Affidea Ireland Athletics Ireland Junior Endurance Camps

It has been a busy few weeks with three Affidea Ireland supported Regional Junior Endurance Performance squad camps taking place in Connacht, Leinster & Munster.

For the Leinster camp, a large group of athletes arrived at Gormanston College for a Q&A with London Olympian, physiotherapist and coach Mark Kenneally, who attended a similar national camp back in 1998! Mark spoke about his highs and lows, dealing with injury, work-life balance, his reasons for staying in Ireland for third level education and the possibility of still going for Tokyo 2020.

In Connacht, twenty-eight athletes met for the second camp of the year at Killary Adventure Centre. The stunning scenery was made all the more spectacular by the snow that coated the tops of the Connemara mountains. In addition to the lead coaches Matt Lockett, Philip Finnerty, Emmett Dunleavy and Peter Hynes, the group were joined by Olympian Jessie Barr. Jessie is completing a PhD in sports Psychology and has worked under the lead psychologist at the Irish Institute of Sport. Jessie led a series of workshops on sports psychology, mental preparation and setting goals. Athletes were encouraged to think about what motivates them to run. They considered helpful and negative thoughts they may have, and barriers that may prevent them from fulfilling their potential. They were given some ideas to help them turn their challenges into opportunities, which our young people can use in their everyday lives too.

Finally, the second Munster squad camp took place at the Banna Beach Hotel complex in Kerry. The athletes were highly motivated and brought a great work ethic to the camp for the entire three days. The weather was extremely cold, but this didn’t deter the athletes from putting in a great effort throughout!

National Junior Endurance Coach Steven Macklin commented; “Now into our fourth year of camps, it was clear to all coaches the progression in the fitness of the squad athletes since its inception, and also the increase in bonding between athletes in different clubs across the province, which can only help retention of athletes in the sport. It can be a lonely sport at times, but it’s very rewarding when you see groups coming together and getting on so well, while at the same time putting the effort in to getting as much as they can out of their training.”

“Many thanks to all of our coaches for their time and effort, and to our athletes and clubs as finding dates free from competition proves quite difficult. Athletics Ireland is also very thankful to Affidea Ireland for their continued support. Here’s to another successful year!”

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