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Launch of Thurles Sports Fest

posted 29 Jun 2015, 05:42 by Brodersen Ridgley
The launch of Thurles Sports Fest took place in conjunction with Tipp FM in Thurles Sarsfields Social Centre on Friday evening last and proved an outstanding success. 

The event was attended by Cllr Michael Fitzgerald, Mayor of County Tipperary, Donnacha McNamara and Ciaran Lynch from LIT Thurles.  Michael Bourke, Chairman of Tipperary County GAA Board, Michael Maher Sarsfields Chairman, John O’Shaughnessy President Thurles Chairman of Commerce, Susan Green President Ból Cumann Na hEireann, local Councillors Seamus Hanafin, Jackie Cahill, David Doran, and Tipperary Rose Allison Brolan.

The  comprehensive events, workshops, activities and programme were outlined by Festival Chairman Cllr Jim Ryan. The detailed programme of events received  a very enthusiastic response from the large audience and is seen as a blueprint for the promotion of Sports Tourism in Thurles and Tipperary. 

The nine day festival features 24 sports, national and international, as well as very attractive musical and cultural events.  All speakers outlined the benefits for the town and surrounding areas.  The positive feedback to this unique festival is very encouraging and has the potential to become a major international event. The target market for the first year is the Thurles and Tipperary diaspora.  Thurles was the 2012 European Town of Sport and was only pipped by Westport for a similar award in 2015.

Thurles Sports fest and its enthusiastic young committee deserves all the  support they get.  The Festival Starts on Friday July 3rd and runs to Saturday July 11ththe programme of events is being circulated to all households.
The committee are appealing to the people of Thurles and surrounding areas to invite your friends from home and abroad to come and support our festival. The extensive programme has something to appeal to all tastes.  Come and enjoy the sports, excellent music, fun run, cycling and craic.

Top Class Hurling for Tom Semple Cup
Twelve teams have entered the Tom Semple Cup. It is now the most prestigious senior hurling tournament in Ireland. This invitation only tournament has attracted teams for the USA, Europe and UK. The first winners were Kilburn Gaels while  last year’s winners were Coolderry from Offaly.

This year’s entrants are:
Ballybrown, Ballingarry, Clonoulty Rossmore,Borris Kilcotten, Na Piarsaigh (Limerick)Newtownshandrum, Knockaney, Oulaght na Ballagh, Passage (Waterford), Patrickswell, St Vincents (Dublin), Nenagh Eire Og.Reserve team - Thurles Sarsfields

It is a 13-aside competition with panel of 18. It will be run on a group basis. Top teams in each group play for the Tom Semple Cup. Second place teams play for the Carew Cup. Third place teams play for the Cantwell Cup.
There are strong Tipperary connections with many teams. Ken Hogan trains Borris Kilcotten. The secretary of Patrickswell is Michael Ryan of Toomevara. Thurles’ own Colm Rourke is a selector with St Vincents, Dublin. It is great to have St Vincents back, they had many great tussles with the Sars’ of old.  Former Dúrlas ÓG and Sarsfields player Ger Collins is bringing Naomh Moneen from Louth. Stephen Mason is captain of Passage East, Waterford and Eoin Brislane is manager of Ballybrown. 

John Lannigan senior  took many great Sarsfield’s teams around the country. His son John is now at the helm of Thurles Sports Fest and Thurles Sarsfield’s Festival of Gaelic Sport.

After the highly successful launch of the Tom Semple book, it is indeed fitting that the Tom Semple Cup be competed for on Munster Final weekend.

For the first time Thurles Gaels have joined Thurles Sarsfields to make this festival a  parish event. All the local GAA bodies are involved, Dúrlas Óg for juvenile hurling, camogie for the Helen O’Mara cup and ladies football for the Enda McDonnell Cup. For the second year Pat McKenna and Ken Conway of the Tipperary Handball Board are running a Handball Tournament in conjunction with the Festival.

Following the success of Thurles Sarsfields International Hurling Festival and the subsequent success of Thurles Sarsfields Festival of Gaelic Sport Croke Park has now decided to launch its new Game of Recreational Rounders in Tipperary.  It is an adaption of the ancient game of Rounders to bring the duration of the game back to 45 mins It is a seven aside game with mixed male and female participants with three rolling subs.  

At a recent meeting in the Anner Hotel, Croke Park promoting officer Aideen Howlin outlined the request from Croke Park to the Rounders President Joe Donoghue, Andy Ryan, Tipperary County GAA board, John Lanigan and John Enright to establish the game in Tipperary.

The initial competition will be run in conjunction with Thurles Sports Fest.  It is a social game which we hope will prove to be very popular. Teams from pubs, business houses, firms and social clubs are invited to enter.  It is a fast moving game great fun and can be played by all age groups.  This is something new and another first for Thurles.  Andy Ryan is very enthusiastic about its prospects and it demonstrates a vote of confidence in Thurles Sports Fest.  It is history in the making, Tipperary leads Ireland follows.

Road Bowling To Set Up In Thurles
This is the Third Year of the Michael Cusack Inter Provincial Road Bowling Competition and the Second Year of the Inter GAA Road Bowling Competition for the John Enright Shield.  Following the success of the past two years Bórd Cumann Na hEireann are anxious to expand their association in Tipperary.  Thurles Sports Fest is being used to put the game on a formal footing in the county.

The introduction of Social Bowling and Target Ball are very much part of Bórd Cumann Na hEireann’s  expanding ambitions.  It is fitting that Thurles, the founding place of the GAA, is the launch pad for this venture.  
Anyone interested in road bowling should come along to Cormackstown Cross to see excellent competition on Saturday July 4th @ 12 mid day.  It may be of special interest to Cork people living in the county.
Following the launch of the festival at the weekend it is now all systems go for the hard working and dilligent organising committee. If you feel that you might be able to give a hand, can spare a few hours, or would like to get involved in the Sports Fest, please come forward, give your name to the organisers and enjoy what will be a very special festival.