The streak of good weather certainly brought out the best in the much awaited Kerry Denny Community Games finals at An Ríocht Athletic Club over the past Saturday and Sunday.
The colours of the various club areas on the track and on the terrace stood out in the glorious rays of the sun. Shade was at a premium as the little gazebos which popped up all over the stadium could shelter only so many. But then, I recall recent years when the same gazebos sheltered more that they were designed for as rain belted down on athletes and supporters.
The Kerry Community Games idea was launched in 1972 by the late Bob Casey and Christy Murray. The first county athletic finals were held in the Austin Stack Park with ten areas present and the winners went on to compete in the National Finals in Santry. After these finals, plans were made to spread the gospel of Community Games throughout Kerry. A Kerry Community Games week was held in July 1973 to introduce basketball, Gaelic football, and soccer.
In the intervening years, Kerry has sought to counter the common misconception that the Games are all about sport by also fostering participation in cultural and creative activities.
By 2006 there were forty-nine registered Community Games areas which covered every urban enclave and rural back road in Kerry so there is no reason for any family to be excluded from the action. Indeed, over the years all Kerry areas have had the honour of representing their county at the National Finals and records show a national medal has found a home in all Kerry areas.
From the beginning, the committee insisted on small areas. Although some have since amalgamated, the levels of participation in sporting and cultural activities encouraged by the Games plays a vital role in promoting community spirit and helping to ensure that the participating children lead healthy and balanced lives. At all competitions the view that there is no such thing as a loser who has tried is encouraged.
For all the results of last weekend’s games go to: www.communitygames.ie