Kerry Athletes Off To Coventry For International Children’s Games

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The Tralee International Children’s Games team with coaches at The Rose Hotel on Tuesday night. Front from left; Jill Quirke, Ger McDonnell, Chairman of Tralee ICG Mike Culloty, Dearbhail Foley, Anna Collins and Deputy Mayor of Tralee Terry O’Brien. Middle row, from left; Mollie O’Riordan, Kelly Fitzgerald, Lucy O’Connor, Saoirse Dillon, Rachel Barry, Mily May O’Gara, Laurel Mason and Emma Neylon. Back from left; Johnny Dawson, Brayden Pierse, Gearóid White, Fionán Ryan, Kieran Keane, David Lane, Zala O’Connor. Photo by Dermot Crean

THE 2022 International Children’s Games (ICG) and Cultural Festival gets underway in Coventry from next Wednesday and a set of athletes from Kerry are ready to represent their county.

In just over a week’s time 17 Kerry athletes take up the challenge against their peers from towns and cities representing 40 countries from around the world and the team gathered at The Rose Hotel on Tuesday night for a final briefing before departure next week.

Tralee ICG will be represented in Swimming, Track and Field and Basketball. The swimming quartet, who will compete in Individual and relay events is comprised of Lily May O’Gara, Rachel Barry, Laurel Mason and Zala Cvar O’Connor.

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All are members of the Kingdom Swimming Club in Tralee and compete under the watchful eye of coach Ger Mc Donnell.

The five Track and Field athletes are members of Listowel AC and Riocht AC. Saoirse Dillon, Emma Neylon and Mollie O’Riordan from Listowel are no strangers to school and club national events.

The same is true of Riocht athletes David Lane and Kieran Keane, who compete in the sprint events, with Kieran also entered in the Shot Put, his specialist event.

The Tralee International Children’s Games team with coaches and family members at The Rose Hotel on Tuesday night. Photo by Dermot Crean

The athletes will finally compete in the mixed relay event — two boys, two girls — and coach Dearbhail Foley will have a hard decision to make in relation to its composition.

The basketball teams are entered in 3 v 3 competitions. The boys team is comprised of Johnny Dawson and Fionnan Ryan (Tralee Magic) and Gearoid White and Brayden Pierce (St Brendan’s).

The four girls flying the flag in Coventry are Kelly Fitzgerald and Lucy O’Connor (Tralee Magic) and Anna Collins and Jill Quirke (Ballymac Bobcats). They will be under the direction of coaches Ruth O’Keeffe and John Byrne.

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“There is tremendous goodwill in Kerry and indeed Ireland toward youth sport in general, and these young athletes who excel in their own communities and clubs, now get to taste International competition for the first time in their chosen sports,” said ICG chairman Mike Culloty.

“This participation is not possible without the support of parents, clubs, businesses and the general public who support our fundraising activities, such as raffle ticket sales, the table quiz held in Listowel and the recent Spinathon held in Manor Retail Park. We are so thankful and appreciative of this support” said Mike.

The delegation departs Farranfore airport on Wednesday August 10th and the teams will be joined in Coventry by no fewer than 42 supporters, family and friends.

“It is incredible to think that for that week in Coventry there will be 65 Kerry people who will be enjoying the flavour of the Games, most for the first time. It promises to be a great week-on and off the field”!

Coventry was also the venue in 2005 when a team from Tralee competed at the Games for the very first time.

Participation has continued ever since with over 300 athletes from within Kerry enjoying the experience of representing our county and country at the world’s largest annual multi-sport youth event.

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