Sunday 25 August 2019

McLoughlin makes little of broken toe to reign supreme

COMMUNITY GAMES

Niall McLoughlin. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Niall McLoughlin. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Niall McLoughlin broke his toe only a few weeks ago but in typical Community Games fashion he recovered to power to a devastating victory in the duathlon.

The second day of the May meet saw thousands more arrive at the University of Limerick looking to test themselves against their fellow elite Irish youngsters in the Aldi Community Games festival.

McLoughlin moved clear of the field early and romped to victory in front of his parents, Padraig and Nuala.

"He is his own manager, as far as discipline goes, he does it all himself," said his father, Padraig.

"When he was very small he did gymnastics and we began to notice that he was very athletic. It is all about the long, hard hours he spends training by myself.

Dream

"And he would have been a wee bit quicker today if he didn't break a toe sprinting up the stairs recently. His dream is to be a professional cyclist in the Tour de France."

McLoughlin is a Mayo native from Newport and eventually settled on cycling after playing football and cross-country running.

The duathlon event takes in a 1,400m run, 8km on the bike and then a further 1,400m running.

It was McLoughlin's first Community Games but years training with the Covey Wheelers and Anthony Murray at Multisport had him well-prepared.

"He is very dedicated and just loves it," said Nuala McLoughlin. "It's his personality, he is very focused and when he puts his mind to something he is a very determined young man.

"Anytime he is free and isn't training, he spends it watching races on the television.

"The broken toe isn't holding him back either, it was strapped together today and he did fine. He has a huge level of fitness and when he trains he comes back from doing 100km and it hasn't taken much out of him.

"He loves practising around home because of the big hills and he just keeps at it. It is exciting for us watching on."

Westlife's Shane Filan was in the middle of a busy five-night Belfast tour and couldn't make it to UL, where his son Patrick Filan was competing for Sligo champions Rosses Point in the mini rugby.

But Meath mothers Eimer Leonard and Elaine Kearney left for Limerick at 7am with daughters Amber Rose Rathcliffe and Katie Kearney, who were involved in the quiz. They had to be back in Meath for an U-12 football league final at 5pm.

Yesterday's events began at 9am again and concluded at 4.30pm with the U-16 Group Music before the presentations.

"It's another great day for the Aldi Community Games," said Community Games CEO John Byrne.

"We are thrilled with the turnout. The parents really bought into it again and that is a massive help because without them this wouldn't be possible."

Irish Independent

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