Youngsters reach gold standard in Games
Published 24/08/2015 | 02:30
It's the festival where Leitrim can be All-Ireland football champions, dancers celebrate with badminton players and future stars are born.
More than 4,500 children spent the weekend competing in athletics and a variety of talent and team events at the Community Games finals in Athlone.
Household names including Rory O'Neill, aka Panti Bliss, Sonia O'Sullivan, Bressie, Tommy Bowe and Mark English are all former participants, so the standards are high - but volunteers are keen to stress the fun factor.
Amelia Roche (7), from Clonmacnoise, Co Offaly, and Saoirse Dillion (8), from Duagh Lyre, Co Kerry, were the best of friends as they waited to collect their medals from the girls 80m race.
"I was nervous at the end. I thought she won. It was really close," said Saoirse, who planned to celebrate her gold medal by going to the fun fair.
Among the volunteers were six members of the Ireland team who competed at the World Youth Olympics last year.
Daniel Ryan, from Tipperary, who has represented Ireland in the long jump and hurdles, was there to support his siblings, Daniel, Jack and Anna.