Sport and Recreation

Chris Toomey, Tipperary Boxing Club, Tipperary

Chris started Tipperary Boxing Club 6 years ago to try and help the kids of the town who were straying down the wrong path or who didn’t fit into a team enviroment. Since opening, he has helped hundreds of local children to become champions at this sport & turned their lives around for the better giving them confidence & a belief in their own self worth. He has worked with kids from all different backgrounds & cultures, all who have come to him with different sets of problems. His continuous positivity & understanding of the youth of today has led to some of the most dramatic changes in these young peoples lives in a community dealing with unemployment, drugs & high suicide rates.

Chris has worked on his own from day one creating & building not just a club but also a home and a place for young people to escape to so they can forget the pressure & problems of their outside lives for at least a few hours every day while also gaining a whole new family who are there for each other at all times.

Constantino ‘Tino’ Fiuza Castineira, Suir Dragon Paddlers, Tipperary

Tino is a surgeon who took international research from Canada, implemented it in Clonmel and affected the lives of hundreds of people in the process. Research from Dr. McKenzie in Toronto identified that Dragon Boat Paddling could be used as a tool to assist the recover process for those suffering from Breast Cancer. Tino took this research, started a small group and set about creating the Suir Dragon Paddlers. His dedication was to provide a socially motivated and supported environment to assist the survivors increase upper body strength without causing Lymphoedema.

Tino has introduced a new service for the people of South Tipperary – a service that has assisted to integrate breast cancer survivors back into normal life. Those recovering from such a serious condition and treatment find themselves exercising down the middle of the beautiful river Suir in all weathers. Members who had not exercised for years before they were ever diagnosed and now paddling on a weekly basis. Research has shown that moderate to intensive exercise can reduce the risk of Breast Cancer recurrence by up to 50% and this is where the Paddlers sit.

Paddlers visited and represented Ireland at an International paddling event in Florence early in the year all under the care and watchful eye of Tino. One of the biggest impact that Tino has had on the group is his commitment to it and to their recovery. His can do attitude coupled with his medical knowledge an skills has brought members on an unforgettable journey and create lifelong friendships.

Sinead Kelly, Raphoe Town Football Club, Donegal

Four years ago Raphoe Town FC had less then 10 girls playing football. The club’s underage structure for boys was good, but having previously had an impressive set up for girls and women, it had all been allowed to fall away. Sinead took the initiative to set up and organise a Soccer Sisters Programme with the local Regional Development Officer of the Football Association of Ireland.

The idea behind the 6 week-programme was to try to get girls back to play and enjoy the game. The numbers were small. Between 7 and 10 girls with a wide age range showing up for most of the six weeks. In normal circumstances the programme would have stopped but Sinead was determined to keep it in place.

By doing so the numbers grew. Slowly at first and then steadily, after about a year and a half the number of girls playing had risen to nearly 30 and a decision was taken to apply to enter teams in the Donegal Women’s League. Teams were entered at U10, U12 and U14s but the numbers were small and many younger players had to play up in older age groups.

Sinead has positioned the club in the heart of the community building strong and positive links with local schools and clubs and making an impact in local community initiatives. Despite being a mother of four young children with a daughter in college and a husband who suffered a bad workplace accident and is still recovering, Sinead’s dedication has never waned. Even when she tore her Anterior Cruciate Ligament and had to have surgery, she spent whatever time she had in the hospital bed, organising football club matters on her phone. Within the shortest possible time, she was back at training on crutches.