Tommy O’Donnell and Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan launching CRY Monagea 2017
HUNDREDS of cyclists, walkers and runners are expected in Monagea this Saturday for an event that has won the hearts of communities all over West Limerick and further afield.
CRY Monagea was first held in 2012 in memory of Niamh Herlihy and Darra O’Donovan, both of whom had died, tragically young, the year before as a result of sudden death syndrome.
But In the years since, the event has raised at least €170,000 for the CRY organisation, Cardiac Risk in the Young, and has become one of the flagship fundraisers for the national body.
“It is amazing to think it started off as a little idea in our heads and it has grown to what it is today. It has gone from strength to strength,” Darra’s mother, Clare Scanlon said when they launched the event back in March with the support of Munster and Ireland rugby star, Tommy O’Donnell.
“For us it is about Niamh and Darra. But it is also about other people who are gone too soon,” Clare continued. “It is a wonderful day for all the wrong reasons. I do think wherever they are they are looking down on us. They must be so proud that every year people come out to remember them in the way they do. It is unbelievable.
“Back in 2011 nobody knew what CRY stood for,” Niamh’s dad, Liam Herlihy added. “Today I would say 90% of people in West Limerick would instantly register the Monagea charity and sudden death.”
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s event, Liam said that scores of cyclists had already registered online.
“We would hope to get 250 to 300 cyclists,” he said.
The 25km cycle introduced last year is back again, along with the 70km “leisure cycle” and the more challenging 100km and 125km West Limerick Endurance Cycle.
The Endurance, Liam added, always lives up to its name, as it involves the highest hill climbs in the area, including the Mass Rock at Ashford.
But, Liam and the organisers are very keen to stress that there is a walking and running option also, at 5km and 10km, which are also ideal family outings.
As in other years, a small army of volunteers goes into action, primarily as stewards.
“In four years we have had only one serious injury and that is down to proper stewarding ,”Liam explains. And he paid tribute to Desmond Sportiv for their outstanding help in organising the event.
But volunteers also come into their own as registrars and also as bakers and tea-makers. “We like to feed people well in Monagea,” says Liam.
Registration costs for the event are €25 for cyclists and €10 for walkers and runners. You can register in person this Friday evening at Monagea Community Centre between 7.30 and 9pm, on Facebook or online at primoevents.com/ps/event/
WestLimerickEndurance125. Registration for the cycle starts at 7.30am on Saturday and at 11am for walkers and runners who set off at noon.