Monday 19 February 2018

Sky is the limit for high jumper Ciara after winning gold in national games

Ciara Kennelly, of Fossa, Co Kerry, in the high jump event during the Aldi Community Games
Festival 2017 at the National Sports Campus in Dublin. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Ciara Kennelly, of Fossa, Co Kerry, in the high jump event during the Aldi Community Games Festival 2017 at the National Sports Campus in Dublin. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Gavin White

Ambitions are reaching new heights for a young Kerry high-jump athlete who took gold and smashed her personal best at the Community Games.

Some 4,000 children from all over Ireland took part in more than 50 events - including GAA, athletics, soccer and art - at the National Sports Campus in Dublin.

Ciara Kennelly (15), from Killarney, said she was "absolutely delighted" after she jumped 1.74m and won gold.

Ciara also won gold at the Celtic Games in Dublin this summer.

The Community Games was the end of her season.

"I previously had jumped a height of 1.68m, so to get my personal best I'm thrilled," Ciara told the Irish Independent.

Hannah Moriarty (12), of Lucan, Dublin, in the long-jump event. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Hannah Moriarty (12), of Lucan, Dublin, in the long-jump event. Photo: Doug O'Connor

The talented athlete said that beside some cycling and swimming, she was focused on high jumping and she wanted to compete at the highest level possible.

Ciara said it was "very exciting" to have been competing in the Community Games.

After a month off, the athlete plans to return to training as she enters transition year in school.

She has set her sights high, with her dream to wear the green jersey and compete in the Olympics.

Ciara's coach Eamon Flanagan said her jump was "an impressive feat" for such a young athlete.

"I'd say there's only a couple of senior competitors who would have jumped that when they were her age," he said.

Mr Flanagan said Ciara was already near senior level, but said despite her lofty ambitions her feet remained firmly on the ground.

Another stellar young performer was Dublin 12-year-old Hannah Moriarty.

She won gold yesterday in the under-14 long-jump competition.

Hannah has already been crowned national champion for her age group, and though she is obviously talented at the long jump, she still plays multiple sports.

"Long jump is my favourite definitely," she said, but added she took part in multi-disciplinary competitions.

Hannah, from Lucan, said English Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill was her "hero" and that one day she hoped to represent Ireland in the Olympics and the World Championships.

Competing in the under-12 soccer final were Newport AFC from Tipperary, and Colga FC from Clarinbridge, Galway.

Colga coach David Silke said the kids were "thrilled" to be able to play on the same grounds as the national team.

"It's also brilliant because it brings the whole parish together," he said.

Irish Independent

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