Local Racquet Has Strong Aims

Utkarsh Gupta, Oisin O’Reilly and Paul Kobus Image: Courtesy of Kevin O’Gorman

Squash Link is an initiative to involve young girls and boys from Ringsend and further afield in sport.

This is done through the sport of squash. They play in the Sportsco facility, which is located in South Lotts Road, Ringsend. Mark Kelly, who instigated the program emphasised how the key idea was “youth enrichment” which involves personalised expert training tailored to “each committed participant.” There is no exclusion and Kelly was keen to emphasise that it was an individualised approach.

Currently they have students from Ringsend College as well as St. Patrick’s Girls and Boys National Schools, though they are seeking to expand into the wider area of Dublin 4. They are supported by organisations such as Squash Matters, Leinster Squash as well as Dublin City Council and Sport Wellbeing Partnership among others. They are currently seeking more funding to allow further development of their non-profit organisation.
The idea of Squash Link grew out of a Trinity College initiative for nearby schools where students played squash during a number of four week initiatives. The following year the same program was held for students with intellectual disabilities. This inspired Kelly to set-up Irish Squash and Education Association with the flagship program, Squash

Link, to motivate and inspire local children in the community through the medium of squash. As part of this endeavour, Squash Link will assist students in academic and career pursuits such as helping one of their participants get a job in a local radio station.

Image: Courtesy of Kevin O’Gorman

Another coach working at Squash Link, Debbie Brown, had previously worked in a similar environment in Santa Barbara, California in the U.S. She was passionate about the initiatives in Santa Barbara working with children from lower-income backgrounds and dedicated herself to the task. She stated she still gets cards and letters from the children whom she coached.

Brown also emphasised that a large number of the Fortune 500 CEOs were athletes stressing a connection between success in sport and success professionally. However they were clear that though they were happy to support children who showed strong ability in the sport, the goal of Squash Link was to cater to every level and to encourage an enjoyment and passion in participating in squash.

The website is called www.squashlink.org. They are also on Facebook.com/SquashLinkIreland, and Twitter at @SquashLink.

By Kevin MacSharry