Thousands are expected to descend on Longford at the end of the month, as the county hosts the Community Games Leinster Finals.
The event will be launched at the Longford Rugby Club on Friday, June 27, with the finals hosted at various venues throughout the county on June 28 and 29.
Having started preparations as early as October of last year, Longford Community Games are facing into their second consecutive year hosting the event. Previously held in Carlow, Longford was asked to host the Leinster Finals in 2013, and were given the task again for this year.
Games Director of Longford Community Games, Paddy McPhillips, explains that hosting the games for the second year in a row is very good for the town and county.
The event comes after several Longford teams travelled outside the county to take part in the Leinster semi-finals, some of which will also be held in Longford at the end of the month. Mr McPhillips explains that excitement is building in the run up to the event, admitting “you might not have it for another ten or fifteen years, so you really want to make the most of it”.
Two key things in the planning, the Games Director adds, were finding venues for the various activities and making people feel welcome to the county. “We’re very lucky in that we have excellent venues in Longford,” he says.
The children are also looking forward to the event, and Mr McPhillips states that while it’s great for the locality, it’s also great for the local competitors who will have their home supporters behind them.
With a wide range of activities planned – from indoor soccer to draughts – the Community Games cater for every taste and ability, something which Mr McPhillips believes to be crucial.
“The big emphasis here is on participation. There’s something there for absolutely everybody and that’s the most important thing.”
Once again, the games are being sponsored by Pat the Baker, and Michael Meaney states that he is very much looking forward to the event.
“It really is about community and about community spirit, and it’s a family day out.”
Though a national bakery, employing over 400 people nationwide, Pat the Baker products are baked in Granard and Mr Meaney states that the company are always very conscious of, and loyal to their roots.
Adding that “it’s great to be involved” with the Community Games, Mr Meaney explains that the company try to support local activities as much as possible and continuously preach about buying local and keeping jobs local.
“We’re putting our money where our mouth is,” he said, concluding, “we’re asking people to support us and we’ll support them.”