Community Games 1996

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Over fifty athletes from the parish of Athenry took part in the County Galway Community Games at the Galway Sports Centre.

The heats and semi-finals were held on the first Sunday in July. All the athletes were in top form qualifying for the finals two weeks later with some outstanding performances especially from the relay teams.

On July 14th our athletes and their supporters again set off for the sports ground. All the events were keenly contested but the Athenry athletes were among those in the medals in most of the events. The Boys under 17  Relay Team had a convincing win and qualified for Mosney. The team were Michael O’Grady, Newcastle; Cormac Brady, Park; Dennis Cronin Carnaun; and Niall O’Brien, Ballinloughane. Nicola Ruddy, Coldwood set the ball rolling, wining the Girls Under-14, 800m. Running with class and experience she was a worthy gold medal winner. Later on Sharon Fahy, Tysaxon although up against quality opposition had a fine run and was a clear winner of the Girls Under-16, 1500m. In the Boys Under-16 High Jump, Niall O’Brien, Ballinloughane was an easy winner of the gold. Other medal winners on the day included Eimear MacNamara, Park  bronze in the Under-14 600m.; Fiona Coffey, Ballinloughane, bronze in the Under-12 100m. and Aileen MacNamara, bronze in the Under-16 100m.

The final events of the day were the relays. Our young relay teams waited with anxiety and expectation for their events. The Girls Under-12 were the first on the track with teams from Ballinasloe, Woodford and a very fancied Westside team. On the final leg Westside and Athenry ran their hearts out but it was the Athenry girls who showed great class and determination to take the gold in what was probably the “Race of the Day”. The winning team were: Anne O’Grady, Newcasatle; Eimear MacNamara, Park; Krystal Ruddy, Coldwood; Fiona Page, Derrydonnell and Fiona Coffey, Ballinloughane. The Girls Under-17 won bronze. The team was Sharon Fahy and Grainne Fahy, Tysaxon; Aileen MacNamara, Park; Riona Burke, Newcastle; and Joanne Page, Derrydonnell.

At the National Finals in Mosney, in early September, the Under-12 Girls did us proud. The Athenry Girls Under-12 relay team; Fiona Coffey, Anne O’Grady, Eimear MacNamara, Krystal Ruddy and Fiona Page representing Athenry and Galway acquitted themselves and their county with great pride. Athenry, although drawn against stiff opposition  which included counties; Dublin, Cork, Clare, Meath, Carlow, Kerry and Leitrim in their heat, which was the first event of the finals at 9am on Saturday, came away with an easy win and a smile on their faces.

On Saturday afternoon the girls again took to the track. The outcome of this semi-final could mean a place in the final. At this stage the girls were very nervous and tense. In this race they again showed courage and ability to win the semi-final and advance to a run in the final. On Sunday afternoon the relay finals took place with the Under-12s again first on the track. On this occasion Athenry had to be content with fourth place and their prize, a National Certificate, was accepted with smiles from some, tears from others, and disappointment on what might have been but also with the realization that fourth in Ireland was indeed a high honour.

In the Girls under-16 1500m Sharon Fahy represented Galway. On this occasion, Sharon did not do herself justice. Nicola Ruddy ran in the Under-14 800m and acquitted herself well. In the Boys Under-17 Relay, Athenry also represented Galway. This team consisted of Niall O’Brien, Michael O’Grady, Cormac Brady and Denis Cronin. After a good run they went out in the heats. In the Boys Under-16 High Jump Niall O’Brien finished 8th, a credible performance.

It was a great weekend with great performances. On our arrival home the participants were welcomed home by members of the local committee, children and parents. Afterwards they were treated to a meal and refreshments at the New Park Hotel – A great conclusion to a magnificent weekend!

Feature Photo – Tom Page receives an award, for his years of dedication to Athenry Juvenile Athletic club, from Paul Hession at a function in the New Park Hotel, Athenry. Also in the photo is Dermot McNamara and Mary Kelly, October 2007.

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About this record

Written by Tom Page

Published here 08 Feb 2021 and originally published December 1996

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