June 8, 2023

Kilkenny kids compete in Community Games All-Ireland Finals

Sinéad Connolly

UP TO 50 children from Kilkenny are among the 1,500 taking part in the Community Games All-Ireland Finals this weekend.

The finals, sponsored by Aldi, are taking place in UL and includes categories such as art, gymnastics, talent, quiz and handball. The All-Ireland Festival in August will feature competitions in a range of sports, including athletics, hurling, football and other field events.

With just 11 local communities registered with the Community Games, Kilkenny has the least number of parishes taking part in this weekend’s event.

Chairperson of the Kilkenny Community Games, John O’Shea, told KilkennyNow.ie: “The way the Community Games is organised is that each parish or area is affiliated to the Community Games in Kilkenny. Unfortunately, not every area in the county is affiliated so there are kids in the county who can’t compete which is not what we would like.”

John is urging communities to join the games so that young people in their area can benefit from positive, active and sociable events.

He believes healthy pastimes and friendly competition can have a positive effect on young people’s confidence and well-being and bring communities together.

John added: “Now more than ever we young people to realise the benefits of being active at an early age because if they don’t start young it’s very hard when they get into adulthood. And they suddenly realise they need to do some exercise and its harder at that stage. Once they start at a young age in these fun activities it makes a difference. Particularly for the kids who may not be overly active, it encourages them to get out and do a few different events that they may not be able to do through the schools.”

The Community Games was founded in 1967 to offer young people the opportunity to participate in healthy and productive activities. Even though children are competing against each other, the focus is on participation rather than winning.

In order to compete in the community games, an area must set up their own committee in order to put forward competitors for the regional and national events.

“It’s a question of having a few parents who are willing to step up to the plate and help out. That’s the problem for Kilkenny, we don’t have huge participation compared to some other counties. It’s like any every other club or organisation you do have to be prepared to put some bit of time into it but the rewards for the kids is great,” John adds.

The only area to join the Kilkenny Community games this year was Goresbridge. John and the Kilkenny Committee were delighted to welcome them and urge more communities to get involved.

Now part of the Community Games family, Goresbridge hosted the Community Games Talent Show back in April. Three winners from Goresbridge, Charlotte and Isabelle Connolly, and Emily Donohoe will represent Kilkenny in Singing categories this weekend.

Other participants from Kilkenny include Nina Rebi who will be defending her gold medal from 2018 in the U16 Arts category. Rachel O’Shea will be competing in Solo Dance having won gold and silver in the last two years.

John is asking is asking all the communities in Kilkenny who are not already involved with the Community Games to get involved and let their children and community reap the benefits.

“Any of the kids that have gone, and those that win any medals, it definitely helps their confidence. I would say that any kids that have ever been to the national finals, whether they have gotten a medal or not, they all got great experiences from it,” John adds.

For more information about the Community Games, phone John on 087 246 6595 or email jfoshearacing@gmail.com

PHOTOS: Main picture – Charlotte and Isabelle Connolly, who are representing Goresbridge at UL this weekend.
Bottom picture: Rachel O’Shea competing in Solo Dance, having won Gold and Silver over the last two years.

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