Community news: Castleisland

The Community Games basketball national finals were on in the University of Limerick campus this year for the first time and a huge crowd from Castleisland travelled up both days to support the 40 youngsters playing.

The first games took place Saturday morning at 10am and we had three teams playing at the same time. Our Under-11 mixed team met Kilcock of Kildare and had a tight first quarter. They shook off the cobwebs in the second quarter and took a great lead which they held onto for the rest of the game to win 11-5.

The Under-13 girls were on in the next court against Portlaoise. This game was close from the start with both teams fighting hard for their spot in the final. The Portlaoise girls took the lead in the last quarter at 15-14, but our girls were not going to give up and gave it everything. It paid off, and we won 21-19.

The Under-13 boys were on the third court against Johnstown of Kildare. The first quarter was a tight affair but, again, our lads were not letting this game go and pushed ahead in the second and third quarters getting some excellent scores and steals.

Going into the fourth quarter the Castleisland boys had a 10-point advantage and they did not let this go in any point of the quarter to win 27-17.

The Under-16 girls were on at midday against Malahide of Dublin. Malahide took early advantage of our foul-trouble and went ahead 14-10 in the first quarter. The girls were not going to miss their chance, however, of the final and pulled again in the second quarter to lead at half time 29-24.

For the third and fourth quarters we held our lead and ran out winners on a 48-41 scoreline.

Onto Sunday and all our teams were into the finals against Maree of Galway; again our three younger teams were on at the same time again.

On court one we had the Under-11 mixed team. We took the lead in the first quarter 6-4 and held onto it in the second, 8-5.

In the third, Maree starting fighting back for this title and took advantage of the free throws to lead 9-8 going into the last quarter.

It went down to the wire with Castleisland getting loads of shots off but none hitting the target. With less than a minute left, Castleisland dug deep to get four points and claim their first All-Ireland Gold medal on a 12-9 scoreline.

On court two our Under-13 girls were in action, and this was another cracker. Castleisland took the lead 5-2 in the first quarter but Maree were always going to fight back and at half-time the lead was cut to 10-9.

In the third quarter we edged ahead again at 14-11.

The last quarter started with both teams giving everything. Maree were slowly getting closer to us, and a nail-biting finish saw us finish level at 16 -16.

Extra-time started and you could see straight away that the Castleisland team wanted this gold and were going out for it. They all gave it everything and when the buzzer went we had won 20-16.

On court three the Under-13 boys were on and from start to finish they proved what a fantastic team there are.

In the first quarter some excellent plays were set up and our rebounding was top-class as we went ahead 11-4.

In the second quarter, Maree started a comeback but the Castleisland lads were not going to give up easily. The half time score was 18-13.

The third quarter started and again we pushed on with excellent team work to go ahead 25-16. In the fourth quarter all 10 players showed their class and determination to win this title 33-20.

At midday our Under-16 girls were on court. They were up against a very strong Maree side and we were already down to eight players with injuries. The Maree side took the early lead as we got into foul trouble, and the lead was 14-6 at the end of the first quarter.

Some good play by Castleisland at the start of the second quarter saw us edge closer to them but, again, they had free throw after free throw and went ahead again 28-14. The Castleisland girls never gave up throughout the match and got some excellent scores but that early lead Maree got was still there at 41-19 going into the last quarter.

Again our local girls fought hard and gave it their all but Maree just proved too strong and the final score was 49-31 in their favour.

All 40 players, their parents and supporters met at the top of the hill in Castleisland for our parade through the town. It was some sight to see the red and black colours flying high and a procession of up to 60 cars going up and down the town. It was then on to Cordal where Hughes' Bar had set up a great evening for all the families.

Closures are not enough to stop races

The organising committee behind Castleisland Horse and Pony Races say that it's the oldest race meeting in the country and is now in its 159th year.

There probably isn't a road in this area which hasn't hosted the 'Castleisland Races' in one of its fields down through all those years.

Settled in Powell's Road now since 2002, the 2018 running of the event will take place on the lands of Maurice Brosnan on Sunday, June 10, at 1 pm.

The committee has gone out of its way to by-pass the fears of those travelling from all over Munster and possibly beyond.

They have been listening to the constant AA Roadwatch bulletins which alerts people to the closure of the road between Castleisland and Farranfore.

'The Road May Be Closed - But The Races Go Ahead On Sunday, June 10 @ Powells Road' according to a friendly sign among all those which carry warnings at the Eugene Leonard Roundabout.

That there are two sides to any coin was proven by races chairman Charlie Farrelly last week.

Charlie looked at the brighter side of the said coin and asked the main contractors of the job at Dysart Bridge for advertising for his racing programme.

They facilitated cheeky Charlie's request and even sponsored a series of adverts for the races on Radio Kerry.

This year's day at the races will include a sports day beginning at 12 noon in the race track.

This is a family fun day for all with races for the Under-6s up to the Under-16 boys and girls. There will also be face painting and a bouncing castle.

The horse races will include a 10-race card with all the top jockeys on that circuit taking part.

The card will include a local race and anyone wishing to enter this is advised to ring Charlie Farrelly on 087 205 61 50.

Just a short few years ago, Paul Townend, Jack Kennedy and Oisín Murphy raced in Castleisland at the beginning of their careers.

Now Townend and Kennedy can be found among those lining up for the Grand National at Aintree or the Gold Cup in Cheltenham while Murphy has had some notable successes on the flat in recent years.

On the charitable aspect of the racing festival here, a total of €133,875 has been raised for over the past 13 years. All this money went to deserving, local charities.

The beneficiaries chosen for the 2018 windfall are: Scoil Ide, Curranes National School; Kerry Stars Olympics from the races themselves; and Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál will benefit from the Drive-in Bingo which will be held in the Castleisland Co-Op Mart grounds on Sunday, June 17. Glebe Lodge will be the beneficiary of the Humphrey Murphy Memorial 5km and 10km fun run which will start at Limerick Road at 7pm on Friday, June 8th.

Donations will also go to Castleisland Senior Citizens' Christmas Party; and St Ita's and St Joseph's School.

Knockachur native and London resident, ROL Construction managing director Mortimor Reidy, has come on board again as the main sponsor. A host of local sponsors have also thrown their weight and financial assistance behind the events again this year.

"The committee members are extremely grateful for all the support received from all these sources; without them it would not be possible to stage the events," said committee PRO Pat Hartnett.

Church collection proves a success for KMHA

Kerry Mental Health Association (KMHA) Castleisland District Branch members wish to thank the community for its contribution to their recent annual church gate collection.

The collection raised €1,395. The branch covers Castleisland, Cordal, Scartaglin, Knocknagoshel, Ballymacelligot and Clogher, Currow and Currans.

The branch also raises funds through its charity shop, Second Chance, which is located at 105 Main Street in Castleisland.

The shop was opened in 2012 and is a great success. The generosity of the community in the locality is greatly appreciated by the branch members and shop management.

Worn out items that can't be sold such as clothes, shoes, bags, curtains and more are recycled.

"Second Chance is the only charity shop in Castleisland that directly supports local activity for the town and district," said spokesperson Joan Brosnan.

"All of our funds support local projects in the Castleisland and district area. Our branch was opened in 2001 and is run completely by volunteers. We support the Shanowen Day Place Centre in Castleisland having provided a bus for transport, ongoing funding for outings, therapies, etcetera.

"Major funding is also given to the Castleisland Community Garden. This project is most welcome in the community and provides a great social role in bringing the community together.

"We also support mental health services in the community along with individuals when they are identified to us.

"Each branch of KMHA raises funds in their own locality and all funds are managed by the local volunteers and available to be used within the community.

"The main base for KMHA is Ross Products in Killarney, an Approved Housing Body providing housing to people who are being supported by HSE Mental Health Services.

"These houses are spread across our communities in Kerry and are both supported and non-supported. Our books are audited annually," Ms Brosnan concluded.

More information can be found in the KMHA website:

Secondary schools look back on a very successful Transition Year

St Patrick's and Presentation Secondary schools held their Transition Year Graduations and Awards night last week.

In a packed St John's Hall, parents, family and friends of the Transition Year class of 2017-18 looked back on a year of full of learning, development, challenges and enjoyment.

The Transition Year students took the crowd through a presentation on their year, explaining the experiences they had learned most from, the fun they had on a variety of trips, and they shared their reflections on where they had progressed most as individuals.

The 52 students were then presented with their certificates; booklets, including their Transition Year Cert; first-aid qualifications; safe-food qualifications; driver education certs; junk kouture competition certs and a variety of in-school certificates for a range of achievements throughout the year.

Students also achieved bronze Gaisce medals for their completion of the President's Award Programme during their TY.

During Monday evening's event the TY classes had their portfolios of work on display around the hall.

These extremely impressive portfolios charted their academic and holistic progress, allowing students to display their own individual talents combined with their school work.

As is the nature of school life, the conveyor belt of brilliance moved on when, on Tuesday, May 29, an induction day for next year's TY students was held to give them a glimpse ahead to their TY 2018/19 and to encourage participation in team-building activities.

Medal double for Castleisland in All-Ireland boxing championships

Two young women from Castleisland represented Kerry and Munster in the National Stadium in Dublin on May 26. They fought their hearts out for the honour and glory of the Sliabh Luachra Boxing Club; one of them won her second Irish title and the other an All-Ireland silver medal. Sliabh Luachra Boxing Club member Katelyn Horan won her second Irish title on that weekend while Kerry and Munster Champion Danielle O'Neill came away with a hard-earned All-Ireland silver medal

Katelyn won the title in the 'Girl 4' 55kg in the National Stadium.

Her first was in 2015 at the same venue in the 'Girl 1' 48kg category. In that final, Katelyn gave a boxing masterclass in defeating an opponent to whom she was giving a height advantage of at least four inches.

Now in 2018, Katelyn is Kerry, Munster and All-Ireland champion. She made it through to the finals after a series of tough bouts in her qualifiers.

She kept the club colours flying with a hard-fought semi-final win on Friday, May 19, against Kelly Hefferan of Geesala Boxing Club, County Mayo on a 2-1 split decision.

On Saturday she came up against a very strong and experienced opponent in Brainna Coleman.Ms Coleman was last year's Irish champion and is from the Jobstown Boxing Club in Dublin. In the final, the first two rounds were very close as the girls scored some great shots on each other.

Her coaches had a chat with Katelyn and then asked her to change her combinations in the final round.

She came out for the title-deciding round and threw every punch she had been asked to and out-boxed her opponent from the start to the final bell.

Coaches John O'Connell, Barry Walsh and John Coffey couldn't be happier with her performance as she clinched her second title in three years and brought honour and glory to her club and community.

Katelyn's club-mate, Danielle O'Neill, boxing in the 'Y2' 50kg category, won her semi-final impressively in Dublin as she stopped her Ulster opponent in the third round. In her final she came up against a very good boxer from Baldoyle, Dublin. Danielle boxed very well for the full three rounds and her All-Ireland silver medal was earned the hard way.