As the sun set over Castletroy in Limerick the general consensus of competitors, families and officials was, that The Aldi Community Games, May National Finals were a resounding success in its new home of The University Of Limerick.
About 4,000 children took part in the Festival in events as diverse as Irish Dancing, marathon, cross country, model making, gymnastics and wwimming.
A total of 80 competitors from 8 different areas of Laois took part.
Lucy O'Connell from Portlaoise on her first time to compete at National Finals took home a 4th place medal in the U8 Art competition.
Fionn Terry won gold in the U10 Handwriting competition. Fionn came 4th last year in the same competition. A marvelous achievement for this young man from Killinard.
There was high hopes for Portlaoise U13 girls Basketball team. The girls played a very strong team from Castleisland of Kerry in the semi final. Portlaoise put up a great show in a very close affair, with the lead changing hands several times. Castleisland won out by two points on a score line of 18 points to 20 points.
Castleisland eventually went on to win the gold medals. The 3rd and 4th place play off was on Sunday morning. Portlaoise started well and were the stronger of the two sides, creating an early lead that they never relinquished. Full time score Portlaoise 37 points.
Ballyshannon (Donegal) seven points. It was a great team effort over the entire weekend and the whole team loved and enjoyed the experience.
The highlight of the weekend must surely have been the two Teams of Contemporary Irish Dancers from Stradbally who took home two sets of medals silver and gold in the U12 and U 16 competitions respectively. Stradbally have dominated this competition over the the last six years and this year was in different.
First up on Saturday morning were a very young U12 team-punching well above their weight. They gave an amazing performance of the Classic children's fairytale Thumbelina, earning them silver medals. They were Kate Sheridan, Rosin Whìte, Emily Traynor, Laura Greene, Niamh Clancy and Allayna Bradley.
The U16’s were next up, hoping to retain the gold medals they won last year and at the end of a very close competition they were not disappointed. They danced superbly, beating their old rivals -Carrick of Leitrim by a single point.
This Stradbally team of dancers have had amazing success in this competition over the last few years. Three members of this U16 team Orla Sheridan, Grainne McCaul and Bronagh Scully, having come right up through the Community Games ranks from U12, and have won gold medals four times in the last six years.. . . an amazing record by anyone’s standards!
The team were Orla Sheridan, Bronagh Scully, Ellen Hennessy, Grainne McCaul, Chloe Mills and Caitlin Traynor.
Much credit and thanks goes to Buggie School of Irish Dancing teachers, Grainne and Brid Anne Buggie. for all the extra hours of preparation and practice they freely give for this competition every year.
Well done to all the Laois competitors. Medals or no medals, you are all winners. Roll on Weekend 2 of National Finals in August.
Sophia Irwin, Hannah Booth, Louise Hartnette, Grace Irwin, Emily Irwin, Fionn Mathews, Oscar Booth,Samuel Booth,Jack Slevin, Lucy Lawlor, Hazel O Callaghan, Rosin Kehoe, Anna Maguire, Kate Nolan.
Sinead Larkin, Ben Wall, Kate Oxley, Megan Delaney, Maggie Kavanagh, Anna Murphy, Carole Sheehy, Maeve Handy, Jill Sheehy, Allayna Bradley, Niamh Clancy,Kate Sheridan, Laura Green,Emily Traynor, Rosin White,Ellen Hennessy,Grainne McCaul, Orla Sheridan, Chloe Mills,, Caitlin Traynor, Bronagh Scully.
Aoibhin McDonnald,James McDonnald.
Cain Nugent, Lucy O Connell, Hannah Mary Biju, Kacper Kaklin, Emilia Fearon, Stefanie Abrama, Sadhu Bergin, Rachel Byrne, Ella Hanamy, Leah Houlihan Stanley, Ella McNulty, Niamh Murphy, Tegan O Rielly, Clodagh Power,Shannon Quigley, Rebecca Bambrick, Kayla Burke, Alisha Jacob, Erin Kavanagh, Martyna Brochocka, Ava Jade McLoughlin, Abbey Strong, Theertha Vinod.
Hannah O Donnell,Killian McLeron, Isabella Roberts, Mark Tynan, Fionn Terry, Blathnaid Kehoe, Maya Lyons, Eva McNamara, Conor Moore, Ronan Quinn, Abbey Stapleton.
Ruth Killeen,Grace Downey,
Michael Hyland,Gregory o Rielly,Sarah Cuddy, Kiera Gallagher, Dierbhile C-Fennell,Lexi Nelson.
Dinny Whelan,Emily O Driscoll.
A few dates for the diary
June 24th -The County Athletìcs finals will be held in St. Abbans.
The closing date for enteritis is June 15th. Contact your local area secretary and get registered.
No eateries will be accepted on the day.
Leinster Zones-June 16 th
July 14th- Leinster finals in Meath, in all phase 2 events.. rounders, GAA, etc