The unsung hero of the Cork City Sports event in the Cork Institute of Technology Stadium this week was Fr Liam Kelleher who has done so much work in promoting sports especially among the youth of our Nation.
Fr Kelleher, based in Cobh and who celebrated 50 years in the priesthood recently, trained the underage Cobh Ladies Football team to win the County Championship this year, the first at any level by a ladies team from Cobh.
He selected four 13-year-old girls to compete in the Evening Echo-sponsored Inter Firm relay — a four by 200m event.
Competing for the first time in an athletic event, the four young Cobh girls faced very stiff opposition from adult runners representing GE Healthcare, PWC, Cork County Council, Pepisco and the Evening Echo.
It was the first event of the meeting and to add to the tension these girls were feeling they had to stand to attention on the track to our national anthem. However, when the starter’s gun fired the Cobh ladies team went into the lead and increased their advantage continuously throughout the 800m event to win by close to 100m, an outstanding achievement especially as the girls had never practiced baton changing.
The four girls, Danessa Frawley, Caoimhe Gilmartin, Jane Devlin and Clodagh Murphy stood proudly on the victory rostrum to receive the very first prize at the Cork City Sports.
Fr Liam explained that it is his philosophy in sport is to achieve a very high fitness level and this was the foundation not alone for the Cobh girls first Inter County success but also how they totally out ran adult athletes in the five other competing teams.