The young people are the generations of the future, they will create the world that we will grow old in and it is things like the Mitchelstown Youth Achievement Awards, which let people see what kind of wonderful things the young people in the various areas are doing.
Run by Tesco and Mitchelstown Gardai, the awards night recognise the achievements of young people aged between 10 and 18, whether those achievements be sporting, academic, voluntary or otherwise.
This year’s awards saw the nominees rise yet again and for the first time, they were split into two different age categories, one for 10-14 year olds and another for 14-18 year olds.
John O’Donoghue from Mitchelstown won the overall award for the 14-18 year old category for an extraordinary act of bravery.
John was nominated by his mother Mary, as he had bravely saved his father Joe twice over the course of just five minutes from being gored to death by a bull on their farm.
John is also an All-Ireland karate champion with Kildorrery and he plays hurling with Ballygiblin.
Five young boys from Ballyporeen Handball Club won the overall award for the 10-14 year category, as they were all members of the handball team, that won the All Ireland final at the Feile na nGael in 2013.
Minister Sean Sherlock gave out this year’s awards and said that John’s story in particular was an extraordinary story of bravery, but he said that the awards night doesn’t only recognise the award winners, but also everyone who is involved in any way in their community.
“People admire the youth nowadays and events like this show how wonderful they are,” he said.
Tesco Community Champion Liz Downes thanked all of the schools, organisations, clubs and individuals who had helped to encourage the young people to do good within their community.
She also thanked The Avondhu for their continued support of the awards, The Firgrove Hotel for hosting the event and Kathleen Fitzgerald who was the piper on the night.
Community Garda John Hennessy thanked the coaches, parents, teachers, volunteers and young people.
Next year to change the awards up a bit, there will be an award for adults, with the youth awards returning the following year, as this would mean that the awards will become a way to acknowledge the good work of people of any age from the community.