UL hosts 3,500 participants in Aldi Community Games National Festival this weekend

Colm Kinsella

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Colm Kinsella

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ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

UL hosts 3,500 participants in Aldi Community Games National Festival this weekend

Pictured at the Aldi Community Games Festival launch at UL were Tom Morrissey, Eoin Barrett, Ronan O'Mahony, hurdler Sarah Lavin, Cara Barrett and Sean Finn

THE first of two 2019 Aldi Community Games National Festivals finals is taking place at the University of Limerick this Saturday and Sunday.

The Aldi Community Games May Festival at UL this weekend will showcase more than 30 different activities with over 3,500 participants. While the largest event over the weekend in terms of participation is swimming there is also duathlon, dance, indoor soccer, art, badminton and handwriting.  

More than 175,000 children across 600 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 at the National Festival 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 52 years more than 5 million children have participated in Community Games, including many of Ireland’s celebrities, sporting heroes and world-famous actors.

This weekend's Nationals Festival was launched recently by Limerick senior hurlers Tom Morrissey and Sean Finn, Hurdle Athlete Sarah Lavin and former Munster Rugby player Ronan O’Mahony.

Speaking at the launch, Tom Morrissey said, “My memories of Community Games are nothing but happy ones. I remember trying such a range of different sports throughout my years involved including running, hurling, gaelic football and soccer. Being involved in those teams really meant a lot to me as you made great friends and memories with the other kids in the local area.”

Aldi Community Games aims to encourage and introduce young people to a love of sport and culture, focusing on participation rather than winning.

Speaking at the launch of the Aldi Community Games National Festivals, John Curtin, Group Buying Director, Aldi Ireland, said: “Aldi is very proud to be celebrating our third year working in partnership with Community Games.  We set out two years ago to give more and more children and communities the opportunity to participate in Community Games, introducing them to the excitement of sport and laying the early seeds for a healthy lifestyle. Progress has been phenomenal, with 177,150 children from over 600 local communities taking part in 2018.”

“The active lifestyle message that Community Games promotes to children is a vision Aldi shares.  We have made fresh, healthy food choices more accessible and affordable to Irish families, and in working in partnership with sports and youth organisations like Community Games, Foróige and the IRFU, we are helping to promote active lifestyle choices to children too.”

John Byrne, Community Games CEO commented: “With the support of our title sponsor Aldi in the promotion of healthy lifestyles, we are confident that a bright future lies ahead as we begin our sixth decade as Ireland’s leading sporting and cultural organisation.”

“The focus of Community Games has always been to provide our young people with a pathway to an active lifestyle promoted by a huge team 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.”