Striding athletes from across Munster sharing a dream of one day making it to the Olympic Games gathered at the Clonmel Park Hotel on Saturday 11th February for the Munster Star Awards.
More than 50 awards were presented to the six counties best athletes, who were accompanied by their coaches, friends and family members, at the event by President of Athletics Ireland Georgina Drumm and Munster Athletics chairman Mossie Woulfe.
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Georgina Drumm, recently elected to the new executive committee of the Olympic Council of Ireland, said she was delighted to be invited to the prestigious awards by Munster Athletics. She congratulated all the athletes, their parents, the backroom teams at the clubs, coaches, physios and nutritionists. “You may not realise you are using them, but they are there because your coaches have all of that knowledge,” she highlighted.
She urged all the talented athletes in attendance to believe that they can one day make it to a major international event.
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“Everyone here tonight hopes to make it to the Olympics, a European, a world event or something major. Unfortunately that doesn't happen for us all, but you have to remember that through your education there are loads of other opportunities to get to these championships.
“We need physios, we need doctors, we need all of the backup that you get at your college when you go through your third level education. Then you get to the Olympics as well,” she continued.
Georgina Drumm beamed at her election to the executive committee of the Olympic Council of Ireland.
“I even got to the Olympics and I didn’t do anything,” she laughed.
“I just got to be there because I’m an administrator, and the my love of this sport has come from when my children started a long time ago. [My son said] ‘you take the girls to everything, you don't take me to anything’. He embarrassed me, so I brought him to the local athletics club and from there I was handed a piece of paper and told to check the teams when they were coming in and in the old fashioned way to count the points on the cross country. I really and truly hadn't a clue,” she recalled.
She emphasised the importance of encouraging people to be part of this wonderful sport. “We all have dreams. They mightn’t be to get to the Olympic Games as a star. It might be to go and help someone polish their star which is what I did. I went and I saw all of the fantastic athletes representing Ireland at the Olympic Games in numerous sports. I was shining those stars and I loved every minute of it. That’s what you need to do; shine your stars.
Carrick-on-Suir AC's Jake Costello, Laura Whelan, award winner Miriam Daly and Rose-Ann Fitzgerald at the Munster Star Awards.
“Mams and dads, keep encouraging your young athletes all the way through. They will get somewhere fantastic; it may not be on the track but they will get somewhere and be really, really proud of them. I’m really proud of you all,” she praised.
Georgina Drumm joked about getting invited to 18th and 21st birthday parties from some of the young athletes who were sitting at her table at the Star Awards.
“I had a really great night, very pleasant company. I do apologise to the three young people who were at our table,” she chuckled.
She added: “Please, please keep your dreams alive. Keep your stars shining. We as an association will give you all the elbow grease you need to get to get to the very top".
Chairman of Tipperary Athletics County Board Billy Purcell and Munster Athletics chairman Mossie Woulfe had earlier welcomed the talented athletes to the awards event. "They are the stars of the show," Billy Purcell concluded.