Tipperary Firefighters rise to the challenge in battle for the Setanta Cup

Tipperary Firefighters will go to battle in a test of physical fitness and endurance at the Setanta Fire Service Games in September.

A first in Ireland, the Setanta Fire Service Games mark the culmination of a wellness programme that has been pioneered by Tipperary Fire Services in partnership with Setanta College, the leading provider of sports courses.

The Games will take place on Saturday, 14th September at Thurles fire station, Co. Tipperary.

Teams from every fire station in Tipperary will compete in challenges including a fire-engine pull, a ‘hang tough’, tyre-flipping, box-jumping, and timed runs.  Many of the activities will be completed wearing full fire-fighting equipment, and the winning team will be awarded the Setanta Cup.

The programme was developed to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of fire-fighters across Co. Tipperary.  It has been rolled out over the past 18 months, with 11 fire-fighters receiving diplomas in Personal Training and Strength & Conditioning.  The qualified fire-fighters are now designated Wellness Officers in their respective stations, working to roll out wellness programmes for their colleagues on an ongoing basis.

Pictured at the Rock of Cashel, Tipperary: L-R: Dearan O’Gorman (Nenagh Fire Station), Chloe Williamson (Setanta College), Paul Gallagher (Assistant Fire Chief Tipperary Fire Services), David Higgins (Cashel Fire Station), James Halpin (Cahir Fire Station) and Dave Carroll (Chief Fire Officer Tipperary Fire Services). (Photo by Mark Stedman via Setanta College)

Tipperary County Council’s Chief Fire Officer Dave Carrol said: “Fire-fighting is a hugely demanding job, both mentally and physically. The majority of our team are retained fire-fighters, which means they are typically juggling their fire-fighting duties with another full-time job, placing extra demands on their physical and mental wellbeing.

“In recent years, we identified the need to improve the physical wellbeing of our fire-fighters, and Setanta College came on board to develop a bespoke training programme for us. The programme has given our team-members the skills to not only improve their own health and wellbeing, but also to share their knowledge with their colleagues, and to develop a culture of positive physical and mental wellbeing in all fire stations in Tipperary” he said.

CFO Carroll, who had suffered a stroke in recent years and has now regained full physical fitness has thanked the Setanta College programme. He said “This has been an immensely positive experience for the individual fire-fighters who completed the diploma course, but also for the wider fire-fighting community in Tipperary. Each fire station in the county is now being equipped with a gym, marking our commitment to investing in the wellbeing of our fire-fighters.  We believe this is a truly ground-breaking and important programme, with the potential to be replicated by Fire Services nationwide.”

“Physical wellbeing is important for everyone, no matter what profession you’re in.  In recent years, I suffered a stroke and, thanks to the support of my colleagues and our shared focus on wellness, I have been able to improve my own health and fitness to the point where I am now able to compete in the upcoming Setanta Fire Service Games,” he said.

The Games will be the culmination of almost two years of hard work by fire-fighters and a chance for them to show what they’ve learned, as well as introducing a bit of healthy competition among the fire stations in Tipperary.

Pictured L-R: Chloe Williamson, (Setanta College), David Higgins (Cashel Fire Station), Dearan O’Gorman (Nenagh Fire Station) and James Halpin (Cahir Fire Station). Photo: Mark Stedman.

The Setanta Fire Service Games were officially launched at the iconic Rock of Cashel in Co. Tipperary this week. Former international athlete and founder of Setanta College, Dr. Liam Hennessy said he was delighted to work with Tipperary Fire Services in developing this innovative training programme for fire-fighters. “Fire-fighters provide an invaluable service to our communities, and this programme will help them increase their fitness, improve their nutrition, and remain injury-free when responding to a crisis.”

Tipperary County Council has demonstrated real leadership in safeguarding the physical and mental health of its fire-fighters.  The upcoming Setanta Fire Service Games will be a fun and memorable way to mark the achievements of those who have participated in the wellness programme – and to demonstrate to emergency services nationwide the importance of cultivating strong physical and mental health amongst their teams.