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The Cork Primary Schools Athletics programme, organised by Cork Sports Partnership, Munster Technological University (MTU), and Athletics Ireland, has successfully concluded its 2024 run. The programme, which saw participation from 50 schools across seven regions, has grown significantly, attracting over 1,500 primary school children.

Over the past weeks, 42 schools engaged in a comprehensive four-week training programme, culminating in regional events held across various locations in Cork. Schools from West Cork, East Cork, North Cork, Cork City South, Cork City North, Bantry, and Special Schools enthusiastically took part in this initiative.

Craig Harrington, Athletics Development Officer at Cork Sports Partnership and MTU, highlighted the programme’s importance:

“This event gives primary school children the opportunity to take part in athletics in a safe and supported environment. The programme is all about fun and participation while introducing children to the different disciplines athletics has to offer.”

As part of the programme, each participating school received four weeks of sessions with an athletics-qualified tutor, an equipment pack, and entry into their region’s culminating blitz. Sandra Murphy, a teacher from Carrigaline, praised the initiative, stating:

“The children really enjoyed the four sessions with the athletics coach. The equipment pack will help the teachers in our school to keep athletics as a sustainable part of our PE curriculum.”

A unique aspect of the programme involved transition year students from local secondary schools mentoring primary school children and demonstrating various athletics activities. These transition year students completed the Athletics Ireland Assistant Coach Course in preparation for the event. Michael Connern of St Brogan’s College, Bandon, noted:

“These blitz events give our transition years the opportunity to get on the Athletics Ireland coaching ladder and gain some supported coaching experience. This is our fourth year taking part in the Cork Sports Partnership programme.”

The programme, which runs from February to May, included three major events held at the state-of-the-art MTU Arena. Participants were thrilled to receive a visit from Irish Senior Long Jump Champion and MTU Scholarship student, Reece Ademola, adding an extra layer of excitement to the events.

The Cork Primary Schools Athletics programme continues to thrive, fostering a love for athletics among young students and providing invaluable experience for future coaches. As the programme grows each year, it remains a cornerstone of athletics development in Cork, ensuring a bright future for the sport in the region.