Support enjoyed soup, tea and sandwiches.
“It was a wonderful turnout as usual, the committee did brilliant work, we enjoyed the support of the entire community and the message has to be that we will keep the charity run going for as long as we are spared by the Man above,” Martin Duggan’s dad, Matty told The Reporter.