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Back to basics for 54321 Challenge this year

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CHALLENGE: The 54321 Challenge will this year revert back to its original format with just five participants due to current restrictions: Pictured were: Carole Moran, Siobhan O’Sullivan, Catherine Foley, Maura Sullivan, Mark Murphy, Mairead Dunphy, TJ O’Connor, Noreen Sheahan, Sean Sully, Martin McCarthy, Caroline Lynch and Tony Dunne. Photo: Grigoriy Geniyevskiy

By Michelle Crean

Hit with the current restrictions, the annual popular 54321 Challenge will this year revert back to its original format with just five participants.

 

What began eight years ago as a challenge for the group with a team of five over four days, completing three cycles, and climbing two mountains for one cause, grew over the years to approximately 50 participants, with fund raised for local charities.

However, according to organisers this year it's "back to simplicity in complicated times".

"The Challenge has grown in numbers over the years, and this year was to be no different with a large number of participants ready to undertake the challenge," TJ O'Connor said.

"However, due to the current COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic and the corresponding lockdown, and health and safety recommendations from the HSA around large groups of people, the 54321 Challenge committee made the tough decision that all 50 participants could not complete this year's challenge. The 54321 Challenge's top priority is to ensure the safety of its participants and in the current climate; this extends to their families, neighbours, friends etc. Instead the decision has been made that the Challenge will revert to the original five participants undertaking the four day challenge, and this will take place from Thursday, August 20 to Sunday 23 inclusive."

The Challenge this year includes: Day 1 (Thursday 20) - Cycle the Ring of Kerry, Day 2 (Friday 21) - Climb Carrantuohill, Day 3 (Saturday 22) - Cycle from Killarney to the foot of Mount Brandon and then climb Mt Brandon and Day 4 (Sunday 23) - Cycle from Dingle to Killarney.

"The committee are currently looking at ways other people can participate in an online version of the Challenge while representing and raising funds for their chosen charity, and they will be announcing details in the coming weeks via their website and social media."

The Challenge has raised almost €207,000 to date supporting a number of very deserving Kerry Charities, This year’s selected charities are Skellig Stars, a group of children and adult athletes with special needs; Kerry Hospice Foundation and Enable Ireland Kerry. Each charity will have a champion undertaking the challenge on their behalf.

"We would be very grateful for any contribution to these worthwhile causes and supporting the participants of this year’s Challenge, he said.

​​​​​​​"You can donate via our website www.54321challenge.org or see the individual charities Facebook pages for online donation information or donate by Direct Debit to Bank of Ireland, Killarney. Sort code 90-57-58 Account No. 74356384 (BIC BOFIIE2D and IBAN IE88BOFI90575874356384), or if you know any of the participants you can contact them directly with a donation. With your support and donations, we can support all these deserving causes."

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Better late than never Christmas present for St Francis Special School

By Sean Moriarty St Francis Special School received a very late Christmas present this week – a specially adapted bike for the pupils to use. Husband and wife team Ciaran […]

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By Sean Moriarty

St Francis Special School received a very late Christmas present this week – a specially adapted bike for the pupils to use.

Husband and wife team Ciaran and Karen Dwyer, directors of Guerin Engineering and Pumps Ltd in Kilcummin, presented the special adapted bicycle to the staff and pupils at the Beaufort school on Tuesday.

After seeing an online request last December that the school needed the bike, they decided to gift one.

They contacted Glencar Medical, a Dublin-based firm that specialises in the supply of equipment to schools like St Francis, and ordered the bicycle.

However, nothing is straightforward in the current climate, Brexit, COVID and war all contributed to a delay in getting the bike to Ireland. Once it was in Dublin there were further delays in sourcing the special straps that St Francis’ children need to ride the bike safely.

It all came to a happy ending this week when the Dwyers were finally able to present their Christmas present to the school.

“We saw this request and we contacted the school and said we wanted to buy one, they told us where to get one, and we ordered it,” Karen told the Killarney Advertiser.

“We had it paid for by the end of the year but then it took three months to get it into the country. It took more time to import the specialist parts. The costs were increasing but we did not mind at all.”

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Jordan Lee to tell his story to the county’s schools

Paralympian Jordan Lee will share his experiences with schools all over Kerry. The Killarney man has embarked on a countywide tour ‘Jordan’s Drive’ in association with Kelliher’s Garage, a series […]

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Paralympian Jordan Lee will share his experiences with schools all over Kerry.

The Killarney man has embarked on a countywide tour ‘Jordan’s Drive’ in association with Kelliher’s Garage, a series of informal talks on his achievements and how he overcame his disability to reach the top of his chosen sport.

The 21-year-old was born with a foreshortened left arm known as amniotic band syndrome but has enjoyed a successful sports career which included representing Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

Now he wants to share his story and inspire other students to follow their dreams.

His tour started last week at Colaiste na Sceilge in Cahersiveen and over the next few weeks, depending on his training schedule, will visit schools in Firies, Milltown, and Killarney.

“Don’t be afraid of people with disabilities or different backgrounds,” he said. “A few years ago there was only typical people in classrooms – you never came across people with disabilities or from various different countries. It is a lot more mixed now. I want to inspire people to treat everyone on the same level.”

‘Jordan’s Drive’ is made possible thanks to his role as a brand ambassador for Kelliher’s Garage, dealer principal, Tim Kelliher explained to the Killarney Advertiser.

“Having got to know Jordan so well over the last couple of years we have come to realise how much of an inspiration he is so we decided to ask him to hop into his Toyota CHR Hybrid and bring his story out into the highways and byways of the Kingdom,” he said.

“Headlined ‘Jordans Drive’ and organised by my marketing team headed by Yvonne McMahon they have travelled to many of the schools around Kerry from Cahersiveen to Beaufort, Killorglin and with other dates planned for Firies and Milltown to name but a few. He has spoken his many words of wisdom to the children who have been in awe of the journey and his achievements, and we at Kelliher’s Garage are delighted and proud to have him as our brand ambassador.”

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