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Homework Helper: Four Great Resources from FAI

Practice your soccer skills with the help of current and former Republic of Ireland Internationals.

FAI Homeskills

FAI have just completed Week 7 of their FAI home skills videos. Every weekday at 11:00am on the FAI Grassroots Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, a new skill is introduced by their Ambassadors, current and former Republic of Ireland internationals, with a demonstration of the skill by FAI development officers, and current domestic and international players.

Each day, the FAI invite viewers to submit their own video performing a skill; for a chance to win an FAI Goodie Bag. A library of all 35 skills is available on YouTube: FAI Homeskills.

FAI Guide to Healthy Eating

The FAI recently re-launched its Healthy Eating Guide in conjunction with SPAR, to encourage parents and kids who are at home to eat healthy and learn some new dishes that are favourites of FAI’s Senior International players. They have twenty recipes in total that can be found here: FAI Healthy Eating Guide.

No Barriers at Home

In February FAI launched the ‘No Barriers at Home’ programme, a joint initiative with London to promote UEFA EURO 2020 and teach children about players who have overcome barriers in their lives. There are twelve inspirational stories, one from each of the host cities of UEFA EURO 2020. To access the ‘No Barriers at Home’ programme view HERE.

We Will Draw

FAI have also created some fun colouring pages of current Republic of Ireland Senior Internationals which are available HERE.


Homework Helper: Virtual Sport’s Day

The annual school sport’s day is one of the most enjoyable days on the school calendar. While schools may be closed, that does not mean that the annual school sport’s day is cancelled.

Why not have a virtual sport’s day instead, with the help of HealthyKidz.com?

HealthyKidz.com provide a holistic primary in-school and after school programme focusing on physical, emotional and general well-being. By working with children in schools, they aim to develop their speed and agility, strength, flexibility, balance, cardiovascular fitness and emotional well-being.

To get involved, schools and pupils can formally register to participate in the Healthykidz.com virtual sport’s day challenge and track your school’s virtual sport’s days via the Healthykidz.com app.

View HERE for more details about school and pupil registration.

If your school isn’t registered, HealthyKidz.com provide lots of free resources and ideas for parents and pupils.
You can download the free ‘Virtual Sport’s Day Preparation Pack’ by viewing HERE.

In addition, preparation for the annual end of year virtual sports day is supported by videos and tips divided up over weeks of virtual training. Weeks 1 to 3 are already up and running.

Week 1 events include the sprint and long jump. View HERE.
Week 2 events include the high jump and the classic egg and spoon race. View HERE.
Week 3 events include the wellyboot toss and super strongman challenge. View HERE.

Why not get the whole family out to the back garden and have some fun while the weather remains sunny!

Play Safe.


Semple Stadium Gets Permission For Kinane Stand Face Lift

Semple Stadium, Thurles

Semple Stadium (Semple’s Field) here in Thurles, Co Tipperary, has been granted permission to undertake a €8-9million euro face lift on its Kinane Stand, known as the “Old Stand”.

Last resting place of Tom Semple, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

The Kinane Stand, which affords space for 14,500 spectators currently, is expected to retain the same capacity, on its full project completion. Planning permission granted is for five years, with the project expected to be long-term.

This 45,000 capacity Semple Stadium project, foresees the inclusion of improved player and match-day facilities, with a new gym, physio, dressing rooms and media facilities.

Planning permission has already been granted for the re-development of an extra tier, which will provide an area for corporate hospitality and function facilities.

These planned new improvements are designed to take Semple Stadium up to the standard of other state of the art GAA venues, e.g. Dublin’s Croke Park and the recently re-developed Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Ballytemple, Cork.

However, commencement of this, to be welcomed, project is unlikely to take place until the end of 2020 at the earliest, due to the present Coronavirus crisis and pandemic.

Thurles GAA museum, “Lár na Páirce”

Will this new promising venture see the Thurles GAA museum, Lár na Páirce, now move from its current restricted space on Slievenamon Road, to this more open and spacious area, offering free accessible parking?

One would hope so, thus offering sports loving tourists and those attending games, an equal opportunity to view our rare GAA history, while also walking on that hallowed turf which is after all “Semple’s Field”.


Fun & Games Requiring No IT Streaming Or IT Applications

With all our IT Streaming Services and other IT Applications, it’s easy to forget those games that entertained the whole family, before the era of Smart Phones, Tablets and other screen time entertainment.
If you are getting tired of staring at computer screens and TV, and looking for some fun, indoor activities, that require no IT equipment, why not play some of these tried and trusted family games suitable for all ages.

(1) Charades
Divide your group into teams or simply take turns. Player 1 thinks of something to act out without using any words, typically, e.g., a book, film or title of a T.V. programme. They use agreed gestures to indicate whether it’s a book, film or T.V. show and then they try to act out each word until some guesses their title. You can adapt the game by picking different categories and acting out words associated with that category. Example: category = summer and words = sunscreen, swimming, sandcastle, ice cream etc.

(2) Categories.
One player decides on a category and the other players take turns naming things that belong in that category. For younger children it’s best to keep the categories broad, e.g. animals. For older kids and adults, it’s best to keep the categories narrow, e.g., books by Roald Dahl. To keep the responses quick and to keep the pace going, try playing with a clapping rhythm. The game ends and players are ‘out’ if they can’t think of any more things that belong in the category.

(3) Geography.

Each player comes up with a place name (town, county, country) that begins with same letter as the last letter of the place mentioned by the previous player. For example, player 1 says ‘Thurles’, so player 2 says ‘Sligo’ and player 3 says ‘Offaly’. You are out if you can’t think of a place. The winner is the last player left standing.

(4) Ghost.

Player 1 picks and says a letter of the alphabet. Each player takes turns and thinks of a letter that will spell a real word. The aim of the game is to spell a real word but to avoid incorrect spellings or being the player that ends the spelling. If you add a letter that doesn’t spell a word or you can’t think of a letter you are ‘out‘. Every time you end a spelling you get a letter from the word ‘ghost’. Once you have all five letters of ‘ghost’ you are ‘out of the game’. Example: Player 1 starts with the letter c. Player 2 adds a, thinking of the word call. Player 3 is thinking of the word ‘catch‘ and adds t, but ends a word because that spells ‘cat’ and player 4 gets the letter g in ghost.

(5) I Spy
Player 1 looks around and picks an object they can visually see, beginning with a letter and says “I spy with my little eye something beginning with g “, for example. The other players then have to then guess what player 1 saw beginning with the latter ‘g’ in the immediate area.

(6) Twenty Questions.
One player thinks of an animal, vegetable, person or object. They only tell the other players what category it belongs to, i.e., whether it’s an animal, vegetable, person or object. The other players try and guess what it is by asking questions that result in a yes or no answer only, for example, “Is it bigger than a car?” or “Can you eat it?”

(7) I Packed my Suitcase.
Each player starts off with the same sentence: “I packed my suitcase and in it I put _.” The player completes the sentence with a word that begins with the letter A. For instance, “I packed my suitcase and in it I put an apple”. The next player repeats the previous sentence and has to add a B word. “I packed my suitcase and in it I put an apple and a ball“.
Taking turns, each player has to remember what the previous players have said and add an item that starts with the next letter of the alphabet.
If you forget what they have said or can’t think of a word beginning with that letter, you are ‘out’ of the game. You can adapt the game further by picking different categories, e.g., animal words only or fruits.

(8) Pictionary
Divide your group into teams or simply take turns. Decide on a category, for example ‘sports’. Player 1 thinks of a sport and starts drawing it. The first person or team that guesses what he/she is drawing, will scores a point for themselves or their team.

(9) Heads-Up
Players agree on a category, for example, ‘Superhero’s’. Everyone writes down the name of a superhero. One player is on and picks a piece of paper and without looking holds the name of the superhero against their forehead for everyone else to see. The other players take turns giving clues about the superhero to the player who is on. When player 1 guesses their superhero, another player in on.

(10) The Laughing Game
Players sit in a circle and take it in turns to quickly say ‘Ha’, ‘Ho’ or ‘Hee’. Anyone who starts laughing is knocked out of the game. The game continues until everyone is out. The winner is the person who keep a straight face the longest.


Tipperary Celebrating International Women’s Day

“I am Generation Equality; Realizing Women’s Rights”

International Women’s Day is held annually on Sunday March 8th; celebrating the women’s movement and their struggle in gaining equality. On this date, women from all different backgrounds and cultures worldwide and where possible, band together to raise awareness in their need for gender parity and women’s rights.

The theme for International Women’s Day 2020 is “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”

International Women’s Day (IWD) has a rich history dating back 108 years and is dedicated to celebrating women’s achievements, especially in the spheres of sport, Education, economics, culture and politics.

Lena Rice, Co. Tipperary – Queen of the Tennis Court

In celebrating International Women’s Day, let us today resurrect the now slowly fading achievements, by one Co. Tipperary born woman, namely Ms Helena Bertha Grace Rice.

Ms Helena Bertha Grace ‘Lena’ Rice.

Latter entered this world on June 21st 1866, and who passed away 41 years later, on her birthday, June 21st 1907. The cause of her death was that infectious disease, which back in the late 19th and early 20th century, killed up to seven thousand Irish people every year; known as Tuberculosis, (TB).

Better known to her public as, ‘Lena’ Rice; she was born the second-youngest of eight children to Mr Spring Rice and his wife Mrs Anna Rice (Gorde). The family lived in a two-storied Georgian style house at Marlhill, situated approximately a half mile west of New Inn, Cahir, in Co. Tipperary.

Her father died when she was just two years old, in 1868, (also as did Lena Rice his daughter, aged 41 years), leaving her mother to struggled somewhat, in the management their household affairs.

Lena first learned to play tennis with her other siblings, in their rather large garden at Marlhill, and Lena and her sister Anne, latter three years older, continued their love of the sport, eventually joining the membership of Cahir Town Lawn Tennis club, in Co. Tipperary. Here both sisters honed their ever-developing skills, by playing not just other local resident club members, but also by competing with a steady flow of competitors from a nearby stationed army camp.

As Lena’s competitive skills and confidence grew, she now sought to compete nationally and beyond the borders of her native mid Co. Tipperary.

In 1889 at the tender age of 23 years, she ventured up to our nation’s capital, Dublin, and to in Fitzwilliam Square, to take part in the Irish Tennis Championships. Despite reaching the semi-finals of the single’s event, she was defeated by the English player Ms Blanche Hillyard, but succeeded in winning the mixed doubles title, with her Kildare male partner Mr Willoughby Hamilton, (no relation), latter himself to later become a Wimbledon winner.

Six weeks later, both Rice sisters then travelled to England to participate at Wimbledon, which in 1889 attracted just six entrants in the ladies’ singles event. Lena again made it to the finals but here she was met once again by Ms Blanche Bingley Hillyard, the very same woman who had kept her from victory in Dublin. Again she was defeated, with Ms Hillyard securing the title 4-6, 8-6, 6-4. But, despite her defeat, Ms Rice had already made history, in becoming the first Irish woman ever to reach a Wimbledon final.

Ms Rice, (who by the way never married), now returned to Ireland to further advance her training. However, her weak backhand was now renowned in tennis circles. She was described in the book entitled “Lawn Tennis at Home and Abroad” as “a wonderful player with a terrible ‘Irish’ drive and a powerful service”.

The following year, in 1890, a now determined Ms Rice returned to Wimbledon. This time Ms Blanche Bingley Hillyard did not compete, as she was expecting her first baby. With Ms Hillyard no longer competing, Ms Rice; having formulated a new style, the ‘overhead smash’, and with only four entries in the 1890 tournament; reached the final with ease, beating Ms Mary Steadman 7-5, 6-2, to take her place at Centre Court, opposite Ms May Jacks.

On July 4th Ms Rice; dressed in the tennis attire of the time, i.e. a knee-length skirt, blouse tightly cinched at the waist, a tie, leather shoes and a straw boater hat, stepped onto the court to take the winner’s trophy 6-4, 6-1.

Using her twenty-guinea prize money, she purchased an emerald and diamond ring, which we understand she later left to her grand-niece.

There is no known record of Ms Lena Rice ever played in public again, but almost 130 years later, today, she remains the only Irishwoman ever to have won a Wimbledon Singles Final.

Following her early death, Wimbledon Singles Champion Ms Lena Rice was buried beside her parents in a small Protestant cemetery in New Inn, Cahir, Co. Tipperary.