Mayo Community Games are back on the road again for weekend number two of the National Community Games festival of sport finals in Athlone. Following the great success of last weekend a further 142 participants go forward to compete in track and field athletics, gymnastics, hurling, and the culture section of the games.
Mayo's hurling competitors this year come from Claremorris and they will compete in the Category B section of the boys' u11 competition. Claremorris will play Monaghan and Kildare in a round robin competition to decide where the medals will go. Over the past two weeks Claremorris have played Ballina and Castlebar in challenge matches and they have quality players in James Woolley, Deacon Casey, James Sullivan, Peter Staunton, Danny Noone, Sean Fallon, Sean Colgan, Luke Woolley, Rory Dennedy, Keith Jennings, Michael Foody, Niall Hurley, Liam Henry, Dara Hurley, Barry Gleeson, and Cian McLoughlin.
The county will have four top class gymnasts in action at the weekend. Iona McDonnell from Castlebar will compete at u9 level after a splendid performance at the Mayo finals. Mairead Gannon competes in the u11 section and will have plenty of support from Turlough Towers on the day. Grace Ryan from Breaffy impressed the judges when winning her Mayo title and will be in the u13 category. Yvonne Skeffington is another outstanding gymnast from Killasser-Callow and everyone can expect to see a wonderful display from her.
Mayo Community Games will bring 32 young culture participants to the national finals. We can expect the Moygownagh girls' u16 group singers to give a big performance on stage when Olivia Diamond, Grace Murray, Aine Mitchell, Ciara Davis, Eabha Gallagher, and Ava McDonnell get started. In the mixed group music competitoin Moygownagh are back in action when Conor Diamond, Oisin Carolan, Cathal Davis, Aoife Kelly, Oisin Diamond, and John McDonnell hit the stage. In the group dance – Irish contemporary section Foxford have five participants at u12 level. Performers like Aoibhin and Niamh Doherty, Ellie McNamee, Tom Moylett, and Abigail Reape have waited for this special day to express their talents before a packed audience. Claremorris will also be there in strength at u16 level in the group dance – Irish contemporary section and reports suggest that they have an outstanding dance routine to perform. Group dancers like Laoise Kelly, Emma Fallon, Lisa Henry, and Louise King will relish their opportunity to shine. It is wonderful to see Cooneel back in Community Games and they will be well represented in the competition at u14 level when Ellen and Grace McNamara and Shauna McCann compete in the group singing. In the solo singing Cooneal have two of the best youngsters in the business in Oisin and Damien O Donnell. Sorcha Treanor from Knock will perform in the solo music at u13 level. This girl has the talent and is one to watch for in the future. The last Mayo group to hit the stage will be the Knockmore girls u14 who will perform in the group dance –modern and disco competition. Kayla Dunleavy, Rhianna Murphy, Grace Naughton, Jade Kearns, and Ellie McHale have put in many hours of hard work to reach this level and they mean business this year.
Mayo Community Games will have 90 athletes in action on the track and in the field events. In the u8 60m sprint Ballinrobe have two very fast youngsters in Rhianna Waters Moran and Stephen Gibbons. Kayla Doherty (Ardagh ) and Astin A Monachain (Belmullet ) run in the u8 80M sprint after fantastic wins in the Mayo finals. Two athletics to watch for in the u10 100m are Keira Harrington (Bonniconlon ) and Tiernan Tighe (Quay ) who showed a pair of clean heels to their competitors in the county final. Moya O'Connell (Ballinrobe ) and Sean Og Ruane (Foxford ) are becoming top class sprinters and good progress is expected from them in the u12 100m sprints. Mayo's u14 sprinters are Amy Gaynard (Carrra ) and Aiden Cosgrove (Kiltimagh ) who will be hard to beat on the tartan track in Athlone. Aisling Halpin Fahy (Westport ) and James Jennings (Claremorris ) are powerful sprinters at u16 level and both athletes are putting in some serious training to secure a medal this year.
Running the distance
Mayo's middle distance athletes this year are strong and their prospects look good. Ava Flynn (Castlebar ) and James Marrey (Ballinrobe ) go in the u12 600m and both athletes are bound to make a big impression at the finals this year. In the 800m u14 Katie Gibbons (Castlebar ) and Conor Reid (Straide ) are in splendid form going into the heats and should make Sunday's final line up. The 1500m u16 event is a very tactical race but Aoife O'Brien (Islandeady ) and Cormac McDermott (Quay ) have a wealth of experience to show, and should be contenders for the final placings. Going in the u10 200m are Cassie Griffith Blitger (Claremorris ) and Conor Nolan (Balla ) who enjoyed great victories in the Mayo finals and are showing great progress for the future. Maisy Hopkins (Charlestown - Carracastle ) and Shea Benson (Balla ) go in the u16 200m in a new event introduced this year and both athletes can progress to the next level. The hurdles are always a crowd pleaser, and Mayo have four of the best taking part next weekend. Eabha Carney (Westport ) and Padraig Jennings (Claremorris ) take part in the u10 60m hurdles and they are both outstanding young athletes. In the u14 80m hurdles we have two top class hurdlers in Niamh O'Neill (Ballyhaunis ) and Cian O'Connell (Ballinrobe ). A strong marathon team will assemble in Athlone to run through the highways and byways to complete the course. Liam McCann (Swinford ), Aaron McHale (Turlough Towers ), Sean Molloy (Tourmakeady ), Kevin Murray (Moygownagh ), Aoife O' Brien (Islandeady ), Alannah Duffy (Ballinrobe ), Eorna Mulroy (Straide ), and Anna Yeates (Foxford ) will make a bid for glory this year.
On field action
Oisin Joyce (Ballinrobe ) and Aoife Murphy (Kilmaine ) are ready for the ball throwing event which is very popular at the finals. In the discus competition Kevin Coyne (Islandeady ) and Emma Loftus (Kilmurray ) will expect to put in some big throws and progress in the competition. Anthony Walsh from Belmullet will make the long journey to Athlone to compete in the u16 high jump where he expects to achieve a personal best jump. Briona Finnerty (Claremorris ) is another athlete who hopes to do well in the high jump following some recent good form. Mayo's javelin participants are Conor Cusack (Ballinrobe ) and Ciara McHugh Murphy (Claremorris ), and both are capable of big performances on the day. In the long jump Mayo will have Oisin Tunney (Breaffy ) and Rebekah McHale from Ballinrobe and they will pose a threat to the top jumpers. The long puck is an excellent event to watch as each participant has three attempts to find his/her longest puck. Mayo Community Games has two big hitters of the sliotar in Jamie Reilly (Breaffy ) and Niamh Kennedy (Castlebar ) who will do exceptionally well in this event.
Adam Sheridan is a national champion with his local athletic club Westport AC, and we can expect him to be a firm favourite this weekend in the shot putt event. He will be joined by Aisling Calvey from Aughagower who is also a good thrower and still improving. A total of 10 relay teams will arrive in Athlone to seek success in a very competitive event which generates great excitement in any stadium.
Claremorris have the largest contingent with three teams in action. The mixed u10 team are super young runners and will be hard to beat. The girls' u12 team showed their ability in the Mayo finals and will progress in Athlone. The mixed u16 team are powerful runners and should reach the final. Bonnieconlon are the surprise packet in this year's relays with two teams in the national finals. The boys' u12 and the girls' u16 team are full of confidence as they prepare for the opening heats. Ballinrobe have two very promising teams in the mixed u13 and the boys' u14 relay and if all goes to plan in the change over zones we could see them on the winners' podium. Aughagower will travel with a very well organised and balanced girls' u14 team and they are determined to give their best over the weekend. Charlestown/Carracastle have a good quality mixed u15 team and should accelerate through the heats with ease. Breaffy boys u16 team are full of running and will be eager to progress in its national finals after many weeks of training.