FOUR Offaly schools took home national titles from the inaugural national finals of SPORTSHALL Athletics which were held recently in the Athlone Institute of Technology.
These were Ballinagar National Schools (winners 3rd & 4th class girls), Edenderry Boys National School (winners 3rd & 4th class boys), St. Philomena’s National School, Tullamore (winners 5th & 6th class girls) and Scoil Bhride, Tullamore (winners 5th & 6th class boys).
The victorious schools were selected to represent their county following intense local competitions between schools that participated on Offaly Sports Partnership’s SPORTSHALL programme.
Co-ordinator of Offaly Sports Partnership Eamonn Henry said, “We have been delivering the programme for three years now and this has been our most successful to date. Thirty schools took part this year, up from 20 in the previous year.”
Mr Henry added, “Offaly obviously had an advantage in the national finals as we’ve been doing SPORTSHALL longer than most – I expect it will be a lot tighter next year.”
SPORTSHALL Athletics is a unique programme designed to improve children’s fundamental sports skills while keeping them fit during winter months. Training for the range of fun events can be organised within the confines of small community halls or school halls while competitions can be held in sports halls the size of a basketball court. National finals in the various disciplines have been held in the UK since the early 1980s.
The first national finals in Ireland were contested by 320 children from seven counties, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Meath, Tipperary, Westmeath and Offaly. “There is little doubt but this will grow in the future,” said Eamonn Henry. “I wouldn’t be surprised if at least 12 counties are looking to take part next year,” he continued.
The children on the Offaly teams were -
St Joseph’s, Ballinangar 3rd & 4th class girls - Aisling McDermott, Ciara Crombie, Laura Cuskelly, Clare Daly, Kiah WOrgan, Rachel Horan, Laura Moonet, Eabha Joyce, Siobhan Daly, Hannah O’Rourke, Katie Condron and Aoife Murphy.
Edenderry Boys National School 3rd & 4th class boys - Cathal Farrell, Stephen Pender, Darnel Udoh, Ryan Glyn, Attilla Soos, Josh Kearny, Jack Costello, Saymon Korpinski, Haroldas Klimas, Conor McCathy. Daire Slevin and Conor Ward.
St Philomena’s Tullamore 5th & 6th class girls - Emily Bailey, Annabella Simmonett, Ashley Caliskan, Katie Mollen, Aisling Fox, Holly Ravenhill, Brid Molyneaux, Ava Gowran, Anota Sicily Joseph, Amy Galvin, Kate Fox and Annie Brown.
Scoil Bhríde, Tullamore – 5th & 6th class boys - Conor Butler, Jordan Hoang, Cormac Ixichukwu, Darius Adamonis, Damien Mruk, Tiarnan Quinn, Shane Martin, Kevin Cutler, Josh Galvin, Moiz Ather, Arek Zajac and David Zamora.