Croí, the Heart and Stroke Charity, Collaborates with Mayo GAA

Pictured at the launch of the Croí – Mayo GAA Collaboration from back left to right: Fran Downey, Chairperson Mayo GAA Health & Wellbeing Committee; Laurence Gaughan, Mayo GAA Health & Wellbeing Committee; Noreen Johnston, Mayo GAA Health & Wellbeing Committee; and Paul Cunnane, Croí Third Age Mayo Project Coordinator. Front left to right: Dr. Lisa Hynes, Croí Head of Health Programmes; Seamus Tuohy, Chairperson Mayo GAA; and Pat O’Donnell, Mayo GAA Health & Wellbeing Committee.

Croí to work with GAA clubs across Mayo to help promote better heart health


Croí, the heart and stroke charity, is delighted to collaborate with Mayo GAA’s Health and Wellbeing committee to develop programmes and events to help GAA club members in Mayo better manage their cardiovascular health.

The collaboration will see both organisations working closely over the coming months in conjunction with the clubs of Mayo to ensure their members become more aware of the risk factors of heart disease and stroke and the role they can play to become more proactive in managing their heart health.

Commenting on the initiative, Mayo GAA chairperson, Seamus Tuohy saidThe physical health and wellbeing of all our members is very important to us. It is not just the people on the pitch we need to look after but also the coaches, club officers, volunteers and supporters involved in our clubs. GAA clubs play a vital role in our communities and this initiative will really help put a spotlight on people’s cardiovascular health.

We are delighted to work with Croí on this initiative. Croí offer much-needed services to people right across the West of Ireland and I am sure this partnership will help to continue to promote the Croí message of “Own It, Check It, Sort It” when it comes to people’s heart health.

Fran Downey, Mayo GAA Health and Wellbeing Chairperson, commentedMayo GAA is committed to promoting health and wellbeing to its members, clubs and wider community ensuring everyone benefits in a health-enhancing way.

Working alongside Croí, whose values reflect those of the association, enables us to extend the support for clubs and the wider community by delivering evidence-based initiatives and raising awareness around wellness and cardiovascular health. It provides us with the opportunity to promote the importance of health through the lifelong participation of all our members. We are currently working on specific projects and are excited to offer these out to the local GAA Club and promote them as health hubs in the heart of every community.

Croí’s Head of Health Programmes, Dr Lisa Hynes, added “This collaboration allows us to promote and support the cardiovascular health and well-being of GAA club members right across Mayo.

Our vision is to develop a culture in County Mayo where promoting cardiovascular health and well-being is a priority for the population, with a particular emphasis on healthy ageing for those over the age of 55. We look forward to working with the Mayo GAA Heath & Wellbeing committee to roll out programmes and events to benefit their members and impact positively on their communities. We are very thankful to Mayo GAA for supporting us on the initiative.

Croí Partners with Barbers in Ballina to Raise Awareness of the Risks of High Blood Pressure

There’s only one way to know if you have high blood pressure: Measure it!

A trip to the barbers could have you looking and feeling better thanks to Croí, the heart and stroke charity, and the barbers of Ballina. To coincide with Men’s Health Week from June 13th – 19th Croí is collaborating with barbers and pharmacies in Ballina to raise awareness of the importance of regular blood pressure checks and managing high blood pressure.

Having your blood pressure measured is quick and easy!

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a sign that the heart and blood vessels are being overworked which in turn increases your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. Croí encourages men this Men’s Health Week to know their numbers and visit their local pharmacy for a blood pressure check.

During Men’s Health Week, customers to the participating barbers in Ballina will receive information on the importance of blood pressure checks along with a list of pharmacies in the town offering free blood pressure checks. Participating barbers in Ballina include Nikki’s Barbers, Amanda’s Barbers, Lewy’s Barber Lounge, Kev’s Kutz, Gabby’s Turkish Barber, O’Rourkes Barbers, Hallahan’s Barbers and Ricky’s Barbers.

Commenting on the initiative, Croí’s Head of Health Programmes, Dr Lisa Hynes, said:We want the people of Mayo to become more aware of their cardiovascular health and this campaign during Men’s Health Week really allows us to do that in a very focused environment. 38% of men in Ireland are living with high blood pressure and we want to do all we can to reduce this number. After all, getting your blood pressure checked is quicker than getting your hair cut and it could save your life!

The participating pharmacies in Ballina include Molloy’s (Bunree Road), Molloy’s (Garden Street), Kilroy’s (Emmet Street) and McKane’s (O’Rahilly Street).

For more information visit Follow Croí on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @croiheartstroke.

Click to enlarge/download
“This Men’s Health Week take just a few minutes to visit your local pharmacy and get your blood pressure checked, it’s quicker than getting your hair cut. Own it, check it and sort it!”, says former Mayo GAA footballer, Liam McHale, pictured with Nikki Galvin from Nikki’s Barbers in Ballina and Paul Cunnane, Croí Third Age Mayo Project Coordinator.

Take your health to heart this June with Croí’s Mayo Health Fairs

See for more information

Croí, the heart and stroke charity, is hitting the road this June with heart health fairs in four locations across Mayo – Castlebar, Mulranny, Swinford and Ballina. Attend a free health fair to meet the Croí Health Team and get your blood pressure checked, get your heart health questions answered by experts, participate in interactive sessions, and meet with active community groups in your area.

The Croí Health Team and community partners will be in Castlebar Mitchels GAA club on June 2nd from 1 pm, The Mulranny Park Hotel on June 7th from 11 am, The Gateway Hotel, Swinford on June 9th from 11 am and Ballina Stephenties GAA club on June 14th from 1 pm.

The Castlebar and Ballina health fairs will commence with a free blood pressure check event at 1 pm and run until 6.30 pm. At 7 pm in both locations, there will be a free public talk on the importance of healthy ageing, with a focus on managing high blood pressure. The Mulranny and Swinford events will commence with a free blood pressure check event at 11 am and conclude at 4 pm.

All four health fairs will have participation from local community groups who will have stands and information on the services they offer in those areas. There will be educational talks and practical demonstrations conducted by members of the Croí Health Team and community groups.

All those who attend and get their blood pressure measured will be entered into a draw to win one of two Garmin smartwatches! Refreshments will also be available at all four locations.

We are thrilled to once again be back in the Mayo community to raise awareness of heart health. We have an exciting lineup of talks and demonstrations planned for these four health fairs and we are delighted to collaborate with a host of community groups from across Mayo. Throughout 2022, the Croí Third Age Mayo Programme is putting a spotlight on high blood pressure – early detection is key and will save lives”, says Dr Lisa Hynes, Croí’s Head of Health Programmes.

For more details on the Croí Mayo Health Fairs, including a list of participating community groups, please visit or call Croí on 091-544310.

Croí Webinar – Expert advice on living with atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)

Are you, or a loved one, living with atrial fibrillation? Join Croí, the Heart & Stroke Charity, and leading experts for an interactive webinar to learn how to manage this heart condition. The free webinar takes place online using Zoom on Thursday, June 9th, from 7 –8 pm.

Register now and submit your questions for the experts at, or call Croí on 091-544310. Don’t miss this special event!

Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) is the name for the most common type of irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). If you are living with AFib, it means that your heart beats in a disorganised way. This chaotic activity leads to an irregular, and usually fast, pulse rate which may cause palpitations and increase the risk of having a stroke, heart failure or other heart-related complications.

The interactive panel will address your questions on AFib, including signs and symptoms, steps to diagnosis, living with AFib, and management and treatment options. Experts on the night include Dr Niamh Hannon, Consultant in Stroke and Geriatric Medicine, University Hospital Galway; Dr John Keaney, Consultant Cardiologist, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and Honorary Clinical Lecturer, UCD School of Health Sciences; and Ed Cherry, who will represent the patient voice by sharing his experience of AFib, from symptoms to diagnosis and treatment. The webinar will be hosted by Trish Galvin, Advanced Practice Nurse – Stroke, University Hospital Galway, with opportunities for attendees to ask their questions to the panel.

Atrial fibrillation is not immediately life-threatening in the same way as some irregular heartbeats are. Most people are able to live full and active lives with AFib. You can do this by taking your prescribed medication, following the medical advice you received from your doctor, having regular medical check-ups and making positive lifestyle changes”, says Dr Lisa Hynes, Croí’s Head of Health Programmes.

Register now at, or call Croí on 091-544310.

The event is supported by Johnson & Johnson.

Fuelling Your Croí Cycle

The countdown is on until the Croí Corrib Charity Cycle on June 12th! Fuelling for your cycle is of utmost importance so we have some tips from our Croí Dietitian, Aisling Harris, below.

Eating well for physical activity and sport can have many benefits including:

  • Allowing you to perform well in your chosen sport or activity;
  • Reducing the risk of injury and illness;
  • Ensuring the best recovery after exercise or a training programme.

A healthy diet for sport and exercise should contain plenty of starchy foods, plenty of fruit and vegetables, some protein foods and some dairy foods. It is also very important to stay hydrated.


The main role of carbohydrates is to provide energy.

When they are digested, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose to provide readily available energy for the body to use quickly and effectively. Carbohydrates are the most important form of fuel for exercise and sports activities. Starchy foods are an important source of carbohydrates in our diet. Starchy foods, especially high fibre varieties, provide a slower release of energy and take longer to digest so it’s a good idea to include some in every meal. Wholegrain varieties also provide fibre, which is important for digestive health, and a range of vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, iron, calcium and folate. We store small amounts of carbohydrates as glycogen in our muscles but use this use up during exercise. Therefore, it is important to replenish your glycogen stores after your workout so that your levels are topped up for your next session. Try to have a source of carbohydrates with your main meals. Additionally, high carbohydrate snacks such as a slice of bread with jam, a cereal bar or a banana and yoghurt are good snacks to have before or during a long training session.

Good sources of carbohydrates in the diet include:

  • Wholegrain bread
  • Breakfast cereals and porridge oats
  • Pasta and noodles
  • Rice
  • Couscous
  • Potatoes (with skins) and other starchy vegetables, e.g. sweetcorn
  • Beans and pulses


Protein is also important for health and physical activity. The main role of protein in the body is for growth, repair and maintenance of body cells and tissues, such as muscle.

Different foods contain different amounts and different combinations of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). Essential amino acids are those that the body cannot make itself and so are needed from the diet. The full range of essential amino acids needed by the body (high protein quality) is found in:

  • Animal sources – meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese and yoghurt.
  • Plant sources – beans, pulses, soy, tofu, and plant-based meat alternatives
  • Most vegans get enough protein from their diets, but it is important to consume a variety of plant proteins to ensure enough essential amino acids are included.
  • Consuming a healthy, varied, diet containing nutrient-dense foods will ensure you get enough protein without the use of protein supplements or special high-protein eating strategies, even if your needs are a little higher. Try and spread your protein intake throughout the day.


Fat is an essential nutrient for the body but it is also a rich source of energy. Fats in foods typically contain a mixture of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids but choosing foods which contain higher amounts of unsaturated fat and less saturated fat is preferable. Most of us eat too much saturated fat so to cut back on intake limit foods such as:

  • Pastries, cakes and puddings
  • Chocolate and biscuits
  • Some savoury snacks
  • Cream, coconut cream and ice-cream
  • Butter, lard, ghee, suet, palm oil and coconut oil
  • Processed meats like sausages, ham, burgers and fatty cuts of meat
  • Fried foods including fried chips

Replacing saturated fat with some monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Good sources of these fats include vegetable oils such as olive, rapeseed and sunflower oils, avocados, nuts and seeds and oily fish, e.g. mackerel, salmon and sardines.

How to stay well hydrated

Sufficient fluid intake is essential for exercise and optimum recovery. Exercising causes the body to get warmer so the body tries to cool down by sweating. This causes the loss of water and salts through the skin.

The amount an individual sweats varies from person to person and depends on:

  • Intensity and duration – longer and higher intensity exercise can cause greater sweat loss
  • Environmental temperature – in hot, humid conditions sweat loss can increase
  • Clothing – the more clothing that is worn, the quicker you are likely to heat up which may cause greater sweat loss
  • Genetics – some people are just more likely to sweat than others

Generally, the more a person sweats, the more they will need to drink.

Small water losses are not harmful. However, dehydration can cause tiredness and hinder performance by reducing strength and aerobic capacity (especially in longer duration exercise), as well as having a negative effect on any further exercise sessions. Try and stay hydrated before, during and after exercise to prevent dehydration – water is generally best but sports drinks can be useful in certain situations, particularly long exercise sessions or sessions where you will sweat a lot as these drinks will help replace electrolytes lost in sweat. Always practice your nutrition and hydration strategy during your training sessions as opposed to race day to see how your body adapts.

Content adapted from the British Nutrition Foundation

Croí Webinar – Living Well with Heart Failure

Register now at or call Croí on 091-544310

Are you, or a loved one, living with heart failure? Join Croí, the Heart & Stroke Charity, and leading experts, for a webinar to learn how to manage the condition. This free webinar takes place online using Zoom on Thursday, May 26th, from 7 – 8 pm.

Expert guest speakers on the night will include Dr John Barton, Heart Failure Consultant, Galway University Hospitals; Emer Burke, Advanced Nurse Practitioner (Heart Failure Integrated Care), Galway University Hospitals; and Ian Burnett, who is living with heart failure and will share his patient perspective. The special guest moderator on the night will be Aistė Štaraitė, a heart failure patient and Chair of the Global Heart Hub Heart Failure Patient Council, of which Croí is a founding Affiliate.

The interactive panel discussion will address your questions about living with heart failure.

Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood around the body as well as it should. It does not mean that the heart has stopped working, but it means that the body is not getting the oxygen and nutrients that it needs to function normally.

Heart Failure is a serious chronic condition, but it doesn’t have to stop you from living. There are lots of things that you can do to help manage your condition, including medical treatments, adjusting your lifestyle, and self-management”, says Dr Lisa Hynes, Croí’s Head of Health Programmes.

This event is in recognition of International Heart Failure Awareness Week (May 9th – 15th). Register now and submit your questions at, or call Croí on 091-544310. Don’t miss this special event!

Croí teams up with pharmacies across Mayo to offer free blood pressure checks for the month of May

Own it, Check it and Sort it with May Measurement Month
as part of Croí’s Third Age Mayo Programme

Did you know that uncontrolled high blood pressure can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke? The Croí Third Age Mayo programme, which aims to promote healthy cardiovascular ageing, is delighted to partner with local pharmacies across Mayo for the month of May to offer free blood pressure checks to anyone who has not had their blood pressure checked in the past year, with a particular focus on those over 55 years of age.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, occurs when the force of the blood flowing through your blood vessels is consistently too high. This causes many harmful effects on the body and if left untreated can significantly increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure typically has no symptoms – the only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly (at least once a year).

We’re delighted to be back in Mayo this year following the success of last year’s May Measurement Month campaign. The prevalence of high blood pressure in Ireland, particularly for people over the age of 55, is startling. At last year’s blood pressure measurement event in Mayo, 51% of people had elevated blood pressure, and only 37% of people taking medication for high blood pressure had a reading that was under the recommended level. Early detection is key and will save lives”, says Dr Lisa Hynes, Croí’s Head of Health Programmes.

From May 3rd – to 31st, over 30 pharmacies across Mayo will be participating in this initiative. Visit one of the participating pharmacies for your free blood pressure check and ‘Own it, Check it, Sort it!’. For the latest list of participating pharmacies, please visit

New Croí ‘My Blood Pressure’ Programme
Members of the public found to have high blood pressure will be offered information and advice, as well as the opportunity to take part in a free Croí blood pressure management programme delivered by the Croí multi-disciplinary health team.

The participating pharmacies include:

Achill – Molloy’s; Balla – Life Pharmacy; Ballaghaderreen – Molloy’s; Ballina – Molloy’s (Bunree Road), Molloy’s (Garden Street), Kilroy’s, McKane’s; Ballinrobe – Hynes; Ballyhaunis – Curley’s; Bangor Erris  – Lavelle’s; Belmullet – Lavelle’s, McCormack’s; Castlebar – O’Donnell’s, MacAuliffe’s, Treacy’s, Staunton’s; Charlestown – Colleran’s; Claremorris – Haven Pharmacy, Aran Health Pharmacy; Cong – Cong Pharmacy; Crossmolina – Molloy’s, Quinn’s; Foxford – Heneghans; Kilkelly – Life Pharmacy; Killala – Lavelle’s; Kiltimagh – Heneghans; Knock – Life Pharmacy; Louisburgh – Staunton’s; Swinford – O’Connell’s; Westport – O’Connell’s, O’Donnell’s, McVann’s, Treacy’s.

Living Well with Cardiovascular Disease – Managing Your High Blood Pressure

Register at or call Croí on 091-544310

Are you, or a loved one, living with high blood pressure? Join Croí, the Heart & Stroke Charity, and leading experts for a webinar to learn how to manage your high blood pressure. The free webinar takes place online via Zoom on Thursday, April 28th from 7 – 8 pm.

Expert guest speakers on the night include Prof Andrew Murphy, GP and Professor of General Practice, NUI Galway; and Eoin Keating, Physiotherapist. The interactive panel discussion will address your questions on living with high blood pressure. This event is in recognition of World Hypertension Day on May 17th.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. It’s startling to know that Ireland has one of the highest rates of high blood pressure internationally, but among the lowest levels of diagnosis, treatment and control of the condition. Join us and connect with the experts at this free Croí webinar”, says Dr Lisa Hynes, Croí’s Head of Health Programmes.

Register now and submit your questions at, or call Croí on 091-544310. Don’t miss this special event!

Five Things You Should Know in Taking Control of Your Blood Pressure
  1. Be informed – High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, happens when the force of the blood flowing through your blood vessels is too high. Left untreated, it can significantly increase the risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
  2. Get checked out – Known as a silent killer, high blood pressure usually has no symptoms. So, the only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked out.
  3. Know your pressure – You should have your blood pressure checked at least once a year. The recommended target level for blood pressure is <140/90 mmHg, however, if you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or have previously had a stroke, you may be prescribed a lower target.
  4. Minimise the risks – There are steps you can take to lower blood pressure, such as maintaining a healthy weight and becoming more physically active, stopping smoking, avoiding added salt, drinking alcohol in moderation, increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables, and learning ways to cope with stress.
  5. You can be treated – If lifestyle measures on their own are not effective in keeping your blood pressure under control, then you may need to take prescribed medications in addition. These are usually for the rest of your life.