Co. Tipperary HSE Community Games
Athlone was a buzz with excitement and expectations over the two weekends of the HSE Community Games National Finals. Following a very successful festival in May, everyone was looking forward to excellent competition and enjoyment for the supporters and children attending. For some it was a first visit to the new venue, and for others it was a return journey to Athlone Institute of Technology. It was also the first time that a lot of participants would have been awarded the new HSE National Community Games pewter medal for 4th place.
The weekends got off to a fine start on Friday evening, with a very colourful and exceptional parade. The atmosphere was electric and the venue, Athlone Institute of Technology, was a hype of activity and fun. Unfortunately weather conditions were mixed for the vast number of children participating in the track and field events with the Tag Rugby and Camogie finals being deferred for a future date. All the Co. Tipperary competitors were determined to give of their best and there is a potential future Olympian among them. None more so than Michael O’Loughlin from Carrick on Suir who won the Boys U-14 2km cycling on grass event by a comprehensive margin. The Girls U-12 team from St. Peter’s & Paul’s of Clonmel retained their Skittles crown, beating Monaghan 228 to 271 in the semi-final and Sligo 157 to 315 in the Final. In the swimming events Meadbh Meehan Grey from Thurles finished 2nd in her Breaststroke heat to qualify for the semi-final and Sinead Compton from Ballinahinch/Killoscully won her heat of the Butterfly, came 3rd in her semi-final and just finished outside the medals in an extremely competitive final.
In the boy’s field events, local boy Dan Finnerty from Ballina qualified for the final of the U-16 Discus where he eventually finished in 6th place. Dan is following in his father Dennis’ footsteps by representing Co. Tipperary at National level in Community Games. Dan was the County’s first Discus thrower at the new venue of AIT, while his father Dennis was Tipperary’s first Hurdler at what was then the new venue of Mosney 35years ago. On the track Darragh Shelly of Grangemockler finished 3rd in the U-12 100m with Darren Prout of Ballingarry 4th in the U-14 Hurdles and received the new 4th place pewter medal. Jack Fallon from Moycarkey/Borris who qualified for the semi-final of the U-10 200m was unlucky not to make it through to the final, however, this is Jack’s first year at U-10 which would signify his potential for next year. Tom Hennessey from Ballinahinch/Killoscully was 4th in his semi-final of the U-14 800m and qualified for the final where he finished strongly. Alan Ryan of Tipperary Town was unlucky to finish outside the medals in the U-16 1500m. The U-14 4x100m relay team from Silvermines who were coached by local stalwart Sean Finn qualified for the semi-final where they ran very well.
Nenagh girl Olivia Moylan had a very busy weekend running in both the U-10 100m and 4x100m mixed relay. Despite finishing very strongly in her individual 100m race Olivia was very unlucky not to come home with a medal. The U-10 4x100m mixed relay of Alannah Deering, Ronan Costello, Matthew Hodgins, Brona O’Sullivan and Eoin Coffey from Nenagh with whom Olivia ran made it to the semi-final. U-8 60m athlete Louise Fallon from Mullinahone also made it to the Final as did Laura O’Dwyer of Tipperary Town in the U-10 200m. The girls U-12 relay team of Amy White, Faith Quigley, Maeve Coffey, Hazel Coffey, Laura Costello and Aoife Deering came 4th in their heat to qualify for the semi-final. Our U-16 relay team from Newport had a fantastic series of runs and showed their experience to finish in 5th place in an extremely competitive race. The girls were delighted with their finishing. Sinead Buckley from Annacarty came 3rd in the U-12 Ball Throw. Clodagh Fitzgerald from Carrick on Suir who is coached by County Manager and internationally recognised coach Emby Walsh qualified for the final. Claire Hogan from St. Flannan’s finished 9th in the U-16 Javelin final.
Tipperary were also represented on the Official side by Mick England (Roscrea) who co-ordinated the Shot Putt, Discus and Javelin Finals, Richard Fogarty Gortnahoe/Glengoole who officiated at the High Jump & Long Jump. Enda Mullally (Roscrea), Ann-Marie Hayes & Laura Healy all worked tirelessly on the gate and Corina Kennedy also from Roscrea with the Finance committee.