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Killarney Valley AC launch exciting new ‘match’ event for kids

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Kerry’s budding athletes are set for some real excitement over the coming weeks thanks to an innovative new style of competition created by Killarney Valley AC.

Eager to expose their stars of the future to the thrill of team events, KVAC have issued an invitation to other local clubs to face off in a two-hour, multidiscipline contest. These “matches” will be staged at Killarney Valley’s state-of-the-art arena with juveniles from U9 to U14 taking part in events ranging from 60m sprints to field events.

Athletes will earn points for their clubs based on their performances and the club with the most points at the end of match will take home the Ahern’s BMW Cup, as well as a set of gold medals.

Speaking to the Killarney Advertiser this week, Tomás Griffin of KVAC explained the concept of these fun-filled match-ups, and how the idea first came about.

“Usually kids prepare for County Championships or Munster Championships, but that stuff happens later in the year,” Griffin said. “Their opportunities to build confidence and experience in competition, or something that looks like competition, are very limited.

“As a club we said, ‘we have the facilities, let’s try to be creative and see what we can do’. Our goal was to give the kids a glide path into the bigger competitions that will come along, and also to reinvent the sport in terms of how kids and parents view athletics in general. That’s really how the idea for the matches came about.”

Following on from the club’s participation in the recent National Indoor Track and Field Championships, which is an adult/over 16 team event, KVAC decided to mimic this format for their younger athletes.

Match 1 of this series has already been scheduled: KVAC will take on St Brendan’s Ardfert this coming Saturday. Griffin is hopeful that more clubs, from Kerry or beyond, will put their names forward in the coming weeks.

“We have sent an open invitation via Athletics Ireland and our own social media channels,” Griffin explains. “We’re hoping that other clubs will come to us and challenge us to a match. We will then schedule the matches as the requests come in.

“Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Ahern’s Motor Group, we will be hosting these matches free of charge for all the participating clubs. Parents can come and watch their kids enjoying a team competition and team environment.”

There is a perception that some full-day athletics events can be a little drawn out, so to combat this KVAC’s matches will be completed in two hours. This, Griffin says, will add to the entertainment value for children and parents alike.

“We’re hoping to have somewhere in the region of 50 of our kids participating on Saturday. For a lot of them, it will be their first experience of a track match. They will all be contributing – every athlete’s score in every event matters.

“We believe the format will keep the children and the spectators engaged.”

If your club is interested in taking on Killarney Valley AC in a match, please email killarneyvalleyac@gmail.com.

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Sam Maguire to feature at next week’s AugustFest

Killarney Racecourse is set to host the exciting three-day summer horse-racing festival from Thursday August 18 to Saturday 20 inclusive. The festival also marks 200 years of racing at Killarney Races […]

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Killarney Racecourse is set to host the exciting three-day summer horse-racing festival from Thursday August 18 to Saturday 20 inclusive. The festival also marks 200 years of racing at Killarney Races offering patrons great racing, history, socialising, entertainment and so much more at Ireland’s most scenic racecourse.

With lots of ticket levels and packages including food and beverage options to choose from, whether it is close to the action general admission tickets or silver service fine dining, there is something for everyone at Killarney Races. Live music, fashion, and fun for all the family complement the best of summer racing at the track this August.

Thursday and Friday are evening meetings and Saturday is an afternoon event with all race cards offering seven thrilling races for spectators to enjoy each day.

Thursday is Sam Maguire evening. And to mark Kerry’s recent success and Killarney Races bi-centenary celebration, Killarney Races are offering an amazing deal on the opening day of their three-day event. On Thursday August 18 patrons will enjoy admission, a racecard and a €5 free bet all for €20! The first race is approximately 5pm with gates open from 3pm. Come early, bring along your jersey and camera, it’s going to be a great evening.

Friday will see the new entrance officially open, as racing officials and elected representatives unlock the gate to the next 200 years at the popular Killarney track, first race at approximately 5pm with gates open from 3pm. With music on the lawn from Donal Lucey and from Tom Cats in the Jim Culloty bar after racing the après racing party is sure to be a ‘winner alright’!

Saturday is AYU Ladies Day and all about the glamour as fashionistas bring the curtain down on AugustFest in fine style. AYU is an Irish based and Irish owned cosmetics company set up by renowned make-up artist Suzie O’Neill. With over €1,500 in prizes for the most stylish ladies to dress up for, what’s not to love! Gates open from 12 noon with the first off at approximately 2pm.

“At AugustFest we will be celebrating a major milestone here at Killarney Races, 200 years of racing in Killarney which is amazing,” Killarney Racecourse Chairman, Gerard Coughlan said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all locals and visitors to Killarney to come along and be part of the 200 year celebrations and share in this historic moment with us as we officially open the gates on the next 200 years! It’s a rare opportunity to be able to say ‘I was there the day they celebrated the bi-centenary’ anywhere and what a great story to share with the grandchildren in years to come. On that note, we are looking forward to welcoming multiple generations of families during AugustFest, so make a plan and come along and join us for what will be a most remarkable festival at our beautiful boutique racecourse this August!”

The feature race on the opening day of AugustFest is the Vincent O’Brien Ruby Stakes (listed), the Kingdom Gold Cup Handicap of €50,000 and the Gain Advantage Race Series. On Friday, the day two feature is the Grade B Handicap Hurdle of €50,000 and the EBF Novice Hurdle, with four competitive chase races. The final day of the festival the feature is the Grade B Handicap Chase of €50,000.

Adult tickets are available from €20 and children under 14 go free ensuring a great day out for all the family. For those who love a deal, the “Punter’s Pack” is a great value-added option and if you want to live it up check out the Maurice O’Donoghue Suite and Panoramic Restaurant options.

For all ticket details and festival programme information visit killarneyraces.com.

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Jessie Buckley’s album shortlisted for prestigious award

Killarney superstar Jessie Buckley has been shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize Album of the Year. Her collaboration with Bernard Butler ‘For All Our Days That Tear the Heart’ is […]

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Killarney superstar Jessie Buckley has been shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize Album of the Year.

Her collaboration with Bernard Butler ‘For All Our Days That Tear the Heart’ is one of 12 albums shortlisted for the prestigious award which will be revealed in London on September 8.

“Neither of us really knew each other and it was actually a blessing in disguise because we met each other in the moment and trusted each other, took a leap of faith and in a way come in just the way we were and not because of who we are,” she told a press conference at the awards announcement in London last week.

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