The first Munster Women in Sport Day took place on Saturday 12th November at the Goleen Community Centre. There were over 60 participants throughout the day with players from clubs all over the province. Players from Cork arrived by coach at the hall and joined local West Cork players, coaches, parents and families for a fun filled day of activities.
The event was opened by current Munster Chairperson Owen Kelly who welcomed everyone and introduced a guest group of Munster Special Olympic players and outlined the program for the day, highlighting how Table Tennis can be included as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Munster Women’s Officer Mair Kelly also addressed the crowd and thanked all those who had helped organise this event and thanked the sponsors Along The Way, Goleen & District Community Council, The Beauty Room and her fellow committee members. Mair went onto relate some of her experiences as a female player and how many opportunities that the sport had given her over the years and how becoming involved as the Munster Women’s Officer would give her a chance to help others to enjoy the sport.
Michael Collins TD spoke to the assembly about how much table tennis had benefited the community and the contribution of the local club had brought players and coaches from all over the world to this small community. Michael also spoke of the importance of women in sport as in all aspects of society as well as highlighting the importance of supporting organisations like Pink Pong and the Irish Cancer Society and on behalf of the local community he thanked everyone for attending and hoped we all enjoyed the day.
The program of events included a lot of informal games and challenges. Zofia Wawrzniak and Thuy Linh Cashman were the only players to eventually beat the robot over 1 minute, both going to deuce. The service target game “Superstar,” proved the most popular with the players, with prizes galore for those who managed to get it in the box!
While many of the tables were occupied with mums and dads, sisters and brothers and even a couple of Godparents playing fun matches there was a few rounds of a mammoth round the table competition.
The large extension building was a hive of activity as the “Cup Cake Competition” proved a surprising hit and a good fundraiser for the Irish Cancer Society. Cakes were decorated to an amazing standard and there was an abundance of pink and white decorations.
Frances O’Sullivan was the eventual winner with Orla and Zophia getting creditable mentions by our guest judge and cup cake expert Suki. A very special thank you to The Along The Way Café who came up with the top prize, a €20 universal gift voucher.
Local fitness expert and past player Deidre O’Leary got everyone up and the hall a few degrees warmer, with some exercise to music, not everyone managed to finish the fairly intense session but there was a good deal of fun and laughing going on as well.
A “Pro/Am,” doubles event brought the players back to the table, many sporting dazzling nails thanks to Laura Louise from the Beauty Cabin who spent most the day painting away in the corner. The random draw took place and the pairings pitched families and friends against each other in a compelling competition. We ended up with 5 winning pairs and loads of prizes, thanks to Tony Higgins from Tralee TTC.
The afternoon was finished off in very suitable fashion with an introduction to Yoga Class lead by Corina Fisher. There were once again a few giggles as participants stretched and tried to balance in some complex poses but there was a definite sense of relaxation and peace in the hall as the session progressed.
The response from many of those who took part was very positive and there were a lot of smiles and a great family atmosphere, the event raised over €400 through the sale of Pink Pong T-Shirts and the Cup Cakes. A great advert for the health and fun benefits of table tennis; organised by women in table tennis and enjoyed by all.