PJW Nally (1856-1891), after whom the Nally Stand in Croke Park is named, was born at Rockstown House, near Balla. He organised two National Athletic events in Balla, providing part of the impetus for the establishment of the G.A.A. in 1884.
Nally held strong Fenian views and in the late 1870s became a leading organiser of the Irish Republican Brotherhood in Connaught. His Fenian activities forced him on the run in 1880. After two years in England, he returned but was arrested in 1883 for his involvement in the ‘’Crosmolina conspiracy’’.
Nally was sentenced to 10 years penal servitude. For good conduct, he was due early release from prison, but just 16 days before his release, he died in Mountjoy jail. The death was recorded as typhoid fever, but it was widely believed that he was a victim of foul play. A Celtic Cross to his memory stands in the centre of the village.