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Jenna Coughlan, Sadhbh Geary, Nicole Griffin, Aoibhin Keane, Caoimhe McMahon and Aoife O'Rourke of the Ballynacally Lissycasey U12 Girls Relay Team. Photographs by Natasha Barton

GALLERY: Great spirit at Clare Community Games in the sunshine

St Francis Credit Union Clare Community Games held their Annual County Athletic Finals on Saturday in glorious sunshine in John O’Sullivan Park, Lees Road, Ennis, writes Mary Phelan.

Over 600 children from 24 areas across the county participated in Relays and Track and Field events. At the opening ceremony, where all the competitors and their mentors assembled on the track, Chairperson Paula Byrne O’Connell welcomed everyone to the first proper County Athletic Finals in three years.

She welcomed Mayor of Clare Tony O’Brien, President of Clare Community Games Mrs Cecilia O’Sullivan, the County executive committee, all the volunteers at area and county level who give so much time and energy for the children of Clare. Without these volunteers there would be no community games.

She thanked Clare County Council and the caretaker at John O’Sullivan Park for the wonderful facility to host the finals. She also thanked the parents and children for turning up on such a warm day.

She went on to wish all the competitors the very best and hoped they would have a very enjoyable experience. She paid a special tribute to members of the Community Games family who have passed away and all those who have lost a loved one over the last few years.

Mayor Tony O’Brien praised all the volunteers across the county who give so much to enable the children of Clare to participate in such a wide variety of events.

He said Clare County Council were always glad to support Clare Community Games in any way they can. He wished all the participants success today and in the future.

The Community Games Pledge was read in Irish by youth volunteer Sinead Murray from Quin/Clooney and in English by participant in 1500m Caoimhe Byrne O’Connell from Lisdoonvarna, Amhrán na bhFiann was sung splendidly by winner of the Community Games U-16 Singing competition Siofra Hogan from Ballynacally/Lissycasey.

The Community Games torch was lit by Mayor Tony O’Brien from past competitor Dean Casey who did a lap of the track with the torch to loud applause from both adults and children.

Dean, of Ennis Track/ Ireland Junior, is National Record holder at 10,000m, 3,000m and 5,000m. He is heading to Columbia for the upcoming U-20 World Championships where he has qualified to run in both the 3,000m and 5,000m. The Chairperson then declared the games opened.

The competition standard was extremely high with some very close finishes on the day. Good friendly rivalry was in evidence and the best of luck to all going forward.

The first four placed in individual Track events will qualify for the Munster Regional finals which will be held in John O’Sullivan Park, Lees Road on Saturday July 23 while the first two in Field events will go forward to the National finals in Carlow in August as will the first in each Relay.

Munster Regional Finals

Sat 23rd July – John O’Sullivan Park, Lees Road @ 9am
Soccer U15 Girls
10th August TBC – Kilmihil
Soccer U12 Girls
10th August TBC – Kilmihil
Soccer U12 Boys
15th-17th August,
Sat 13th August
O’Garney Park, Sixmilebridge Registration 9.30am for 10am
Rounders Sat 20th August
Cappalodge GAA Pitch,
Sixmilebridge. Registration 9.30am

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