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Three Killarney men take on 2,500km cycle challenge

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WILD WAYS: Brothers Donnacha Cassidy (foreground) and Benny Cassidy pictured leaving home in The Park on Wednesday for the epic challenge.

 

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By Sean Moriarty

 

Three Killarney men set off from Derry on Thursday in an attempt to cycle the entire Wild Atlantic Way.

The famed 2,500km driving route passes through nine counties and three provinces, stretching from county Donegal's Inishowen Peninsula in Ulster to Kinsale, County Cork, in Munster.

Brothers Benny and Donnacha Cassidy from The Park, and Tom Daly who is secretary of Killarney Cycling Club, have set a target of between 300 and 500kms of cycling a day and hope to arrive in the County Cork tourist town within six days. Their daily target will depend on weather and other prevailing conditions.

Benny is no stranger to ultra-cycling events and only last weekend finished fourth on the Cycling Ireland sanctioned Donegal Atlantic Way Ultra Cycle. He completed that event in 19.5 hours and only stopped for a total of 20 minutes.

Last weekend’s route started and finished in Letterkenny and covered the Inishowen Peninsula as well as the entire coastline of County Donegal.

[caption id="attachment_33667" align="alignleft" width="258"] HILLS OF DONEGAL: Benny Cassidy passes through Mamore Gap on last weekend's Donegal Atlantic Way Ultra Cycle with his father Brendan driving their support vehicle.[/caption]

His brother Donnacha, and Tom, revisited most of last weekend’s route on Friday before heading south from Donegal town.

The brother’s father Brendan acted as support vehicle driver last weekend but this week they are on their own.

“Cycling Ireland events require a support vehicle, especially for the night sections,” Brendan told the Killarney Advertiser. “I know how hard it was as I had to drive for those 19 hours. This week’s event is about personal challenges rather than a competition.”

The trio hope to arrive in Kinsale by Tuesday. Their finish estimate is based on Benny’s previous solo attempt in 2018 when he took six days to complete the challenge.

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Muckross Rowing Club members on Irish teams for two major regattas

  Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events. Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse […]

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Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events.

Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta.

Daniel Fleming and Ian Coffey have both been selected for the Under 19 Irish squad to race at the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta for European junior rowers. The Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta, involving 16 European countries, will be held over from over three days, August 9-11 in Racice, Czechia.

Four Under 23 university rowers from the Muckross club have also been selected as part of the Senior Irish squad for the Home International Regatta this month.

Niamh Coffey (University of Limerick), Patrick Buckley (University of Limerick), Finn O’Sullivan (University of Limerick) and Ethan O’Neill (University College Cork Rowing Club) will take on the ‘Triple Crown’ event of rowing, competing for Ireland against crews from England, Scotland and Wales.

The Home International Regatta will be held on Saturday, July 27 in Strathclyde, Scotland.

All six Muckross rowers have earned their green jerseys following a lengthy and testing trial series on land and water which began in Autumn 2023 and culminated in final water trials at the end of June.

“Muckross Rowing Club sends its best wishes to the very talented Muckross oarsmen and women and all their crewmates as they fly the flag for Ireland this summer. The talented group build on a successful record in the sport,” said club PRO Tim O’Shea.

Niamh Coffey is a multiple Irish and University Championship winner and has previously represented Ireland in the Under 23 European Championships.

In 2022, O’Neill rowed at Junior level at the Home International event and won a gold medal as part of the Irish quadruple scull crew in the 500m sprint event.

Both Buckley and O’Sullivan continue to compete at the highest level nationally with the University of Limerick Rowing Club,  and join the Irish squad for the first time this year.

The international selections come at an exciting time before the Olympic Regatta in Paris, where Zoe Hyde (Tralee Rowing Club) will be among the largest Irish rowing contingent of 16 rowers to contest an Olympic Games.

Killorglin native Zoe has previously rowed for both Killorglin and Muckross rowing clubs and will race the Women’s Double event for Ireland with Alison Bergin (Fermoy Rowing Club) in Paris.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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