THE LAST POINT with Philip Rooney

Let's hear it for the unsung heroes

Philip Rooney

Reporter:

Philip Rooney

Email:

philip.rooney@leitrimobserver.ie

Let's hear it for the unsung heroes

Participants in last year's Delma Cavanagh Memorial Cycle pictured making their way back home to Leitrim from Limerick

Sometimes it is all too easy to focus on the winning and losing, the points dropped or the margin of victory when there is so much more that deserves to be focused on.

Those competing in individual or team pursuits put in countless hours of training under the guidance of coaches, managers and in many cases an army of dieticians, strength and conditioning experts and physios, all working together to ensure victories are achieved, personal bests are recorded or trophies are lifted.

Away from the coalface there are many more who are putting in the hard hours in training but their ultimate goal isn't claiming victory or getting the better of their opponent. For hundreds of people throughout the county the target is simply to complete their chosen event and raise as much money as possible for charity.

Most weekends there are charity runs, sponsored cycles or swims with those taking part having put in the hard hours training to ensure they are able to complete what are often gruelling events.

Three local women, Heather and Eileen Maxwell and Toni McGlynn are currently in the process of swimming the length of the River Shannon, a feat no other women have ever achieved and to date only two men have completed the 260k swim. In order to complete their goal of swimming from Dowra to Limerick the ladies have put in months of training and have dedicated the month of August to completing this mammoth task. While most of the county is slowly beginning a new day the ladies have already started another day in the water as they edge closer to their destination.

As well as the personal satisfaction that will come with completing this arduous task they are also fundraising for two worthy causes - A Lust for Life and the Irish Cancer Society. The efforts being put in by Heather, Eileen and Toni are worthy of any support you may be able to provide and you can do so by clicking here.

Another event worthy of your support is the Delma Cavanagh Memorial Cycle which will see approximately 40 cyclists traverse their way along the country's roads in the opposite direction to that taken by the Flo Beo swimmers.

On Thursday a bus load will travel from Dromahair to Limerick where they will stay overnight before beginning the two day cycle on Friday and arriving back in Dromahair on Saturday afternoon.

Their bikes will have been transported to Limerick via overnight courier, just one example of how local businesses and the community as a whole have rowed in behind the cycle.

The cyclists have been busy training and fundraising while there has been an army of friends, family and well wishers helping out to ensure the event passes smoothly. Such has been the success of the cycle (which is now in its seventh year) the logistics for this year's cycle have been planned meticulously since last year's adventure finished.

Booking hotel rooms for that many people in the middle of August requires considerable planning; GAA clubs that they will be passing en-route have been contacted and premises have been provided for food stops.

The “travelling circus” as John Cavanagh, one of the organisers of the cycle, describes the event will feature food vans, support vehicles, motorbike support and members of An Garda Siochana offering assistance.

There are no prizes for the first back in Dromahair but there is much in common with any sporting club or team. There is a wonderful sense of camaraderie and accomplishment and year after year participants talk in glowing terms about the great gang they shared the road with.

Since John and Sinead McKeon set the wheels in motion for the annual cycle they have raised an astonishing €92,000 for Sligo Hospital Oncology Unit Trust. The sad reality is that everybody has, in one way or another, been affected by cancer and every cent raised will go towards this wonderful cause.

You can support the cycle by clicking here.