By Jimmy Rhatigan
Pic: Donal Foley
IT WAS apt that the very future of a local soccer club should steal the show at a fund-raising St Stephen’s Day running festival.
Stoneyford United 5k Road Race and Walk was a spectacular event that started as an acorn in 2011 with 80 runners and has now blossomed to a giant oak with 400 hardy athletes running off the effects of turkey and trimmings.
The big event was spectacular but it was a children’s 1k that won the hearts and minds of parents and grandparents in particular as over 100 boys and girls delighted in a post Santa run.
There were no rules, no prizes, but lashings of fun as some motored on scooters, others pounded the heart of Stoney with the help of mothers who held their hands and tots in buggies were wheeled to glory.
The weather was kind too. Following a wet and rather dour Christmas day weather, Stephen’s Day was crisp and dry, bright and cheerful and certainly enticed young and young at heart out into the great outdoors.
The soccer club did a super job of organising and the result was another successful project that boosts the purse of a club that thinks progressively and has good reason to be positive as its schoolboys’ and girls’ section is particularly strong.
The 5k event had a shotgun start in the Main Street of the village, with local, Martin Raggett doing the honours.
Runners headed out of the village to the Waterford Road, turned right at Cherrymount, continued across through Stonecarthy and returned to base in a downhill dash that ensured a fast finish.
The Kilkenny City Harriers pair of Shay McKeown and Peter Lynch were first and second respectively. Another Harrier, Niamh Richardson won the ladies race.
Top veteran was Adele Walsh from Stoneyford who had a fine victory in a field of experience.
A prize-giving ceremony and refreshments were in the community centre where club chairman, Neil O’Grady delivered the goodies.
During the big race there were refreshments at Stonecarthy Cross courtesy of Mary Ireland and family.
The day of run and fun was a real community event with local volunteers manning the village centre from early morning.
A mandatory raffle saw Gerry Devine of Lawcus Fields winning a bumper hamper.