The Tailteann Games in its original form is one of the oldest festivals of sport in the world, almost 2000 yrs old. After a lull it was revived by the Irish free state in the 1920s as a way of reconnecting with and re-establishing ancient Irish cultural heritage following independence from Britain. The idea was for a bigger better version of the Olympic Games with events such as Motorcycling included. The motorcycling never got off the ground but the Athletics did and is still going strong with some of the most talented young athletes from all four provinces competing for the team and individual honours.
The teams are picked from both the provincial and national school championships. So our five athletes were representing not only themselves and their families but their clubs and schools also. In fact five athletes from one club is no small achievement for a small provincial town but Nenagh always punches above its weight in most sports and athletics is no different.
On the day Ted Collins, Glenstal Abbey and Jodie McGrath, St Mary's Nenagh were our top performers. Ted put the disappointment of the Irish schools well behind him with a classy bit of 800m running. Starting conservatively and going through the Bell in 7th position in 59sec. Starting his run 300m out and looking magestic he got to 2nd with 100m to go. He tired a little with 50m to go but held on for 3rd and a podium position.
Jodie McGrath despite being younger than her competitors also took a podium position and the experience gained from her 3rd place finish will be invaluable as she is also young enough to compete next year. Jodie is having a great year and with the nationals only a couple of weeks away it looks good for the rest of her season.
We had three other athletes on the day James Sage, St Joseph's Borrisoleigh was 5th in the 100m hurdles. Ailbhe O'Neill, St Mary's Nenagh was 6th in the 1500m and Padraig Hassett, Glenstal was 6th in the 400m hurdles and all will benifit from the experience gained. So as you can see the motorcycling never made it. But you never know with a little luck maybe next year.
Our next outing is the 2nd leg of the National senior league next Sunday in Santry. The club are in 5th position after the first weekend and will need a good overall performance to reach the final.