Avondale All-Stars win first Arklow Municipal Cathaoirleach’s Special Recognition Award.
Cathaoirleach Pat Kennedy said “This is the first year that we have had a Cathaoirleach’s Special Recognition Award.
This award is to recognise an outstanding contribution from an individual or group.
In the Arklow Municipal District we have many of these individuals and groups that would be worthy of such an award and it wasn’t easy to pick one over another.
I made my choice based on the fact that the winning group represents all areas of the Arklow Municipal District and, indeed, many other areas beyond.
They are a sports club for people with an intellectual disability, started in 2007 and based in the R.D.A. Hall in Rathdrum.
As Rathdrum is home to residential houses for adults with Intellectual Disabilities they have a wide scope of athletes to cater for.
Along with these older athletes, there are many children with Intellectual Disabilities competing who come from other areas such as Annacurra, Aughrim, Arklow, Avoca, and Glenealy.
The first sport they started was Bocce, which is an Italian game similar to Bowls and in 2012 they had three athletes participating in the All Ireland Games in Limerick and returned to Wicklow with numerous medals across many categories.
In 2015 they started a second sport, Athletics, and at present there are 12 adult and 10 children athletes who compete.
They are currently run by a group of 12 volunteers who give their time every Thursday evening.
I was touched by the amount of time and energy invested by both the volunteers and parents of the children involved.
It is a fantastic social outlet for those with Intellectual Disabilities.
It is really something to go along and watch and see the enjoyment and happiness that the athletes get from being involved.
They are extremely competitive and excel at whatever competition they compete in.
I have first hand experience of this having been invited to play against them in Bocce one evening.
To say that I was well beaten is an understatement.
I was totally annihilated.
I am delighted to nominate them for the first ever Cathaoirleachs Special Recognition Award and I hope that they will continue to grow and I wish them every success in the future.”