Coachford get behind Olive
The people of Coachford have truly got behind one of their biggest sporting stars during this summer's Olympics but just don't tell the Olympic 'brand police.' Locals have erected an Olympic sculpture to honour their local athlete, Olive Loughnane who will be taking part in the 20 km walk on Saturday 11 August.
The three times Olympic participant and Silver medalist at the World Championships in 2009 is hoping to improve on her seventh placed position at the last Olympics in Beijing and locals in her home village are backing her all the way.
"The idea to honour her came from Coachford Community Council and we said we should to do something to honour her and let her know that we were supporting her in this year's Olympics. It stemmed from there and then Peter Dineen, Chairman of the Council wrote to the Olympic Council of Ireland and they sent a cheque for €500 and we used that money to buy bunting and flags for everyone in the community, "said Brenda Tarrant, a member of the Council.
The steel sculpture, designed and constructed by Hannes Oliver of O'Donovan Engineering was then erected in the centre of the village and the locals had their own opening ceremony on the opening night of the Olympics. At nightime there is a light that illuminates the athlete holding the Olympic torch and it has become a real focal point for the villagers.
"The village is looking great with all the tricolours, buntings and banners celebrating out link to the Olympics through Olive's achievement. The sculpture is a superb addition and it is hugely impressive. To have O'Donovan Engineering on board with this project was excellent for us as they are a firm embedded in our community and strive for excellence in everything they do so they have a lot in common with Olive Loughnane, " said Doug Lucey, PRO of the Community Council.
"We were delighted to get involved in this project and like everyone in the community we were eager to celebrate the Olympics and to honour Olive's participation in the games. The sculpture is not what we normally do but all the lads here got very much involved in creating it and it was a novel distraction from the usual work of designing and manufacturing agricultural and industrial products, " said Deirdre O' Donovan of O' Donovan Engineering.
Let's hope that they won't incur the wrath of the Olympics 'brand police' for using the Olympic logo on the sculpture. What is seen as a simple gesture to support Olive could turn out to be an infringement of copyright law which organisers of London 2012 have been vigorously protecting in recent weeks across the UK in the lead up to the Olympic Games.
The sculpture will be on display in Coachford throughout the Olympics.
Brutus on the front line
Meanwhile, an abandoned black Labrador from Cork has found himself at the front line of security in London.
Brutus, who is under two years of age was found abandoned in Cork last September. After five days in the Dog Pound where nobody claimed him, DogsTrust Ireland had him transferred over to their UK base in Kenilworth, which is a common enough practice when dealing with abandoned animals and lack of homes for animals in Ireland.
"Brutus is big and boisterous with exceptional high energy levels and we knew straight away that he is an intelligent dog and that he needs to be occupied all the time, so it was clear we couldn't send him to a normal home," said John Cullen, Operations Manager of Dogstrust in Kenilworth.
"Once we had Brutus checked out by our vets and examined his behaviour and temperament we knew that he would be perfect candidate for a search dog. We undertook the toy focus with him to see if he would respond to this and he was very responsive."
It was then that the Police came to look at him and enrolled him in a training programme and Brutus passed with flying colours. Since his graduation he has been working with West Mercia Police and he was moved down to the Olympic Park in Stratford to assist the police in searching operations for the duration of the Olympic Games.