August brought a lot of excitement to Kilkenny, with music, visual arts and theater returning to the Kilkenny Arts Festival.
The excitement at the Danesfort GAA Club was also unmistakable as the first punch was thrown on what will be a colossal new construction project, after many years of planning.
The new development will feature a state-of-the-art astro turf pitch and improvements to the walking track, which will become an all-season track with lighting.
On the international sports scene, Kilkenny had much to be proud of following the Olympic Games.
Kilkenny City Harriers athlete Cliodhna Manning has been selected by Athletics Ireland for the Irish 4x400m mixed relay team.
She had a familiar colleague by her side – former St Joseph’s AC runner Sophie Becker, whose mother Tina is from Fatima Place.
There was a Freshford connection in the form of Australian marathon runner, Sinead Diver. Diver is the daughter-in-law of Ann Cullinane, Kilkenny Street, Freshford. The mother of 800m runner Nadia Power is also from Kilkenny.
Former Kilkenny College player Foster Horan took part in the Rugby Sevens, while the school was also represented by former student Lisa Jacob, manager of the Irish women’s hockey team.
In show jumping, Cian O’Connor put in a wonderful individual performance atop ‘Kilkenny’, a nine year old gelding bred by the Gowran Brennans, while Kilkenny groom Cormac Kenny saw his horse Explosion W win a gold medal for the GB team.
There was sadness this month as we bid farewell to one of Kilkenny’s biggest pitchers.
Liam ‘Chunky’ O’Brien won the All-Ireland titles with the Cats in 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1979. He was also named to the All-Star squad four times and won the All-Star title. Texaco year in 1975. He had an extremely successful club career with James Stephens, won four Kilkenny SHC club titles with the Village, as well as two Leinster and All-Ireland crowns.