A Castleisland teenager who helped a Killarney club to win European gold medals in Liverpool last summer, has been selected to captain an Irish Cheerleading team for this month’s, five-day, International Cheerleading Union World Championships in the USA.
Darragh Begley and his 15 strong team with two other athletes, a coach and manager will fly out from Dublin directly to Florida on the coming Tuesday, April 19th.
Darragh (19) is a son of John and Angela Begley and a student at Castleisland Community College. He has been at the heart of Ireland’s competitive elite in his chosen sport over the past few years.
In that time he has won several national titles and helped put his club, Killarney Scorchers on the European Cheerleading map when they won two golds at the fifth Jamfest Europe Cheer Competition in the UK last summer. The club competed with more than 300 teams at the Echo Arena in Liverpool over the two-day event, the largest ever hosted in Europe.
Gold for Ireland
For the ‘Killarney Scorchers’ it was a wonderful repetition of the 2014 success when they also brought home gold for Ireland.
After those wins the Scorchers members set their sights on representing Ireland at the World Cheerleading Championships in Orlando, Florida, USA in 2016 – and here they are.
Danny Farakas and Hayley Murphy, coaches and co-founders of the club, are delighted with the opportunity to represent Ireland in America and Danny will travel as team coach.
Music and dance were always high on Darragh’s list of interests. Irish dancing came naturally to him and, at the first note of a tune on the radio, he just had to dance to it – according to mom Angela.
A follower of all sports, Darragh excelled in athletics as a child. High jump and running were his specialities.
Course of Gymnastics
However, it wasn’t until Castleisland Community College PE teacher and Farranfore native, Marie Moriarty introduced a course of gymnastics to the college curriculum a few years ago that Darragh’s real interest and passion in life began to blossom.
Darragh has an impressive CV already as he helped a team from the University of Limerick to capture a prestigious national title last year.
His services are being sought by similar groupings and clubs in various parts of the country as a coach and choreographer – and he has the little matter of Leaving Cert preparations this year as well.
A career in the area of Sport and Leisure has been beckoning Darragh for some time now. He’s been making the same meticulous preparations for that as he’s putting in for the Florida games.
Profile as Irish Captain
His involvement in the world games and his profile as Irish team captain will only increase the demand for the teenager who knows exactly where he’s going and how to get there.
Cheerleading has come from being a big event, side-show to a demanding, physical sport in its own right.
It’s a challenging and dynamic sport which takes an extreme amount of physical work and practice. Cheerleaders must be as graceful as dancers and as athletic as gymnasts. It enhances balance, co-ordination and agility and develops co-ordination and self confidence – according to one exponent.
There is a Team Ireland fundraising event at Tralee Gymnastics Club on Sunday from 2pm and doors open at the club at 1-30pm. The club is opposite Relihan’s Car Dismantlers on the Clash Industrial Estate, Tralee.