A NEW chapter is about to open in the long-running story of Limerick Community Games. Forty five years after the organisation got its first toe-hold in Limerick, it has now teamed up with the family firm of McMahons, whose roots in the city and county can be traced back to 1830.
Launching the three-year sponsorship deal at the company’s premises on the Dock Road Limerick this week, managing director Mark McMahon said the invitation to link up with Limerick Community Games was one he couldn’t refuse. Explaining that he was the sixth generation to be involved in the business, he continued: “Over the years, we have lived in the area, we have had many people working with us, many generations.”
Referring to the difficult economic climate of the past number of years, he said there was now “ a little bit of optimism” about and this had given his company an opportunity to get involved. “The youth of today will be the customers of tommorow,” he said. “We are delighted to be part of such a growing organisation.”
Up to 15,000 children and young people are involved in Limerick Community Games, the organisation’s chairman, Anthony Fitzsimons said. It now has branches in 42 areas and involves 460 adult volunteers and a very successful youth organisation.
“It is fantastic that McMahons have come on board to sponsor us,” he said. For many years, Golden Vale was the main sponsor but when the company was taken over by Glanbia, that sponsorship dried up. But, he continued, he was pleased too that McMahons had its own strong link with sport through horse-racing. And he was optimistic that the partnership would prove mutually beneficial.
Limerick Mayor, Kathleen Leddin, who was a secretary of a local branch of Community Games for a number of years, welcomed the new partnership.
“Community Games, I think, is one of the last bastions of Irish society. Everything else is fading away, creameries, post-offices, banks. It connects people together in a great way.” she said.
“Outside of the competitive part the social aspect is great,” she continued. In the city, in particular, she said, it brought together children from different schools, who formed friendships. It was also an incentive to young people to train and to compete, and to compete in a very whole-hearted way.
“It is something for the communities to hold on to,” Mayor Leddin said and she congratulated McMahons for their foresight and generosity.
Cathaoirleach John Sheahan also paid tribute to the company for their involvement. “It is very important for us that we have a vibrant community games going. And it does need money.” he said. “We have two great community drivers. the GAA and Community Games.” Within Community Games, there is great choice, he added, particularly for those who are not very sporty. “It is not about the winning. It is about the participation and we are all very proud of what ye do.”