On Monday next, November 26, Killarney will pay tribute to some of its elite athletes at an innovative event aimed at inspiring and educating the sportspeople of the future.
‘Strategies for Life’, which is being hosted by the Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce and AIB, will take place in the Great Southern Hotel and provide chamber members, local sporting clubs and aspiring athletes the opportunity to hear how successful sportspeople set goals, hold themselves accountable and overcome challenges.
MC for the night will be esteemed strength and conditioning coach Joe O’Connor who recently helped his home county, Limerick, to a historic All-Ireland hurling title. Joe, who lives in Tralee, has a wealth of experience in top-level sports having previously earned plaudits for his work with the Kerry footballers, the Waterford hurlers and the Clare hurlers. He will also be a familiar face to fans of the popular RTÉ show ‘Ireland’s Fittest Family’.
Speaking to the Killarney Advertiser, AIB Regional Manager and event organiser Tomás Griffin said the goal with this event was to create something different that was ‘genuinely about Killarney’.
“Killarney punches way above its weight in relation to a lot of things,” Tomás said. “From a business point of view, it’s a great town and the Chamber of Commerce do lots of great things in that regard. But in a sporting context, we’ve had five people who have competed in the Olympic games, Gillian O’Sullivan, Paul Griffin, Cathal Moynihan, Seán Casey and Peter Maher. The probability of someone becoming an Olympian is one-millionth of one percent. Killarney has a higher number of Olympic athletes than any town of its size in this country, if not on the planet.
“These five come from minority sports and the town has a lot of these kinds of sports, so we said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could learn from these guys?’ – but also to recognise them.”
Luckily, all five Olympians are able to attend the event and all will receive special presentations on the night. Tomás is hopeful that anyone who comes along, whether athlete or non-athlete, will pick up some invaluable life skills from these local heroes.
“We’ll be getting the opinions of these guys on issues like nature versus nurture – the 10,000 hours guy versus the talent guy. I think you can see the relevance of that from business perspective as well, and why that’s important in a town like Killarney. We’ll also discuss the importance of rest and listening to your body.”
AIB and the Chamber have been reaching out to clubs around the town in the hope that as many aspiring athletes, their family members and their coaches will attend and be inspired.
“This event is going to be wide-ranging,” Tomás added. “And it will be very different to what’s readily available to people.”