Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT -

IT was a day that had just about ev­ery­thing a sport­ing event can pos­si­bly of­fer - high drama, ex­cel­lent run­ning, smiling faces, tears of de­feat, close calls, run­away win­ners, proud par­ents, con­sol­ing hugs and ten­der words, mo­ments of hu­mour, friend­ships rekin­dled, parental panic when a child can’t be found, trays of hot chips and pre-packed pic­nics and the heart-warm­ing sight of a cof­fee ma­chine sit­ting re­as­sur­ingly in the cor­ner un­der the leafy shade of those beau­ti­ful trees in Shil­le­lagh. God bless the Com­mu­nity Games! And god bless cof­fee!

From early morn­ing the com­peti­tors ar­rived in their droves. Yes, num­bers were down this year with the loss of BBK from the com­pet­ing clubs but there was still a mighty crowd of young ath­letes from un­der 6 all way up to un­der 16 and their fam­i­lies and sup­port­ers from clubs such as West­side, Lake­side, Rath­drum, Balt­in­glass, En­niskerry, Aughrim/An­nacurra, Round­wood and Shil­le­lagh.

A ri­otously colour­ful pa­rade got things un­der­way from 10am with Bill Porter man­ning the mi­cro­phone and tak­ing the crowd gathered all around the GAA pitch through the day. Rather fit­tingly it was En­niskerry who took the ‘Best Pa­rade’ award hav­ing ar­rived with a su­perbly made gi­ant dragon fig­ure that they ma­neu­vered around the field. The late Lily Ka­vanagh who passed away last week was from En­niskerry and would have been hugely proud of the club’s achieve­ments on the day.

Shil­le­lagh picked up the run­ners up award from the pa­rade and shortly after­wards the action got un­der­way in the var­i­ous dis­ci­plines.

There were rapid sprints and thrilling re­lays. There were fall­ers and stallers and ballers and en­trallers. There was long puck en­deav­ours and the long jump de­liv­ered, the odd javelin was flung and sad laments they were sung.

Ice-creams were de­voured and hori­zons checked for rogue show­ers, sand­wiches were downed and sor­rows were drowned, hearts filled up with pride and sheer im­pos­si­bil­ity de­fied and laugh­ter sounded light on the gen­tle June breeze.

It was a beaut­fiul day. Vol­un­teers toiled un­der pres­sure while Bill Porter proved he’s a messer. De­lighted chil­dren clam­bered up on the podium or sought the refuge of Mammy as dreams came true and were dashed and all in the name of fun and games.

Pho­tos: Joe Byrne

Main pic: A West­side ath­lete clears the hur­dles dur­ing the 2019 Wick­low Com­mu­nity Games in Shil­le­lagh on Satur­day. Inset: Roisin Houli­han and Yas­min Dagge cel­e­brate.

Long jump cham­pion Patrick Sheey, Lake­side, with Sheila Driver.

This ath­lete had time to pick some flow­ers dur­ing races.

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