Kerry Stars Special Olympics Club

Kerry Stars Special Olympics Club win October Gala Gifts for Clubs Cash Prize

25 Oct 2023
Connaught News

We are delighted to announce that Kerry Stars Special Olympics Club are October's winner of the Gala Gifts for Clubs competition and have won €500 in cash.

Kerry Stars Special Olympics Club is the proud winner of October 2023’s Gala Retail’s Gifts for Clubs Cash prize!

Since its founding in 2002, the club has been built on a foundation of inclusion and friendliness. Athletes are active in sports including athletics, soccer, swimming, basketball, and the club has been successful in recent years with athletes from the club represented at Ireland and World Games levels.

The club has built back admirably from the difficulties of the Covid-19 pandemic – during which members were active on Zoom and found the #Can’tStopNow initiative to be very important.

It currently has over 100 active athletes, and is continually expanding with new members and always looking for additional volunteers.

It is also set to have a new home in the Derreen Sports Centre, a unique sports hub in Killarney that is planned to feature facilities for several sports, an all-inclusive playground, a river walk, and a coffee shop to be run by Kerry Stars themselves, broadening the contact and inclusion of members within their community.

Basketball coach Jillian Kerins explains: ”The club’s success is down to the continuing involvement of volunteers, families, the support of local businesses for fundraising.”

“Every so often, within all the sports, we have inter-club days where we meet with other Munster clubs – either we’ll go to Cork, or they’ll come down to us, and so on – it’s nice to have a few competitions going on throughout the year.” 

The sporting activities are complemented by a lively social calendar.

“There’s the St Patrick’s Day parade, and Christmas parties as well; recently the athletes got to visit the Celtic Steps show by bus.”

“We always look forward to new athletes coming on board with us; it’s a great way for them to make new friends. That’s a massive aspect of the club-  it’s very friendly.”

Starting next year is the 4-year cycle for Special Olympics so we’re looking forward to that starting again.

When asked what they planned to do with their cash prize the club answered they would like to invest in new training and sporting equipment, and to cover transportation costs to matches and events. 

A huge thank you to all the clubs who entered the Gala Gifts for Club competition. If you didn’t win this time around your entry will go forward to next month’s draw so there’s no need to enter again. If you haven’t entered yet, fill in this short form and tell us what your club is doing virtually to engage with your athletes or volunteers.

Click here to view a selection of photos from the club's history – from training to competition, and from cheering on the team to enjoying the Christmas party!

Watch Kerry Stars athletes take part in European Basketball Week 2021 here!