Local Councillor, Charlie O’Connor, has welcomed the co-operation from South Dublin County Council in responding to his call to commemorate Joe Connolly, the founder of the Community Games.
Cllr O Connor was speaking as someone who had worked closely with Joe Connolly in the Community Games organisation as a PRO at Dublin and National level.
Joe Connolly was born in 1922 and first developed the idea of an organisation to provide healthy pursuits for children in his native Walkinstown, Dublin, in 1967. The initial games were held in 1968 and 3,000 children from 24 areas of Dublin participated in preliminary competitions with the finals being held at the John F Kennedy stadium in Santry.
Among the participants on that day included Eamon Coghlan, who went on to find fame in world athletics.
Other Irish sporting legends who competed in the Community Games down the years are Roy Keane, Sonia O’Sullivan, Michael Carruth and Niall Quinn.
Actor Colin Farrell won a gold medal in the Dublin games while representing Castleknock when the area team won the boys’ relay U17 (4 x 100m) in 1992.
Nobel prize winner John Hume once described the Community Games as “the organisation with the greatest vision on the island.”
Last Sunday the 18th of June, Mayor Guss O’Connell, in the presence of members of the Connolly Family and the President of the National Community Games, Gerard Davenport, unveiled a memorial plaque dedicated to Joe Connolly, the Community Games founder, who died in 2008.
The event took place in Tymon Park and marked the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Community Games.
Today, the Aldi Community Games caters for 160,000 children and approximately 20,000 volunteers in over 575 areas throughout the country. There is now also a culture and arts section so children get an opportunity to experience an even wider range of activities.
Speaking at the unveiling, Mayor O’Connell said;
“South Dublin County Council values the great contribution that Sports and Recreation brings to our communities and I am delighted to have been asked by Cllr Charlie. O’ Connor and his colleague Cllr.Mick Duff to host an event to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Community Games.
“As one of my last events as Mayor, I have been given the opportunity to honour Joe Connolly with a memorial bench here in Tymon Park which is the home of so much sporting activity in the local area”
Charlie O’Connor said it was an important event which attracted much attention and he said that he was anxious to acknowledge the assistance of Councillors Gus O’Connell and Mick Duff, Council Official Elaine Leech, Parks staff in Tymon Park and all those associated with the event.