Offaly Coach Wins At The Irish Go For Life Games
Offaly man, Niall Farrelly, has won a Spirit of the Games award at the Go for Life Games held in DCU on Saturday, 11th June. Now in its fifth year, the Go for Life Games is one of the biggest leisure sport events for older people in Ireland. Run by Age & Opportunity with support from Sport Ireland, the 2016 Games brought together over 300 players from across Ireland, its largest gathering yet.
The Spirit of the Games awards go to teams or individuals who encourage a spirit of fair play and camaraderie during the final. This is Niall’s second year coaching the Go for Life Games team and he loves the day: “It was savage, absolutely brilliant. Sure where would you be without it? Our lads love it. We’ve around sixty doing Go for Life Games down in Offaly, and it’s only getting stronger and stronger. We’ve been trying to get as many teams to go down and play. They’re giving out now about not getting a place, it’s so popular.”
All of the teams, made up from Active Retirement groups, social clubs, Men’s Sheds, sports clubs and friendship groups, have been supported by their Local Sports Partnerships. They have been practicing, competing and coming through heats in their counties in order to compete in the finals. The overall winners, Westmeath and Wicklow, faced some stiff completion from teams in Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Dublin City, Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown, Fingal, Galway, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, South Dublin, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford.
The games themselves are devised specifically for Go for Life. ‘Lobbers‘ is a target game adapted from petanque and boules; ‘Scidils’ is a two-sided adaptation of ten pin bowling but using two skittles; ‘Flisk‘ is adapted from boccia and horseshoe pitching. These games, with clear rules and scoring systems, can be played and practiced by everyone, no matter what level of sporting ability. They are great for developing balance, flexibility and concentration.
Mary Harkin, Sport & Physical Activity Manager in Age & Opportunity was full of praise for the contestants: “It’s at events like this that you can see how ‘getting older’ has changed in Ireland. People are getting more active as they age, are interested in their health and are more than happy to try something new. Every year, the laughter, banter and social interaction that the Games generates just keeps getting bigger and bigger. It is the mix of regular activity, socialising and a little competition that makes the Games such a success. Go for Life is keeping people happier and healthier as they age and that’s good news for everyone.”
To find out more about Go for Life in Offaly, contact Olivia Murphy, Offaly Sports Partnership on 057 9357462 or Age & Opportunity on 01 805 7733 or visit ageandopportunity.ie.