All Ireland Community Games Finals

23 Aug 2008


It was an eventful weekend on the athletics front. Accompanied by Jackie and Louise I headed for Dublin on Friday evening and met up with a large contingent of young club athletes and parents for an overnight stay in Bewleys.


Entering Mosney, for Day one of the  2nd  weekend of the  Community Games at 8.15 on the Saturday morning, I was reminded of all the occasions during the past thirty years that this sporting spectacle motivated youngsters and their coaches/parents. Would this weekend, the final time that the event will be hosted in the former holiday camp, be an enjoyable and successful one for the local Tír Chonaill and Donegal athletes.


The crowds, the colour, the superb organisation and the atmosphere make this event an unforgotten experience for all fortunate to represent their communities on a National stage.


The Donegal Town area had three girls relay teams representing Donegal. The Under 12 and Under 16 teams got the baton around safely and won their heats. Their was much chat about the number of mishaps in far away Beijing where the skill of baton changing at speed was not executed properly and teams were fouled out for dropping the baton or for lane infringements. Donegal’s Under 14 team of Elish O’Gara, Karen Tracey, Andrea Keeney and Clare Brady did have excellent changes but unfortunately a dip in the grass track, thirty metres from the finish, found the final leg runner taking a tumble while lying in second place. Clare bravely recovered and in the afternoon was 2nd in her heat of the 80metres hurdles and advanced to the Sunday’s semi final. Aoife O’Connor , a member of the  Under 16 relay team also qualified for the 100m semi final with a 3rd place finish in her heat.


The unwelcome rain in the afternoon did not dampen the spirits of athletes. Balyshannon’s Miriam Gillespie [formerly Braden] was as nervous as when she competed twenty years ago. Her daughter was very impressive in winning her heat of the under 14 walk and automatic qualification for Sundays final. The Donegal Town Girls relay teams were also impressive in winning their respective semi finals. The Under 12 squad of Katie Hoad, Cloe Masterson, Kelly Mc Grory, Emma Brady and Kate McGowan and the Under16 group of  Kitty O’Kennedy, Louise Harvey, Molly O’Gara, Amy Brogan and Aoife O’Connor. Athletes, coaches and parents had good reason to stay over for another night.


As the local athletes departed for day two in Mosney, I joined the Paralympic team at Dublin Airport for the first leg of the journey to Amsterdam. As we boarded the KLM flight for the final leg to Beijing the texts came in from coaches and parents. The Donegal Town Under 12 team finishes 2nd , the Under 16 team 4th , Clare Brady and Aoife O’Connor finish 5th in their semi finals, Miriam Braden was over the moon with a 5th place walk finish and Rose McCauley, Marathon and Katie Hoad, Ball Throw  also are very pleased with their performances. Well done to all  and in particular a thank you to the parents who came down to support  and to club coaches Paul O’Gara, Geraldine O’Connor and Jackie Harvey who given endless hours  in preparing the athletes. Congratulations to all our club Juvenile athletes.


Well done all.


Under 12 Girls who took Silver Medals


Under 14 Girls


Under 12 Silver Medal Winners

L- R: Kate McGowan, Cleo Masterson, Emma Brady,

Katie Hoed and Kelly McCrery


ULF Team Warm Up

Hoed, McGown, Brady, McCrery and Masterson


ULF Team 4th in 4 x 100m Final

L-R: Aide O'Connor, Kitty O'Kennedy, Molly O'Gara,

Louise Harvey and Amie Brogan


The U-16 Girls were fourth and got Certificates


A group of County Donegal Parents and Athletes

at the Donegal Base Cam