Ballinagare Health and Fitness: At the heart of the community!

Ballinagare Health and Fitness offers fitness classes, personal training, and activities for people of all ages and abilities. This week, Manager Shane McDermott (32) told Roscommon People reporter Dan Dooner how the facility has become an important hub in the local community.

DD: Shane, tell us how you came to be involved in Ballinagare Health and Fitness?

SMcD: I’m originally from Elphin and started here in 2019 as a fitness instructor after coming back from five years in Finland and two years in Kenya.

DD: What brought you to Finland and Kenya?

SMcD: I was in Finland as part of Erasmus in college and went back there afterwards to work with local soccer clubs like FC Komeetat and JJK Jyvaskyla and the city council. I did my Masters degree in Finland and through a classmate ended up working with football and rugby clubs in Kenya.

DD: Wow! Tell me about returning to Ireland to work with Ballinagare Health and Fitness.

SMcD: My first six months were normal enough and then Covid-19 broke out. That was challenging but we spent the lockdowns doing Zoom classes and painting and decorating the centre to freshen it up for reopening.

DD: What kind of classes can members avail of here?

SMcD: We have a variety of classes for all ages and abilities and during our off-peak hours (11.30 am to 5.30 pm) we offer one to one personal training. Members and local groups such as the Brothers of Charity are already availing of this. It’s mainly for people in the locality but we have people dropping in from as far away as places like Boyle and Carrick too. We recently hosted a welcome party for Ukrainian families who recently arrived in Ballinagare and it would be great to see them making use of the facilities here. Sport can bring people together.

DD: The centre is obviously busy. What does a normal week look like?  

SMcD: We have classes Monday to Friday at 6.15 am, 7.15 am, 10.30 am, 6 pm, 7.15 pm and 8.15 pm. At the moment we are running an Operation Transformation programme over nine weeks. We also have classes such as ‘Legs, Bums and Tums’, mobility classes, spinning, weight training, kettlebells, and Body Pump. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we have our ‘Go For Life’ classes aimed at the older generation. This varies from week to week but includes light exercise and activities such as badminton.

DD: And you have classes for the younger generation too?

SMcD: Yeah, on Monday and Wednesday there are classes for 4 to 8 year olds. We do activities such as sports and also arts and crafts around Christmas and Halloween. On Tuesday and Thursday we have older kids (9+) and they take part in sports such as Gaelic football, soccer, basketball, dodgeball, touch rugby etc.

DD: And the facility is also available for team training?

SMcD: Yes, I’m currently doing the Strength and Conditioning for the Roscommon Minors and Ladies footballers and the hall is available for other teams too. These team sessions (Gaelic, soccer and basketball) in the hall or on the AstroTurf can be taken by one of our staff members who are fully qualified and passionate about training and coaching.

Our AstroTurf costs €60 with floodlights and €50 without. Our opening hours are 6 am to 10 pm Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4 pm on Saturdays, and 9 am to 3 pm on Sundays. Contact us on 094-9870777 for further details.