Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Cork City Sports....Did you go?....and if not, why?

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Cork City Sports....Did you go?....and if not, why?

Now that the 2011 Cork City Sports are over, I came across 2 recent newspaper articles which raise a number of issues....

In the first article from the Irish Independent, the Chairman of the Cork City Sports is reported to be angry with some Irish Athletes and Athletics Ireland for their lack of support for the event. The event costs approx €120k per annum to hold and it's obvious that it is a struggle to raise the required funds.

In the second article from the Irish Times, the author put's foward the case for Athletic meetings like the Cork City Sports and that they are worth supporting.

In preparing this post for the blog, I asked someone who had attended the event what they thought of it. He said that the "stand was pretty empty. Three rows of seats in one section were reserved for sponsors. Very few of these were occupied."  He estimated the number attending to be around 1,000 to 1,500 which he thought was well down on last year.

When I asked as to why the numbers were down, he thought it is due to the "absence of World Class Irish, particularly Cork, athletes.  In the past, there was: Marcus O'Sullivan, Frank O'Meara, Sonia, Coghlan, to name a few.  We have few of that calibre competing anywhere now, let alone Cork.  Nobody there to capture public's imagination. Back in the Mid 80's to early 90s - 15 to 20 thousand people would pack the Mardyke to watch the Cork City Sports."

So this raises the question, why didn't more people go to the Cork City Sports last Saturday?

It would seem that the most likely people to go to this type of event are people involved in running or athletics in general so where better to ask the question than here on the blog.

Was it down to a lack of interest?
Did people realise it was actually on?
Too expensive to enter? It was €10 to get into the ground or €15 to get into the stand.
No one of interest taking part?

I have 2 polls set up on the right hand side underneath the upcoming asks if you went...Yes/No.........and the other one asks why you didn't go.

Click on the comment link below and let us know why you did or didn't go and what you thought overall.


Anonymous said...

I went to City Sports, but only because I got hold of a complimentary ticket, I wouldn't have bothered otherwise.

As for the meet itself, it was distinctly underwhelming with some races only fielding 3 or 4 athletes - the women's 3000M walk had but 2 athletes!

I also missed the mile, 5000M and relay races. Maybe they could be included next year?

In all, then, a disappointing afternoon if I'd have had to pay, but I didn't, so it was better than sitting in the house twiddling my thumbs!

Anonymous said...

I could have written comment 1 - I also got a complimentary ticket and was underwhelmed.

Commentary on PA: Couldn't hear most of it. Several times the PA interrupted starts, which were then held up. Do these guys not look out the window at anything that's not directly in from of them??? Rough on athletes to be "Set" and then have to stand up again just because the PA people don't have a bit of cop on.

Anonymous said...

What do people expect? People have no complaint at paying to matches and no matter how bad the match is they will still go again and again.The entry price to the city sport was as competive price wise in comparison to other codes. was the the writer of comment one really at the sports we were treated to 2 first class 1500m also a top class 200m and an exelant high jump. all in all a very good evenings entertainment

Anonymous said...

Yes, I really was at the event! If you think 3 races and a high jump competition is 'a good evening's entertainment', then that's your choice

Anonymous said...

the sports public in particular cork sporting public are pretty demanding in what they expect from sporting occasions- maybe it's the skysports factor. that said the organisers of the CCS did a admirable job in organising the event the last 60 years but the field this year wouldn't have had much appeal to the ordinary punter. there wasn't any marquee names that the public could hang their hats on. i do realise that tho that to get a better field and drum up bigger interest would cost a small fortune. also another problem is that many irish athletes wouldn't have a great profile either- derval excepted. i know a few friends of mine who constantly bemoan the failure of ireland to even compete successfully in euro championships and olympics- all this feds into the low profile of the CCS.

Anonymous said...

I didn't object to paying €15, I knew how much it cost before I went so that was my choice to pay it, but i agree it lacked atmosphere and the start of many of the races was not built up enough by the announcer, they could have created more tension for some of the races which might have stirred the crowd.

Anonymous said...

Didn't know anyone who was going to compete in it. Actually didn't know much about what events or anything was going to be happening, maybe just didn't have the interest to find out. Maybe at this point I should say while I run the 4/5/6 mile events around the county I've never been involved in any track/field athletics.

Would suggest maybe Mardyke would be a better venue, would likely get a better crowd. Out in Bishopstown you're going out of your way to attend (unless you live there of course) whereas with the Mardyke you could combine that with a visit to town.

I didn't hear/see any mention of it on the local media, maybe a higher profile would help numbers too.

Hope that helps...

Colin O'Herlihy said...

John, I went on Saturday afternoon, and for me, the most disappointing aspect was the small crowd which bothered to support it. The Cork sporting public can be a fickle lot, we're great when our teams/sporstpeople are going well but when they're not...
It's very hard to blame the organisers for the poor turnout, I felt the event was well promoted and apart from the announccer upsetting one or two starts, it was very professionally organised. Yes it's a pity Derval didn't compete and that Rob Heffernan was injured but anybody who was there saw Olmpic silver medalist Nick Willis give a masterclass in the 1,500 meters and David McNeill put in a blistering finish in the Mens 3,000 meters. It's not unusual to be underwhelmed at some live events - TV coverage is so good these days that some events can seem slow and drawn out while wathching them live - not to mention the lack of commentary/analysis/instant repays etc., etc. It was also great to see local athletes, Laura Crowe, Lizzie Lee, Mark Hanrahan and Fergus Meade (amongst others)competing at this level. Finally, my 8 year old daughter was entralled with the pole vault and high jump events and was still yapping on about them to her friends the following day. P.S. I paid the €10 entry fee out of my own pocket and thought that the event was very good value, especially when compared to other sporting events. Maybe the organisers will have re-think whether all the work and expense is worth it if the public apetite simply isn't there, but that would be a terrible shame for such a long runing event.

Anonymous said...

the other thing too is that athletics doesn't / have never had a huge following in ireland. as distict from the road running thing which is a lot different from the cut and thrust of track and field. at the end of the day the small is probably a reflection of the appeal athletics has in this country. at a international level it is seen by the public as one of underacheivement and some pretty poor performaces over the years by irish athlethes bears this out-take sonia and ronnie delaney out and we are left with very little. at the top level we need to be winning gold/silver medals in the olympics. it is a also seen as a niche sport at under age level so grassroots work may need to be done- i see the huge underage growth in other sports as proof that change can occur.

Anonymous said...

The City Sports is a great event, with large history and hopefully much more to come. There were some great races, especially the 3k/1500.
However, it was a somewhat underwhelming atmosphere. The earlier comments on lack of atmosphere certainly rang true. it is a great pity to see such a poor turnout (1000/1500?).
I believe one major issue for the lack of interest is the lack of advertising of the event in local and national media (I am open to correction on this). I did not see or hear any major buildup to the event on local Radio or papers . Certainly the Examiner and Echo could run a full page preview of the event , in their sports section, as well as a full report after s a page /supplement? The lack of advertising of the event on a national level (RTE television and radio) is I think a big hindrance in promoting the event.
People in athletics that I know who were from outside Cork, said they would not know it is on only for the fact I mentioned it to them.
These issues being addressed may help to solve the problem of low turnout.

Anonymous said...

The basic fact of the matter is that the CCS committee haven't been able to keep up with the level of promotion that is required for 1. any major event and 2. to compete with other major track and field meets for athletes. I don't know whether they are lacking funding or that the committee like other committee's in athletics has failed to develop itself and its members to bring in fresh ideas and thinking.
I have been in the athletics circle for a good few years now and the irish athletes themselves aren't that happy with how they are treated by the organising committee and they aren't happy with the event organisation in terms of pacemaking and other basics like money and accomodation. Irish athletes are friends with international athletes and there needs to be a positive respect for athletes across the board to ensure that we continue to draw in the best athletes for quality competition.
The move from the Mardyke is symbolic of the erosion of the place of athletics in Cork and Irish society. A gym expanding on the grounds of UCC has been the final nail in the coffin of the Cork City Sports. How could they let this happen? The unique and excellent atmosphere created in a location like the Mardyke cannot be recreated very easily in another location. I know its only once a year that they need the stand but over the last 60 years I'm sure the surroundings of the Mardyke has contributed to the quality of atmosphere. There's plenty gyms around the place but you can't replace the history and atmosphere around the Mardyke.
I supported and was at the event yesterday but was really disappointed at the poor showing. It'll be interesting if the Clonliffe 125 meet in Dublin see's a similar decline or if there is an upturn in publicity.
There was an equal downturn in the attendance at the Munster Track and field championships the next day... not that anyone would have noticed because there was only a handful in each race!

Anonymous said...

I wasn't at the event myself as I was not in Cork for the weekend. But from a point of view of advertising I have to say the only place I saw it advertised was the sign on the sarsfields roundabout and the one out in CIT. So I would think that alot of people weren't even aware that it was on

Anonymous said...

looks like the move away from the mardyke was a very bad idea. i assumed it was in the mardyke but only saw one bill board on the way into cork advertising it. the whole issue is a reflection of the pretty bad slip in track and field in ireland. we will be having simliar debates after the olympics next year where our only medal hopes is in the one sport that has really copped itself on - boxing. the GAA is a example of a brillantly dynamic organisation as is the attempts by cricket ireland to sort itself out. some of the whinging from various athletic bodies in this country and some of our international athletes is really a wonder to behold. why don't we manage resources like eamonn coughlan, sonia, mark carroll, marcus o sullivan and use their brains to get things going? countries with similar populations to ours - finland, new zealand and so on leave us behind time and time again. as a nation we should be pushing the way in middle and long distance running. the cork city sports have to move beyond the days of some eastern guy breaking the world hammer record and allow fresh thinking in- same goes for irish athletics as a whole

Anonymous said...

the date is bad as it always coincides with holiday travel for me and others,just my opinion

Peter Conway said...

For family reasons I was unable to attend this year having been there on previous ocassions. That said, I thought the amount of pre-promotion was very poor, there was little or no discussion that I saw in the local papers nor through the use of Social Media. Worse though was the website itself which was very underwhelming in encouraging people to attend the event. In particular there was nothing to say who would even be attending. For the biggest International Athletics meet in the country, I feel the organisers need to up their game if they are to compete with all the other sports available to the viewing public. Build a wider sports event around the day with seminars, get the big brands to showcase their wares, have a local race that begins and ends at the stadium for the public etc etc. Most importantly they need to build excitment. Despite all that, it is well organised with a very good reputation and not too many events in this country can claim to be going for 60 years, so well done to all concerned, but times have changed so now the event must also adapt.

Peter Conway