Cheerleading has come out from the shadow of its big event, side-show status and become a demanding, physical sport in its own right.
A Castleisland teenager helped a Killarney club to put Kerry on the European Cheerleading map recently when they won two golds at the fifth and rapidly growing Jamfest Europe Cheer Competition and Daragh Begley from Castleisland helped to win coveted prizes.
The club joined more than 300 teams at the Echo Arena in Liverpool to compete in the two-day event, the largest hosted in Europe.
For the ‘Killarney Scorchers’ it was a wonderful repetition of last year’s success when they also brought home gold for Ireland.
Faced with strong competition from the UK and other European teams, the skill, determination and passion of the Kerry squad peaked in a stunning display of dance, tumbling and stunting.
Adults who accompanied the team to the event at the 11,000 capacity arena were caught up in the jubilant scenes which followed the announcements of Killarney’s success with the club marking firmly Kerry’s place in European cheerleading history.
With a litany of gold wins firmly under their belts since their inception six years ago, the Scorchers will be making their way next year to the home of cheerleading. A number of team members will represent Ireland at the World Cheerleading Championships in Florida, USA.
Danny Farkas and Hayley Murphy, coaches and co-founders of the club, are delighted with the opportunity to represent Ireland in America.
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Hayley, who first ‘cheered’ for the Lakers Basketball team at Killarney’s Gleneagle Hotel in her early teens after watching the movie Bring it On!, welcomes the challenge:
“Of course it is daunting to perform on American soil,” she said, “because cheerleading is to America what hurling and Gaelic football are to us. But we will do what we always do we will prepare, train hard, work together and have fun,” she said.
The combined coaching skills of Hayley, who won a Ray Jasper cheerleading choreography award in 2013, and Danny, who takes full credit for the team’s remarkable tumbling abilities, is a winning formula. New members are welcome.
Cheerleading is 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 any gymnast. It enhances balance, co-ordination and agility and develops co-ordination and self confidence.
To take up cheerleading or find out more, visit the club website here: www.flaresgymnastics.com.