Paul O'Connell launched the Aldi Community Games national finals, which will be held at UL this week
MORE than 7,000 of Ireland’s rising athletes and competitors will take to University of Limerick for the Aldi Community Games national finals this weekend.
Launched by former Munster, Ireland and Lions captain Paul O’Connell and Olympic bronze medallist Rob Heffernan, the 51st annual event will take place over two weekends–from May 25 to 27 and August 17 to 19.
This will be the first ever year UL has hosted the well-known games, and will do so until 2020.
John Byrne, Community Games CEO commented: “We are looking forward to a new era for Community Games as we embark on a three-year partnership with University of Limerick to host our National Festivals.
“The focus of Community Games has always been geared to providing our young people a pathway to an active lifestyle promoted by a cohort of hardworking and dedicated volunteers. We know Aldi share this vision with us and we look forward to involving more communities and young people in the years ahead.”
More than 160,000 children across 575 communities are taking part or have already taken part in over 200 scheduled regional events supported by 20,000 volunteers and will bring together the regional champions in friendly competition across a wide range of sporting and cultural activities, individual and team sports.
Helping the children will be some 300 volunteers each day overseeing activities including swimming, rugby, badminton, Gaelic football, hurling, skittles, debating, draughts, cross country, gymnastics and more.
Over the past 51 years more than 5 million children have participated in Community Games, including many of Ireland’s celebrities, sporting heroes and world-famous actors. Some of the names in the history books include Paul O’Connell, Saoirse Ronan, Olive Loughnane, Bressie, Niall Quinn and Sonia O’Sullivan.
Speaking at the launch of the Aldi Community Games National Festivals, Finbar McCarthy, Group Buying Director, Aldi Ireland, said: “There has been a strong tradition of young people from across Irish towns and villages taking part in Community Games. Aldi is proud to be supporting the Community Games and we are excited to work with the organisers to ensure more children and communities have the means, the opportunity and the encouragement to participate.”
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