Sports Clubs lead the way in Making Tourism a reality
by Cllr Seamus Morris
Over the last two weeks Nenagh bucked the National Trend of negativity when three sports clubs welcomed hundreds of people to the town. Last weekend Nenagh Olympic Athletic Club welcomed 1,000 Competitors and Hundreds of Parents from all over the country over two days for the National Juvenile Championships. This was the second time in a fortnight that Nenagh Olympic Athletic club have brought such footfall to the businesses of the town with Bed and Breakfasts full from Nenagh all the way to Limerick
On Thursday 01 April Nenagh Ormond Rugby Club welcomed over 100 children and parents from Vicenza Rangers Rugby Club from Italy. They stayed in the lodges in Nenagh Abbey Court Hotel for 3 nights. In co operation with the club Nenagh Town Council and the Chamber of Commerce there was a fantastic Nenagh Welcome for them. After a meal in the Thatched Cottage and a late night they were up early to visit the Heritage centre which was opened for them out of hours and for free by the staff and some volunteers. They were delighted to see welcoming signs in Italian adorning many business premises in the town. On Saturday there was a tournament at New Ormond park and the amount of food supplied voluntarily and dished out by willing club volunteers was astonishing to see. The Mayor of Nenagh Hughie McGrath officially welcomed them to town
Also arriving on Thursday 01 April were Spvgg Hattstein u 16 soccer team and their mentors from Germany . They were hosted by Nenagh A.F.C. They stayed three nights in the Waterside cottages in Dromineer which has hosted many teams from this same German club over the years. They arrived in town and were brought to the Hibernian Inn for a meal paid for by Nenagh A.F.C they then went on to the teenage Disco which was facilitated by Peter Ryan of the Ormond Hotel. On Good Friday they went to watch the Senior Hurling league game between Nenagh Eire Og and Drom Inch which was of great amusement to them. Saturday there was a soccer competition in Nenagh A.F.C Brickfields and again the amount of food and soup provided voluntarily was fantastic.
What these three amateur clubs have proven is that Sports Tourism is amongst us and it just needs to be acknowledged coordinated and encouraged. The amateur clubs that were the facilitators of these amazing two weekends in Nenagh should be rewarded and any costs incurred should be helped by the authorities. The people that came to Nenagh from Germany Italy and all over Ireland have gone away with a positive image of a great town with great people who gave up their spare time willingly to be our own Tourist Board.