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Kenny with his parents Peter and Mary, his sister Suzanne, her husband Paul and their children Darragh and Eirla at the dedication of the sports hall

Sarsfield Barracks sports hall named for Crusheen’s Kenny

Ennis College Further Education

A SPORTS hall in a newly built complex at Sarsfield Army Barracks in Limerick has been named after Crusheen man Kenny Rodgers, a member of the Defence Forces for the last 17 years and a hugely accomplished athlete. 

Members of Kenny’s family were invited to the Barracks last Friday for an event honouring him.

In a statement the Defence Forces lauded the contribution Kenny has made over the course of his career.

“Private Kenny Rodgers joined the Defence Forces in 2005 and has served his whole career in the 12th Infantry  Battalion between Clonmel and Sarsfield Barracks, Limerick. 

“Pte Rodgers is a renowned runner, having won the An Cosantóir 10km Road Race 9 times as well as one virtually held edition in 2021.

Kenny served overseas in Kosovo and Chad between 2008 and 2010. Unwilling to stagnate as an athlete, Kenny completed an exercise and fitness course in 2015.

This course enabled Kenny to work in the 12th Infantry Battalion gym, and help other soldiers in their physical training. 

“Where Kenny helps his peers most though is his sunny disposition and eternal optimism. Irrespective of how comparatively slow we are in comparison to Kenny- he will always make us feel like a top athlete like himself. He is the most humble person one could hope to meet, despite all his success.”

Regarding the naming of the hall, it added, “On Friday 29 July 2022 Kenny was called away from the gym to do some tasks. When he returned, he was given a rousing round of applause by all the soldiers in the battalion who were lined up outside the entrance to the gym.

“Waiting outside the sports hall were Kenny’s parents Peter and Mary, his sister Suzanne, her husband Paul and their children Darragh and Eirla. Lieutenant Colonel Cathal Keohane, Officer Commanding 12th Infantry Battalion gave a speech outlining Kenny’s incredible achievements both professionally and athletically, and during the speech a plaque was fixed to the wall bearing the name ‘Rodgers Hall’. 

“Kenny then cut the ribbons and entered the hall that bears his name. This will serve as a reminder to future soldiers in the 12 Infantry Battalion of the great athlete and even greater man that Private Kenny Rodgers is.”

Speaking to the Clare Champion, Kenny said he was left stunned on the day.

“I was sent over to the office for a while and when I came back I still didn’t know anything was happening.

“All of the lads were there, my parents were there, my sister and brother in law, it was a complete shock!”

He had a certain amount of interest in fitness by the time he joined the army, but he only really began running while serving abroad.

“When I got into running it was my first trip overseas. I was 21 and I went to Kosovo. It was in the winter and over there you had no driving home in the evening, so I said I’d go over to the gym in the evenings and start doing a bit of running. It all kind of started from there.”

As time went by his preparation become more focused and scientific and his love of it deepened.

“I remember when I came back I did my first race, it was the Lissycasey 5k. I was getting into it, but it took so long to learn how to train properly, to do the right training and stuff like that. It’s kind of like addiction now,” he laughs. 

Owen Ryan
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Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

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