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The launch of the ‘Leevale 2012′ Open T&F Meet was held tonight at Maher’s Sports. It was very well attended and there was a great buzz around the shop. Invited guests who attended on the night included the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Terry Shannon, Rob Heffernan (Togher AC), Pat Buckley (Chairman, Cork County Board), Steven Macklin (AAI Regional Development Officer), Frank Walley (President, Cork City Sports) and Bro. John Dooley. There was even a film crew to add more glamour to the occasion!

After being shown a promotional video produced by Leevale AC, a number of speakers addressed the gathering, including club chairman, Liam Horgan, the Lord Mayor, Terry Shannon, Marguerite Maher of Maher’s Sports, Dr. Éamonn Cashell of CIT, and Liam Hennessy, President AAI. All of them stressed the importance of having a national and international-standard meet in Cork, a need now met by the Leevale event.

Star attraction was, of course, Ciarán Ó Lionáird who is just home from the World Indoors in Turkey. He spoke of the difficulties of getting through Dublin and the relief he felt on finally landing on Cork soil! Ciarán echoed the comments of the other speakers, saying that he felt kids starting off in athletics should have an opportunity to try sprints, jumps and distance events and the Leevale meet fills an important gap in the athletics calendar. He also had plenty of words advice for the youngsters who attended on the night. Both Ciarán and Rob Heffernan are London-bound for the Olympics this summer.

Many thanks to Maher’s Sports for the use of their facility on the night and to all our sponsors. From here it’s onwards and upwards to the 14th!

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More photos from the night…