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Ballycolman Games strikes gold

 
“WE made completes clowns of ourselves, but at least we can say we raised a bit of money for charity.”

Ronan Boyle laughs as he recalls the Ballycolman Games, a video he and friend, Anthony Duffy shared to their Strabanter Party Page on Facebook just a week ago today. 

A comedic send-up of games they, as children of the ‘80s used to play – pre-wifi and mobile phones – the video has amassed almost 40,000 views on social media and the funds keep rolling in.

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Created in aid of the Koram Centre and dedicated to the duo’s late friend, John Lynch, Ballycolman Games: The Movie has  raised over 5,000. 

“The donations just keep coming,” Ronan remarked this week. “It’s been amazing. Fair play to the town.”

Including a range of special disciplines including the Choongum Challenge, Railin Slurpin, Granny National and Robbin the Shop, the video was shot on location in the Ballycolman in about two and a half hours earlier this month when Anthony Duffy returned home from Boston, where he now lives and works.

Ronan continued, “A favourite saying of Anthony’s is, ‘A day without a laugh is a day wasted.’ 

“Me and Anthony always had the same sense of humour; we were friends growing up. We had talked about life  before mobile phones when weans had to get out of the house and entertain themselves and all the things we did back in the day to entertain ourselves. We started the Strabanter page on Facebook back in March – just for the craic – but we have 9,500 followers. I’d say we’ll top the 10,000 mark before Christmas. It is videos and pictures and it’s supposed to be related to all things Strabane humour. But then we started calling each other out about the games… one thing led to another.”

Local music producer and videographer, Wes Divine shot Ballycolman Games: The Movie “for the craic,” as Ronan says. The latter also admits, “there was no script nor nuhin.”

“It was only when Wes was doing the editing that we rang and asked the Lynch family if was OK for us to dedicate the film to John,” Ronan continued. “The three of us would have grown up together in the Ballycolman. They said yes but they suggested we needed to  get a charity and link it to fundraising. Nadine (Lynch) was the one who suggested the Koram Centre.

“The thing about it was: We didn’t expect anything massive from the video but the Lynch family did. They were looking at it from outside and could see what it was. We could only see it from the craic angle.”

Alongside all the madcap antics the duo get up to, as they explain at the end of the video, the Ballycolman Games is also about raising awareness about mental health.

“There are a lot of people around our age with serious mental health issues, because of the experiences they’ve had,” Ronan – or his alter ego in the Ballycolman Games, Robo – suggests. “So we always like to have a wee bit of craic… never take anything too seriously.”

Anthony Duffy – or Strabatman, as he is in the video – adds, “(We do this) for everyone out there who might be having their own little issues. Whether it’s depression or anxiety… there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Confirming that Robo and Strabatman are already thinking of doing a sequel, Ronan Boyle hinted there might be something else in the Strabanter pipeline before Christmas.

It’s all about the craic,” he laughed. “I also like getting my photograph taken with Anthony or being in a video with him. He’s twice the size of me and makes me look thin.”

• To donate to the fundraiser for the Koram Centre log onto justgiving.com and search for ‘Ballycolman Games’. Or to have a laugh at Strabatman and Robo’s antics, check out the full movie on the Strabanter Facebook page.
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