“IT'S unbelievable to have it back,” enthused the Cork City Sports Chairman Tony O’Connell.
Three years on from when the 68th installment of the events took place, the City sports will finally get the chance to entertain spectators for the 69th time on tomorrow Tuesday 5th of July at the MTU stadium in Bishopstown.
The Coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the best-laid plans in 2020 and 2021 but now it is back and O’Connell, who has served the games in various different guises over the years, believes it could be the biggest one yet.
“I’m going way back now but I used to sell programmes for this event as a young fella at the Mardyke when it was there,” he continued.
“I kept on going. I cycled on the grass track when it was there and when we moved to the M.T.U many years ago I went right through from being P.R.O to acting chairman for the past 15, 16 years.
“The event itself is going to be huge, to be honest. We have some great athletes taking part, the likes of Lolo Jones and Caster Semenya, who are coming to us.
“It’s a testament to the event that we put on. They are all housed in Cork, they are all fed in Cork, they are all really well looked after and they are showing Cork city and county at its best.
“That’s what we need is to have people know where Cork is on the map.
“It is amazing the interest that has been created in it recently. We are now promoted to a continental tour, a world athletics continental tour bronze status which gives the whole scene an extra impetus.”
But Jones and Semenya won’t be the only world-class athletes on show as many other star names have also confirmed their participation in recent weeks.
Clarence Munyai, Sarah Healy, John Fitzsimons, and Mark English will also be involved while Cork’s very own Louise Shanahan and Phil Healy will be in action amongst some great names with a detailed programme available on their official website.
The return of the Cork City Sports is long overdue and O’Connell was also keen to praise those that made it all happen.
“It has put a lot of extra pressure on us as well but we are getting there now with the help of M.T.U athletics stadium, they have opened the door to us now and we will take over the place for the next few days.
“It’s great that our sponsors have stayed with us. We are indebted actually to our sponsors otherwise this event couldn’t go ahead.
“I must say as well, the contributions from the likes of the Cork City Council and the Cork County Council, Athletics Ireland, and BAM of course being our main sponsor, it’s great seeing people like that coming back and supporting us again.
“They didn’t leave us which is great and we are putting this on for Cork city and county. It will be marvelous for the city and county.
“It’s also a great testament to our volunteers. We are a totally voluntary group which is another great bonus for the city, the event is run totally on a voluntary basis with the support of lots of local businesses like the Cork Education Training Board, Centra and Supervalu, and other individual sponsors,” he concluded.