Champs at Kerry Schools Athletics Finals.

Champs at Kerry Schools Athletics Finals.

There is absolutely no doubt, that yet another sport is growing deep roots and tall shoots in Kerry! This is the 12th year that we have participated in the Tralee event and advanced to the County Finals. However, this is the first year that I have witnessed such amazing talent, from all corners/schools in Kerry. I strongly believe that Tralee Harriers has led the way in promoting athletics in Tralee and beyond. The club is leading the way for junior, senior, amateur and professional athletes. It is just wonderful to see how primary schools around Kerry are now embracing the sport and competing with each other. Yes, there are many clubs around the county, but T.Harriers host and attract the best qualifying schools in the wonderful An Ríocht track. Caherleaheen has featured proudly in the relay medals for the last decade at final level. Local Secondary schools have won National Schools Relays-always with a Harrier/Caherleaheen baton!(Mounthawk Mercy Secondary All-Ireland Champions 2018…..Go Luke O’Carroll!). It really doesn’t matter what your speed is, or your shot or javelin throw or your long jump distances are. It’s your Personal Best. Your PB is all you want to be- in athletics, in sports, in effort, in school, at home, in friendships. I am a slow learner and it took me quite a while to grasp why I was attracted to this wonderful sport, (as an ould one in my 50s who had never ever run 100cm) and the great endeavours of our young athletes and their coaches/parents: Physical/social/self-esteem dividends. I have to acknowledge the selfless Harrier coaches, all volunteers, who spend Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays on a weekly basis training and competing in Tralee IT (winter), Dan Spring Rd, An Ríocht, and provisional/national venues. These last few years, Paul Griffin has devoted hours, days, nights, weekends to promoting and progressing our young athletes in Tralee, as well as mentoring, organising and attending every single competitive event. He is a superb analysist and writer (check out the Tralee Harriers Facebook Page). His administrative skills and sponsorship coups are enviable. But, his encouragement, which I witness every Tuesday night these last 2 years, his humour, his hard work ethic and his total devotion to Harriers are truly inspiring. I just want to acknowledge this local hero here on this website. There are many many great parents and coaches and BoM members behind him. They have nurtured the club for many years. John arrived in this town 4/5 yrs ago. How lucky are we! Enough of that ( I could go on!) Here, are our very own young heroes from Caherleaheen. These are our medal winners from the Kerry Finals. They were ably supported by all our other qualifiers. Could you be prouder?

— Mary C