“ENTHUSED for next year” was Cork City Sports chairman Tony O’Connell’s reaction to last night’s 61st International meet. O’Connell, whose association with the internationally renowned athletics event goes all the way back to the very first one in 1951, chaired one of the most successful events in recent years last night.
And the reaction of him and fellow committee member Terry O’Rourke was one of excitement as planning immediately began for the 62nd event next year.
“We always say that 60 seconds after the Cork City Sports Meet ends, planning begins for the coming year and this year is no different,” said O’Connell.
“And this year’s meet has been so successful that everyone is rejuvenated for next year.
“We are delighted with how everything went.”
Ideally there would have been no wind, but it was a small price to pay as one of the most star-studded fields assembled in Bishopstown’s CIT last night.
And the Cork crowd, no doubt encouraged by the large attendance of Olympians from Ireland and further afield, turned up in numbers, boasting the best supported meet in some time.
“Even from 6 pm, 30 minutes before the International side of things began, the crowd were turning up.
“It was great to see. A relief of course because you always want to have a big crowd and it really made the night special.
“And it emphasised just how correct our decision to return to the traditional Tuesday night was.”
In recent years there is no denying that the Cork City Sports International meet had waned a little in popularity.
That trend was reversed last night with a world class field and tremendous support.
“Absolutely the fact that it’s an Olympic year has helped but a lot of the top class international athletes have been here in the past and are great supporters of this meet.
“They come back every year and this was no exception. This year was the best attended meet for some time though and hopefully we will entice all these great athletes back next year too.
“And for years to come!”
The decision to return to Tuesday night was an inspired one and is something the committee will almost certainly be sticking with.
“It certainly looks as if the traditional Tuesday night meet is popular so we will be very anxious to keep it in midweek.
“It was a success this year and we will hopefully be in a position to build on that now.”
The voluntary nature of the Cork City Sports organising committee is unique in Europe and it is remarkable that the enthusiasm of those involved and sponsors remains as strong as ever.
The sponsorship aspect of the meet is, of course, crucial to the success of the event and O’Connell again paid glowing tributes to those who make the event possible.
“At the best of times it’s is difficult but thankfully Cork City Sports Council, Cork County Council, Irish Sports Council and the AAI have all kept their commitments to us.
“And our sponsors have also been great, especially our main sponsor Cork International Airport has actually increased their sponsorship, which is great,” O’Connell added.