Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland

Monday, February 09, 2009

Guest article.....How to attract the shoppers?

You may have noticed that from time to time, I have some material written by other people on this blog. So, with that in mind, I will publish some articles by David O'Dwyer of East Cork AC here on a regular basis. (This is David's 2nd article on this blog, his 1st article is here). David covers various topics from a personal point of view and if you agree, disagree or would just like to add a comment, click on the Comments link below this post. I would just like to say thanks to David for allowing his articles to be published here on this site. The following piece was written about a year ago just before the Beijing Olympics but no doubt it is as relevant today. Hope you enjoy it.............John Desmond.

How to attract the shoppers? David O'Dwyer
At the recent Cork City Sports some of Irelands most high profile and best possibilities of a medal in the Beijing Olympics were competing. The performances of Derval O’Rourke, Paul Hession and Alistair Cragg were right up there and compared favourably with the corresponding winning times in the British Olympic trials held over the same weekend. The performance of Hession was particularly impressive, winning both the 100m and 200m. In doing so he set the fastest time ever over 100m on Irish soil of 10.21secs, just outside his Irish record of 10.18secs. Not bad for a white guy from the West of Ireland in an event dominated by athletes from West African or West Indian extraction. In fact right now he’s one of the fastest white guys around.

Unfortunately a second sporting event was also taking place at the same time in Cork on Saturday afternoon between 2.00pm and 4.30pm and consequently only a few hundred people were there to witness the efforts of Hession and co. This rival event didn’t need any promoting but was very well attended none the less. In fact the few hundred who showed up at the Mardyke would be dwarfed by thousands who streamed through the Mahon Point Shopping Centre on the other side of Cork city. Shopping is after all not just the new religion, it is also the new sport and one that we are excelling at.

The main action was obviously not in the world class performances on display in the Mardyke because there was some shopping to be done. This world class indoor arena was built for a reason and by God we are going to use it to its full potential. As for why we haven’t built a world class indoor running arena, well that’s a whole other story but suffice to say there’s more money to be made from shopping centres. There wont be any medals won for shopping in Beijing but rest assured there will be a delegation setting off soon to get the event installed for London in 2012 along with ballroom dancing and karyoke and we’ll surely bring home gold. It will no doubt be the shoppers who will be asking why we sent anyone to the Olympics if we don’t medal in Beijing. Why didn’t we spend the money on more worthwhile pursuits like the Health Service, Education and of course infrastructure, presumably in order to get in and out of the shopping centres quicker? Ignorance is bliss after all.

The Cork City Sports has a rich history of world class performances including a number national and world records that have been set over the years. Many of these were set in the ‘80’s when Ireland produced world class middle distance runners like we now produce world class shopping centres. The 80’s are also synonymous with unemployment, emigration, basket economy etc. You get the picture. Basically you weren’t spending too much time shopping. We still had the Cork City sports though. If you take a look at some of the photographs or archive footage of those meets you’ll notice the huge crowds and great atmosphere at the Mardyke. Another striking feature is that the meet took place in the evening as opposed to the afternoon. This meant that if you were lucky enough to have a job then you could still make it to the Mardyke to see legends such as Eamon Coghlan, John Walker, Sydney Maree……………..the list goes on. I don’t know the reasons for switching to the afternoon from the evening but why not revert back to the evening schedule for next year and maybe we could avoid the clash that is inhibiting the shoppers from attending?

In addition to David O'Dwyer's articles appering on this website, David also has had some of his articles published in the Irish Runner magazine. This is published every 2 months and is the main magazine for running and athletics in Ireland.


To send a comment or to read other comments, click on the 'comment' link below.


Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading the article but trying to get women away from shopping to go to the mardyke for the Cork City Sports well good luck with that one.

Anonymous said...

This article wasn't written today or yesterday !

Thank goodness the Celtic Tiger is finally dead and buried. We have been seeing a return to a less consumerist society. The days of shopping as an activity to take part in when you have free time could be nearly behind us.
And there does seem to be a rise in numbers at every race that goes on these days. We might even see standards improving as people become more focussed on improving themselves and working on their athletic potentials instead of sitting back and watching their wealth accumulate.

If I were the writer of this article I would be trying to encourage people to take part by extolling the virtues of athletic activities rather than being critical of sections of society that don't conform to his view point.

Anonymous said...

i agree totally, when i was younger the evening meet had way more at it, people just simply dont bother when its a day time event.i had tjhe pleasure of working for the cork city sports years ago when coughlan and daley thompson ran, we need our locals to support our local events not go shopping or watch it on tv

RoyMcC said...

I'm not sure the attendance would be any greater if the shops were shut. You won't get many non-enthusiasts no matter who is competing. Up here in Dublin last year the Morton Mile meeting was heavily sponsored and advertised with some great athletes on view. Result - tickets hurriedly reduced from €10 to nil to ensure an attendance of sorts, and - despite a big Press conference, barely a paragraph afterwards. Things aren't going to change anytime soon.