By Mairéad Breen
WITHOUT a shadow of a doubt the highlight of Carlow Community Games calendar is the weekend of the county track and field athletics finals in Ardattin.
It is always one to look forward to and one which never fails to disappoint. While for some the ultimate reward is a medal of any colour, for many more it’s the thrill of the summer’s first banana split or the tray of chips lathered in curry sauce.
Saturday dawned bright and sunny, stirring wistful memories of the wonderful June weather that was 2018. And the day held up well. The twinkling sunshine reflected the joy and gaiety of the occasion.
Children’s cheers accompanied Jacqueline Kenny as she led the parade around the field to the strains of her uilleann pipes. The pledge was eloquently read as gaeilge by Katie Kelly from Tullow/Grange and in English by Katie Kinsella from Ballon/Rathoe.
Cathaoirleach of Carlow county council Johnny Pender welcomed everyone and after Anna Doyle from Rathvilly had set the bowl of flames alight, we were all set to go.
Slaney Valley were the first winners of the weekend, earning the shield for the best turned out area in the parade.
A number of field events were completed on the Saturday and with a weather warning in place for Sunday, as many semi-finals of track events as possible were completed on day one to leave only finals to be run on the busy Sunday ahead.
Carlow Community Games president Mrs Catherine Curran arrived at lunch time on Saturday to wish everyone well. In return, birthday greetings were extended to herself on the milestone of her 90th birthday which she had recently celebrated.
Despite numerous statues of the child of Prague being placed in windows at home on the Saturday evening, unfortunately Sunday’s weather certainly took a turn for the worse, although luckily not at all as bad as forecast.
Weather never dampens the spirit in Ardattin and finals were diligently run off on Sunday, starting with the youngest age categories.
In the final tally this year, St Lazerian’s gathered the most medals, earning for themselves the Hosey Cup.
At the end of the weekend there are always the triumphs, maybe sometimes tinged with disappointments, but most important of all are the memories made that will last a lifetime. That, as they say, is the secret of the attraction of Ardattin.