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Next stop, the Olympics! Community Games attracts thousands

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Shane Howe, David Spillane, Billy Courtney Kery U16 Boys relay team at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Shane Howe, David Spillane, Billy Courtney Kery U16 Boys relay team at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

St. Patricks Ige Makinde from Co. Cavan against Knocklyon's Eoin Behan and Gavin McConvile from Co. Dublin  in U13 Boy's Football Semi/Final at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

St. Patricks Ige Makinde from Co. Cavan against Knocklyon's Eoin Behan and Gavin McConvile from Co. Dublin in U13 Boy's Football Semi/Final at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Ciara Doyle and Aofia from Derg Co. Clare celebrate after winning Girls U13 Camogie Final at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Ciara Doyle and Aofia from Derg Co. Clare celebrate after winning Girls U13 Camogie Final at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

 Derg Team Co. Clare after winning Girls U13 Camogie Final at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Derg Team Co. Clare after winning Girls U13 Camogie Final at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Co. Kerry U14 girls Spikeball team at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Co. Kerry U14 girls Spikeball team at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

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Shane Howe, David Spillane, Billy Courtney Kery U16 Boys relay team at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Thousands of Irish children showed what the next generation of sport has to offer at the annual Community Games.

The 3,000 children who participated in this year's Community Games now join the ranks of Sonia O'Sullivan, Brian O'Driscoll and new world champion Rob Heffernan.

This weekend the thousands of athletes from every county in Ireland descended on Athlone Institute of Technology - the new home of the festival since it moved out of Mosney five year ago.

Community Games boost that it is "three days of games and not a console in sight"

The participants, aged between six and 16, took part in track and field, culture corner, Gaelic football and hurling, tennis, soccer, spikeball, variety shows and more.

For many the main attraction of the weekend was the funfair, staying away from their parents for first time and the disco.

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Ellie O' Toole and Kate Taylor from Co. Wicklow at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Ellie O' Toole and Kate Taylor from Co. Wicklow at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Lat Ifat, Orla Hanlon, Chole O' Neill, Jill O' Toole, Mary Kate Burke from Wicklow at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Lat Ifat, Orla Hanlon, Chole O' Neill, Jill O' Toole, Mary Kate Burke from Wicklow at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Boys U12 800 meters gets away at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Boys U12 800 meters gets away at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Roisin Rahilly from Co. Kerry crossing the finish line in U8's  2nd heat 80 meters sprint at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Roisin Rahilly from Co. Kerry crossing the finish line in U8's 2nd heat 80 meters sprint at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Kealan Hunter, Hugh O' Toole, Stephen Connolly from Co. Wicklow at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Kealan Hunter, Hugh O' Toole, Stephen Connolly from Co. Wicklow at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

 HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Eric Stritca Muleen Co. Limerick and Sarah Reynolds Carrick On Shannon Co. Leitrim in U10's Gaelic Football Semi/Final at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Eric Stritca Muleen Co. Limerick and Sarah Reynolds Carrick On Shannon Co. Leitrim in U10's Gaelic Football Semi/Final at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Shane Howe, David Spillane, Billy Courtney Kery U16 Boys relay team at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Shane Howe, David Spillane, Billy Courtney Kery U16 Boys relay team at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Co. Kerry U14 girls Spikeball team at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Co. Kerry U14 girls Spikeball team at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Mayo U14 girls Skipeball team at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Mayo U14 girls Skipeball team at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Ciara Doyle and Aofia from Derg Co. Clare celebrate after winning Girls U13 Camogie Final at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Ciara Doyle and Aofia from Derg Co. Clare celebrate after winning Girls U13 Camogie Final at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

The Voice behind the Community Games the last 25 years Anthony PA Anthony Fitzsimons at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

The Voice behind the Community Games the last 25 years Anthony PA Anthony Fitzsimons at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Ronan Cathalan and Jessica Moore from Co. Galway at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Ronan Cathalan and Jessica Moore from Co. Galway at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

 Derg Team Co. Clare after winning Girls U13 Camogie Final at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Derg Team Co. Clare after winning Girls U13 Camogie Final at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

St. Patricks Ige Makinde from Co. Cavan against Knocklyon's Eoin Behan and Gavin McConvile from Co. Dublin  in U13 Boy's Football Semi/Final at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

St. Patricks Ige Makinde from Co. Cavan against Knocklyon's Eoin Behan and Gavin McConvile from Co. Dublin in U13 Boy's Football Semi/Final at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Daniel Casey from Co. Kerry wins his U13 Mixed Relay first heat at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Daniel Casey from Co. Kerry wins his U13 Mixed Relay first heat at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Peggy Connolly National PRO HSE Community Games enjoying the Weather at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Peggy Connolly National PRO HSE Community Games enjoying the Weather at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Hollyanne Smith from Co. Kerry preparing before her MIxed U10 Relay while her Dad Eamon gives her hair a final brushing at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Hollyanne Smith from Co. Kerry preparing before her MIxed U10 Relay while her Dad Eamon gives her hair a final brushing at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Aine Ryan from Kilkenny U10 Mixed Relay Heat 1 at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Aine Ryan from Kilkenny U10 Mixed Relay Heat 1 at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Volunteer Mary Brett Kelly and Dr. Narih Eldin at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Volunteer Mary Brett Kelly and Dr. Narih Eldin at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Taking time out at the Fun Fair John Finn and Darren McElwaine from Co. Donegal at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Taking time out at the Fun Fair John Finn and Darren McElwaine from Co. Donegal at HSE Community Games in AIT Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

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Ellie O' Toole and Kate Taylor from Co. Wicklow at the HSE Community Games in Athlone. Photo molloyphotography

Despite reaching the semi-finals the Kerry under 16 relay team were just as excited about the side shows as their race.

The three-day festival depends on hundreds of volunteers to organise the events, take care of the children and clean up afterwards.

The HSE Community Games is in its 45th year and is going from strength to strength with the recent addition of new sports such as Duathlon and Futsal.

Other former participants include rugby stars Tommy Bowe, Ronan O'Gara and Sean O'Brien, soccer star Niall Quinn, actor Colin Farrell, popstars Una Healy and Shane Phelan and Jedward,

Community Games have two festival weekends each year and planning has already begun for next year's event.

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