25 July 2018

Track-Attack’s Presidential Run

A Resounding Success

The baton been handed to Pat Keane by Aoibheann
at the end of the Track Attack Presidential Run in Borrisoleigh on
Saturday night.,

Last weekend saw over 230 people jump aboard the Track-Attack rollercoaster and travel on the most amazing sporting journey imaginable. The sun shone and highlighted some of the Emerald Isles breath-taking scenery that saw the participants trek over 500km in 49 hours using 4 different disciplines namely walking, running, cycling and swimming.

To kickstart proceedings on Thursday night, a colour run and family filled fun night was held in the park in Borrisoleigh. What developed was a joy to behold. The place was awash with kids wearing white t-shirts and when former inter county hurler Paddy Stapleton had them warmed up and counted down, colour powder filled the place to create a spectacular sight followed by an estimated 700 people take to the track for a 2.5km run/walk.

Group of juveniles at the Colour Run

To add to the atmosphere, JP O’Meara spun the hits while all the kids beamed with joy when playing in the bouncy castles and bubble soccer which were supplied on the night by Matts Bouncy Castles of Borrisoleigh.

Soon it was time to take to the roads. Stage one saw 30 participants walk the 5km from Borrisoleigh to the GAA pitch in the Ragg. Spirits were high and the great atmosphere was still hugely evident. Next up was a 10km run to Holycross Abbey. The Kilcommoners, Tom, Rachel, Ollie, Mags, Siobhan, Aoibheann, Marie, Matt and Mike were out in force for this one where they were joined by Mick Ryan and Eamon McGrath, Martin McGrath and Laura Bourke. Darkness had set in which only added to the atmosphere. 

The plan for the next 10km leg was to split it in two and do two 5km legs. On arriving in Holycross, the plan had changed however and all 8 had decided to give it a lash. Not only were they able for it, they arrived at their destination ahead of time so congrats to Christine, Evelyn, Laura, Mary, Marie, Patrice, Paula and Siobhan.

Next up was the turn of the Templederry/Gurtagarry combo. On leaving Boherlahan, it was destination Rockwell. They were buzzing and the 11km just flew by. They even stopped for a photo at a certain establishment in Cashel and it wasn’t the Rock of Cashel!!! On reaching the gates of the college, they were beaming so take a bow Niamh, Sarah, Sharon, Tara, Fiona, Aisling, Triona and Louise.

Next up was a 33km run into our first ancestral home of former American President Ronald Reagan. John Vahey, Eddie Martin, Austin Ryan and Ger Bourke were joined by Mike Gleeson and Ailbe Cummins and they brought the rollercoaster ride from darkness into dawn in the village of Ballyporeen.

Our next leg saw us change code as 6 participants jumped on their bikes and undertook a 100km cycle over the hilly terrain of the Vee. Along the way they encountered Wanderly Wagon while one of the local ewes tried to derail the train when dropping a hill at 50km an hour!!! Sure what else would you be doing at 6am on a Friday morning. Mount Melleray in West Waterford was their destination and the sextet of Trevor, Christy, John, Therese, Tom and George duly arrived in great spirits.

The seaside town of Dungarvan was the next destination. As part of a 34km trek, Daniel, Micheal, Declan and Pat were joined for the first 10km by The two Martina’s, Mary, Catherine, Paddy and Therese. For 5km, we went off road down through the magnificent views in Glenshelane Wood until we reached the split just beyond Cappoquin.

Track-Attackers Martina, Catherine, Mary, Therese, Martina and Paddy

On nearing Clonea, the next changeover occurred and Helena, Mags, Rena, Richie, Trish, Frances, Norah and John Joe took the baton and headed to Kilmacthomas via the some of the most stunning scenery that this country has to offer on the Waterford Greenway. In Kilmac’ they were met by Teresa, Betty, Caroline, Mary and Margaret and they continued to bring the journey to Bilberry in Waterford.

Next up was the trek up through the Deise City and out to the fishing village of Passage East. Laura Bourke, Sinead O’Meara, Siobhan Carr and Noreen Ryan were the quartet that negotiated this part of the trip.   

Laura Bourke, Sinead O’Meara, Noreen Ryan and Siobhan Carr

Here saw another change of code. We took to the water and swam from Passage across the Barrow River to Ballyhack. On arrival at the pier, we were met by Eileen Finn and the crew from Lough Derg Sub-aqua club and Michael Connors and his crew who are fishermen in the local area. Fergal Nolan, who travelled over from London to do this swim was joined by Sean Ryan and Deirdre Wall in what was one of the highlights of the weekend. It was poetry in motion watching the trio tackle to tide and it was a task that they performed with ease and before long, we were back on dry land in Co. Wexford and heading for the ancestral home of John F. Kennedy in New Ross.

16 of our good friends from the Fit4Life club in Templemore clocked up this 21km trek. Although we were heading into Darkness, we still witnessed some of the fabulous ocean views of places like Arthurstown. As the clock approached 11pm, the cavalry hit the JFK Flame on the quays of New Ross. Well done to Noel, Tommy, Tadgh, Siobhan, Delores, Jimmy, Larry, Martina, Patricia, Tricia, Breda, Paddy, Emma, Aoife, Valarie and James. A huge thanks here to Joe Kennedy who provided us with a bus for this leg of the event.

It was now the levels of effort were to be cranked up a few notches!! Donal, Mary, David, Christy, Sean and Emmet embarked on the first of two 50km runs through the night. They headed for Waterford, Mooncoin and onto Carrick-on-Suir and the level of achievement on finishing this should not be underestimated. An outstanding accomplishment by all.

The next 50km saw the quintet of Paddy, Owen, Denis, Michael and Eddie take in the thoroughfares of places like Windgap, Callan, Kilkenny City and finish close to the village of Ballyragget. Just like the previous group, this achievement is on highest part of the scales and something that all the participants should be extremely proud of.

Ballyragget to the scarecrow town of Durrow was next on the menu. The team for this included Jacqueline, Donie, Pat, Noel, Caroline, Máire, Alan, Ann Marie, Martha and Michelle. The rollercoaster kept on moving and on their completion, the next group of cyclists were waiting to bring proceedings back to Clonmore.

The amazing achievement levels just kept on rising. Donal Ryan after finishing his 50km run a few hours beforehand jumped onto a High-Nellie and cycled the 30km, He was joined by Christy Slattery who also had a 50km run in the bag while Donie Kennedy, Pat and Jacqueline Minogue went straight from their run and onto the bike. Fergal Nolan also joined in following his swim the previous night. Catherine and Delia Ryan along with PJ Delaney, Marie McGrath and Kathryn Harty were joined by many more members of the Borrisoleigh Cycling Club to ensure that the train was moving nicely towards its final destination.

We were now on our penultimate leg. A 30km run from Clonmore to our third ancestral home of Barrack Obama in Moneygall. Sinead O’Meara who had run the 20km from Bilberry to Passage the previous night joined the crew on the start line and not surprisingly, she was still with them at the finish. Another 50km in the bag. Sinead was joined by Carol, Ciara, JJ, Kathleen, Aoife, Eamon, Michelle, Anne and John and a great crowd awaited them at the plaza.

We were nearly there but as Track-Attack always like to do things a bit different from the normal, the final leg saw us go up and over the Devil’s Bit before arriving back to a thunderous reception in Borrisoleigh. 5 tough cookies headed over the hills namely John F, John (who was part of the 100km cycle team), Noel, Philip and Peter. They were joined with 10km to go by Helen, Carol and Phil and then at 5km to go by Martin, Denis, Martin and Cillian. With 3km to go, Therese, Aoibhinn and Ciara jumped aboard the train and then with 1.5km to go a huge number our juvenile members and their parents joined in flying their flags as they approached the square.

The atmosphere on arrival was electric. Springsteen’s Born in the USA blasted while the awaiting crowd cheered the entourage to the finish line. 500km was completed. An outstanding achievement by all involved. Participants displayed their finishing medals with pride and rightly so.

To everyone who participated, organised, helped out in any way and sponsors,  TAKE A BOW….. 

Bell Ringers

On Friday next, we welcome St Cualan’s hand- bell ringers guild to our parish. The will perform a marathon three hour peal, simultaneously, in both the Sacred Heart Church and Glenkeen graveyard. Feel free to come along to either of these venues at any time, to see and hear this unique and ancient craft being performed. It is an opportunity also, to say thanks, to these performers from SE London, who have chosen the name of the patron saint of our parish as the title of their guild.

Borrisoleigh Festival

Garda Martina Kelly, Lord Mayor Paddy Dolan, Fr Hennessy, Mrs Butler, Brenda Ryan, Ryans of Camden St. and Marie Shanahan Festival Chairperson

This years Borrisoleigh Festival was a great success with plenty of people from near and far enjoying all activities. There was tremendous excitement in the Square on Saturday night as the participants from the epic Track Attack Presidential Run returned home to a hero’s welcome. Well done to all involved in Track Attack, a shining example to the world of what can be achieved when people dedicated to a cause get together and create something that is truly unique. They really do put the ‘unity’ into ‘community’. 

Some of the participants in the Track Attack Presidential Run

The walk on Sunday with the Bush and Briar Ramblers had the largest number of walkers than previous festivals. The Wheelbarrow Extravaganza brought some great entries with the overall prize as voted by the public going to Kathleen Ryan who had obviously put a lot of effort into her entry ‘The Dog House’ as seen by the great detail included.

Enjoying the celebrations

The Line Dancers entertained the crowds with well choreographed moves until the Social Dancing began with Phil Maher’s Band. One of the highlights of the weekend was the surprise 70th birthday celebration for Phil Maher where his family joined him on stage with a cake. In a ‘This is Your Life’ kind of moment members from some different organisations that Phil has been involved with over the years paid tribute to his selfless generosity of time and expressed gratitude for his contribution to the social fabric that weaves the community of Borrisoleigh into the wonderful place that it is.

Surprise Party for Phil Maher

While emotional scenes were happening in the Square the young children of the Parish were well entertained with bouncy castles and games of skill in the Church grounds. The Yoga for Kids and Laughter Yoga for Adults presided over by Nora Shanahan proved a great success. Kids also had an opportunity to try their hand at willow weaving with artist Lynn Kirkham of Greenmantle Arts, the nationally acclaimed sculpture with well known works such as the sculpture of ‘Fionn MacCumhaill and his Hounds’ at the roundabout on Exit 12 in Kildare.

Plenty of kids entertainment

Live music in the Square kept everyone entertained on Sunday night with the duo of Dufrane taking over after Phil Maher’s Band. The always popular Silver Dollar then finished out the weekend’s entertainment with an energising collection of hit tunes.

Overall winner of wheelbarrow competition Kathleen Ryan with her sister Margaret and mother Effie


Winners of the Wheelbarrow Competition

Enjoying the Music

Winners of the Art Competition

For more photos compliments of Liam Ryan please click here


Pic of the Past ………..down memory lane

Ordination of Paddy Coffey, Chapel Street – 1937
Back: Kathleen Coffey, Mary Hammond, Rose Coffey,
John Hammond (holding his son Patrick), Fr. Paddy Coffey, Mary Coffey,
Mick Hammond, Jack Coffey and Paddy Hammond
Middle: Ethel Coffey, Nora Hammond (nee Keogh),
Bridget Hammond and Nora Coffey (nee Hammond)
In front: Willie Coffey

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