Donegal’s Finesse Gymnastics Display Team arrived home this week after representing Ireland at this year’s Festival Del Sole Italy.
The Finesse team along with gymnasts from Dublin had the honour of being only the second ever Irish team to take part in this event.
All the colours of the world of gymnastics performed at the Festival del Sole: almost 4,800 non-professional gymnasts took part in the Opening Ceremony with a Grand Parade. The gymnasts march behind their nations flag from four different arenas through the beautiful streets of Riccione. Eventually the teams then arrive at the main arena the Piazzale Roma where the ceremony finishes’ with a huge firework display.
Day one saw the team up bright and early for training and rehearsals before they took to the stage for the real thing. The team received a great reception from the huge crowd. The Donegal Team performed alongside Austria, San Marino, Israel, Italy, and Portugal. They showed no nerves as they took to the floor and delivered a perfect performance.
Day two the team performed with Belgium, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland and Lithuania after the highs of the first day they again delivered an outstanding routine which received a great reaction by another huge crowd with even the compare saying “Irlanda bellissimo” a saying that the team were getting used to hearing.
That set the trend what was to be a wonderful week for this Donegal team as they executed the routine with precision and grace which was well received by the huge audiences.
All of their hard work paid off as on Friday before the closing ceremony they were presented with gold medals from their Head of delegation, Carolanne Tighe from Irish Gymnastics for their achievement. The Finesse team were delighted with their achievement as for many of them this was their first international event representing Ireland, but hopefully not their last.
The Grand Closing ceremony bought the week long gymnastics festival to end where not only did the Donegal club do their county proud they did Ireland proud. As is now customary with these international festivals the gymnasts swap their tops after the closing ceremony, with the Ireland top very much in demand but unfortunately for the other nations the Donegal girls did not want to swap as they wanted to cherish every moment of the event.
The one phase that was used by the Italian compare after each performance was “Irlanda Bellissimo” “lovely Ireland” a perfect description.
Finesse Team representing Ireland: Amber Beecroft, Ciara Beecroft, Rachel Canning, Ailbhe Gallagher, Molly Gallagher, Adele King , Ellie King , Fiona Lafferty, Orla Lonergan , Orla McCarron, Aisling Nulty, Cara Nulty , Molly Nulty, Abi O’Connor, Aoife O’Connor, Tori O’Connor.
Coach: Meganne Herron
Choreographer: Linda Bennett