Irish Cheerleaders Stuntworx Elite Alliance, made up of athletes from Ireland will once again travel to Orlando, Florida, to take part in the Cheerleading Worlds at ESPN in Disney World.
The team, formed in 2015, won the first ever Irish club level invitation to compete at the Cheerleading Worlds, the closest thing the cheerleading world has to be the Olympics, in 2016 and attended Worlds in 2017. The team have gone from strength to strength and in December 2017, the team were awarded their 2nd bid, this time being granted the honour from 21st Century Cheer, making history as the event’s first ever Worlds Bid Winners. In 2018, Alliance won their third bid at the Celtic Spirit Competition in Mayo to compete at Worlds 2019, and once again in March 2019, the team won a bid to compete at Worlds 2020, along with sister team Stuntworx Elite Icons, the first ever Irish club to be awarded two Worlds bids to two level five teams in one season!
Irish Cheerleading Challenges Perceptions of the Sport
The opportunity to represent Irish cheerleading at Worlds is an honour for the club, home to over 500 athletes in the west of Ireland. Club head coach, Hilton, and manager, Jamie, never dreamed the club would have a Worlds team when they set up the club in 2010. “The idea that after only 9 seasons of coaching teams we would have a team that has been awarded 3 consecutive Worlds bids and a second Worlds level team poised to take the floor in 2020 is just mind blowing. It’s a dream come true as a coach” says Hilton who has also coached the Irish National Team in 2014/2015 and will once again in 2022. “It’s the goal of any coach to reach the full potential of their teams and we believe we’re doing this at Stuntworx.”
With cheerleading still in its infancy in Ireland, the progress since the first Irish Cheerleading competition run by the Irish Cheer Sport Association in 2010 is immeasurable. The standards have risen very quickly in a short period of time compared to the steady and slow progress of countries where cheerleading has been an activity for decades. The Stuntworx coaches believe this is due in part to the grass roots approach taken by the majority of clubs in Ireland. Safety is a primary concern driven not only by ethical coaching but also by rising insurance costs for what is considered a very dangerous sport. However, injuries at Stuntworx are rare and usually don’t exceed sprains and some regular bruising associated with contact sport, which most of the cheerleaders compare as battle scars each week.
On July 20, 2021, the International Olympic Committee voted in favor of granting full recognition to the International Cheer Union and cheerleading., which has caused a collective shift in the public perception of the merits of the sport in Ireland, rather than as a novelty pastime. This sport takes grit, guts and persistence. Dust is settling on the stereotype and cheer is now widely regarded as a sport to encourage teenagers to stay in sport for longer. Indeed Alliance is made up of athletes aged from 14 to 24. The sport is working, growing at an exponential rate year on year and has the best possible representation on the world stage.
The club now require help to send their athletes to Orlando. The trip cost for each athlete is approximately €2200 . The athletes, some of whom travel up to 3 hours each way to be a part of this team, have been fundraising with bake sales, selling raffle tickets and asking for support in their local communities. However, there is a limited pot for each athlete and as such the team need support from other sources. If you are in a position to help, whether by sponsoring an individual athlete or by providing opportunities to share their story to a wider audience, then you can contact the club at email@example.com
You can also attend the club showcase to see some of the daring routines the athletes compete on Sunday April 10th 2022 at the Corrandulla Community Centre, Corrandulla Galway. Admission is €8 per spectator.
The team will compete late April this year at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, Disney World, Florida. You can catch their performances online via Flo Cheer or on ESPN!
Cheer or on ESPN!