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Looking Back - 25 Years of BLE in Cork - Chapter 5 - Clubs

LOOKING BACK - 25 Years of BLE in Cork

 

Index

Chapter 5 - Clubs

Clubs

  Ballymore-Cobh AC     Bandon AC    Belgooly AC    Blarney/Inniscarra AC 
       
Dohenys AC Eagle AC East Cork AC Grange/Fermoy AC
       
Leevale AC Mallow AC Midleton AC North Cork AC
       
St Finbarrs AC   Skibbereen AC   Togher AC UCC AC
       
Youghal AC      

 

Without the 'club' there would hardly be athletics and as such it is only right that the following chapter is devoted to the many clubs in the county. No less than seventeen are reviewed over the following pages.


Each review has been written by a prominent member of that particular club.

The clubs included are as follows -

 

Download Club Review (PDF File)   Author   Page

 

Ballymore/Cobh

 

- Phyllis Kidney - 44/46

 

Bandon

 

- Billy Good - 47/52
Photos       53

 

Belgooly

 

- Rosaleen Walsh - 54

 

Blarney/Inniscarra

 

- Mary Meagher - 55

 

Dohenys

 

- Catherine Murphy - 56

 

Eagle

 

- Paddy Linehan - 57/58

 

East Cork

 

- Liam O'Brien - 59

 

Grange/Fermoy

 

- Bob Burke - 60

 

Leevale

 

- Fr Nessan & John Sheehan 61/62
Photos       63

 

Mallow

 

- Pat Kerrigan - 64

 

Midleton

 

- Tom Houlihan - 66

 

North Cork

 

- Maura Doyle - 66

 

St Finbarr's

 

- Reggie Hayes - 67/68

 

Skibbereen

 

- Pat Walshe - 69

 

Togher

 

- Tom Morgan - 70/71

 

UCC

 

- Colm Murphy - 72/74

 

Youghal

 

- Willie O'Mahony - 75

 

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Leevale middle distance athletes and coaches, 1993; included are Marcus O'Sullivan, Pat Shine, Dick Hodgins, Ray Shanahan, Dave Healy and Donie Walsh.

 

BALLYMORE/COBH AC (Download in PDF Format)

Phyllis Kidney


On the formation of BLE, three athletic club's existed in the town of Cobh: Ballymore Athletic and Cycling club, Cobh Athletic and Cycling club, who were affiliated to BLE, and the ICF and Ballymore ACC. who were affiliated to the NACAI.


Two prominent officials, who helped in the formation of BLE, were the late Noel Higgins, who was a member of the NACAI National Executive at the time, and the late Brendan Hurley, whose main achievements were in the formation of BLOE. In the seventies, he was one of the prime movers in the development of Divisions Boards in the County.


It was inevitable that the two BLE clubs in Cobh would unite, and a historic meeting took place in the Commodore Hotel in Cobh, in November 1967. Tom O'Connor, Glenmore, became the first Chairman of Ballymore-Cobh ACC. Other officials elected were Noel Higgins, Brendan Hurley, Billy Ramsell, John McCall, Sean Kennedy, Jerome McCormack, to name but a few.


The club won many Club, County, Munster and All-Ireland titles in the 'seventies, and club stalwart at the time, Len Braham won a number of International 'caps' in the discus. Other people who were prominent in the field events then were Ken Beazley, Pao O'Donovan, and his brother Anthony, and Noel Murphy.


The track men in the 'seventies were the most successful in the history of the club, and the talent of Thomas (Tossie) O'Brien, Bill Keogh, Jim Burke, Paddy Meehan, Jer Finn, Hugh O'Neill and Jack Allen gained the club All-Ireland club Championship honours, at both cross-country and track, and Tossie O'Brien won a gold medal at the Catholic Student Games, in Lisbon, for the 880 yards event.


Cobh's connection with Villanova University also began in 1968, when Ian Hamilton gained a University scholarship, and was a member of two Villanova record breaking teams (that also included Dubliner Frank Murphy) at 4 x 1,500 metres, and the distance medlay relay. Ian failed, by a whisker, to qualify for the 1968 Munich Olympics, and his tussles with army man Junior Cummins will always be remembered, especially at the clubs open sports meetings, at the local GAA field.


Frank and Bernard Walley were the best sprinters around, and later gained international honours after transferring to Leevale AC.


The late 'seventies saw Billy Ramsell become Chairman, with Michael Keeting, Secretary, Geraldine Hennessy, Treasurer, and Sean Kennedy, PRO, with a committee consisting of Tim Pierce, Mrs R.Kelleher, Harry Kelleher, Harry O'Rourke, Jerome McCormack, Rose Mulcahy, Mrs J.Evans, and Brendan Hurley.


This era saw the emergence of one of the club's hardest working athletes and official, Patrick O'Halloran, whose stylish long jumping and triple jumping brought many records and titles back to Cobh. His under-16 long jump mark took a long time to break. Kieran Kelleher and Jimmy Hennessy became the club's sprinters of note, with John Keating the best middle distance man around at that time. Gerard McLoughlin was also a noted jumper with All-Ireland titles at Schools and BLOE level to his credit.

Gerard, who was tragically killed in a car accident in July 1981, was most unfortunate not to win a Junior International 'cap', because, after being picked for Ireland, he played a game of football two days before he was to go away, and broke his ankle.


Another young athlete to make his mark then, was the club's present legal advisor Frank Kelleher, whose sprinting and jumping ability were highly talented. Des McLoughlin always let him know he was around. John Davidson was the most outstanding Javelin thrower at that time in the country, and was to stay to the forefront at all field events for a long time. His excellence at all disciplines - shot, discus, javelin and pole-vault were a joy to watch, with much credit for his success due to the coaching of Anthony 01Donovan, whose own son Michael was later to emerge as an All-Ireland champion, at the long jump.


There was an excellent group of women ,with Terry Keating, Rose Collins, Deirdre Alcock, Marcella McCarthy, Marie Kelleher, Geraldine Troupe, Ann O'Reilly, and Ann O'Donovan always among the medals. Tina O'Donovan was the most complete woman athlete, being equally as good at sprinting, hurdling, jumping and throwing, and won many awards up to All-Ireland level, until a severe ankle injury prevented her from continuing at the sport she loved. The senior men included Tim Greene, Eddie O'Sullivan, and James Collins.


Two athletes who have to be mentioned, for their titanic struggles with each other, are Billy Carter and Sean Walsh, who constantly swapped places for gold and silver medals at County, Munster and All-Ireland level.


In 1982, with Phyllis Kidney taking over as Chairman, and Pat O'Halloran using all his ingenuity and coaching ability to keep the club going, Ballymore-Cobh AC was entering a difficult time, which was to become most rewarding.


Over the years, the club had their difficulties with club houses. The first one, which the Old Cobh club floated down the river, from Verolme Cork Dockyard, and erected at the Holy Ground, was later brought to the College Field, where it served its purpose for many years. Some years ago Phyllis Kidney set up a "Building Fund" committee. With many years of hard work, and the help of the Cork County VEC, Phyllis's determination was rewarded in September 1992, when the club's greatest ambassador, Sonia O'Sullivan, performed the opening of the new solid block club-house, on a site adjacent to their training area.


The club committee which includes Phyllis Kidney, Dolores Searls, Ber Hastings, Sheila Cullinane, Catherine Hickey, James Casey, Paul Parker, Sean Kennedy, Dave Daly, Luke Dobbyn, and Vincent Downey made that day one of the most memorable in the club's history, with many dignitaries from religious, political and sporting sectors attending the opening. COSPOIR and the Department of Education have to be congratulated on their initiative in grant aiding such a small club.

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At the opening of the new club house in 1992; Dan McCarthy, Chairman of the East Cork Board and Sonia O'Sullivan


On the athletic side, Phyllis Kidney continues to keep the club to the fore-front of Irish athletics. In each and every one of its twenty five years Ballymore-Cobh AC held one - or more - confined juvenile sports, and this always produced the good athletes.


The club promoted the Cork-Cobh 15 miles road race - up to a few short years ago, when the Navy AC took over - and it was always one of the best promoted races in the country.


Each year the club gives a "Disco" and party to the juveniles, and it was at one of these parties that Sonia O'Sullivan, now a legend in Cobh - made her first contact with Ballymore-Cobh AC.


Initially coached by Pat O'Halloran, and subsequently by Sean Kennedy, Sonia won every conceivable honour available to her at BLOE, Schools and University level, and is far from finished. Sonia gained a scholarship to Villanova University in 1986, thus continuing the clubs association with that University, and has a number of records on the all-time list.


Sonia holds Irish records for 1,000 metres, 1,500, mile, 3,000, and 5,000 and won gold and silver medals, at the World University Championships in 1991, for 1,500 and 3,000 metres. The club’s first ever senior cross-country team award came in 1991, when James Casey, Paul Parker, Vincent Downey and Dave Daly won the Munster intermediate cross-country Championship. The juveniles who picked up medals at County and Munsfer level this year include Oliver Searls, Keith McKeown, Liam Kidney, Mark Kidney.


Ballymore-Cobh AC continues to operate as a small club, in a sport which has a variety of events, and the present aim is to lay a tartan training area, in the near future, to cater competently for these more 'technical' events.
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BANDON AC (Download in PDF Format)

Billy Good

The existing Bandon club was founded on 30th January 1964. At the turn of the century, there was also a club known as Bandon AC, which was a combination of the Catholic Young Men’s Society; and the Gaelic Athletic Association, and this club, continued until lapsing during the emergency years.


In 1952, the Knocknacurra Club was revived, after a lapse of some years, and this club promoted the sport, and sports meetings, in the town, during the following years. The Hales family of Knocknacurra, of which both Tom and Willie were prominent officials in the club - and competitors in their younger years, and their brother Bob who was an Irish international miler in 1911 and 1912, later becoming involved in coaching, together with the Nolan family of Knockroe, of which Bill was an Irish international mile champion, in 1931, and narrowly missed selection to the Irish team for the 1932 Olympics. Another prominent Irish international from the area was Patsy O’Flynn in 1913, and who was later to represent the U.S.A. in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, finishing second, in the 3,000m steeplechase. John Barrett, John Joe O’Mahony, Paddy Brennan, and George Brennan were to give the first introduction to the sport to many of the founder members of Bandon AC.


The foundation stone of the club was layed at the annual general meeting of the Knocknacurra club, in January 1964, where thee majority of the outgoing officers were from the town. It was the intention among some members to move a motion that the club be renamed Bandon. Before this could be done the President, Tom Hales, suggested that the Bandon membership was strong enough to form a club of its own. The established members of Knocknacurra then withdrew to continue their activities, as before. Those who remained decided to hold an open meeting, in the old Boys’ Club premises, in North Main Street, on January 30th.


At that meeting a full officer Board and committee was elected and affiliated to the Cork County Board (NACAI). At a board meeting held on 6th February 1964, in the GAA rooms, Cook Street, Cork, for which the affiliation fee was £2 Guineas, the club was registered as St. Patricks AC. The name was inspired by the statue of the national saint, in the room where the inaugural meeting was held - the name was subsequently changed to Bandon AC, in 1966.


The first officers and committee of the club were - President: George Bennett, Vice President:  Fr. Liam Ahern, (presently parish priest in Kilbrittain) and Wm. Good (Snr) Chairman: John Desmond, Vice Chairman: James Kearney, Hon. Secretary: John Byrne, Assistant Hon. Secretary: Denis Galvin, Hon. Treas: Eddie Cullony, Assistant Hon. Treas: John Lynch, and PRO: Richard McSweeney.


Committee: Donough Coughlan, Billy Good, Sean Pierce, Sean Hyde, J.J. Kearney, Tim Quill, Donie O'Brien, Diarmuid O'Donoghue, Michael Kearney, John Dromey, Willie Creedon, Peter Barrington, Liam Deasy, Sean O'Reilly, Eric Good, Michael Lawton and Anthony McCarthy.

Delegates to County Board: John Dromey and Willie Creedon.


Ten of the above committee were active senior athletes with Knocknacurra, so a transfer was necessary. As the transfer date was October 1st annually, the then County Board would not approve, despite the fact that the members were joining a newly formed club. It was then appealed to the Munster Council. A meeting of which was held in Croom, Co. Limerick, on Sunday 8th March 1964 - after the Munster cross-country Championships. There was much deliberation, after which the council agreed the transfer, on the technicality that the previous club had not at that point in time registered for the current year.


It was not long before success found its way to the club. On February 16th, 1964, at the juvenile cross-country Championships, at Ballymartle, the club's under 14 boys team took the honours, in bringing the first county title to the club. The winning members of that team were Martin Desmond, Paddy Desmond (both nephews of the chairman), Danny Buckley, Donie Morgan, Derry O'Sullivan, Danny Kissane and Brendan Crowley (the present club secretary), who in 1974 gained senior international honours, in the 400 metres.


The first County title medal, in senior competition, was won by Eddie Culloty (club treasurer), in taking the 561bs for distance, at the Novice Championships that year, one which also saw Billy Good take the 800m novice title, whilst the first all Ireland medal for the club was won by Willie Creedon, at the 1964 championships, held in Gorey. Willie finished second in the long jump - beaten by three quarters of an inch / two centimetres - by the national champion Sean O'Dwyer of Ardgroom.


The first sports meeting promoted by the club was an inter-schools competition for the post-primary schools. The Patton Trophy was presented to the overall winning school. This was held on Friday evening, 22nd May 1964, in the Charlie Hurley Park, followed on the Sunday - May 24th - with the Bandon open sports. The clubs athletes were very active during the 1964 track and field season competition, at such "meets" as Caheragh, Annahadown, Nadd, Skibbereen, Nohoval, Flower Lodge, Millstreet, Blarney, Banteer and Youghal, with their share of success.
The club's first venture into the promotion of cross country was the county novice, on 13th December 1964, over the Kilbeg course, by kind permission of the O'Brien family. John Lynch the best of the club runners on the day. The club has promoted many cross country fixtures since - at Monorone, Clancoolbeg, Upton, Castlebernard and Callatrity. The latter is the present course in use, and is on the lands of Denis Collins, the present club President, who was the county senior cross country champion in 1955.


In 1965, two long standing associations with the club was formed - both Tom O'Neill and his son, Diarmuid became members. Tom became President soon afterwards, and was looked upon as the father figure of the club, until his death. Diarmuid is presently an honory life member of the club. The other association was the transferring of Tadgh Twomey to the club, being a member until his retirement in the early 'eighties.

 

Tadgh won no fewer than 33 national championship titles.


In 1966, the Sligo born Darrara agricultural student Michael Keane, transferred to the club, and in that year, he won the 60 yards dash, at the National Championships, in Banteer. This completed a hat trick - as he had also won this event in 1964 and 1965. Michael also took a silver, in the 100 yards, at the same 1964 Championships. The following year, whilst attempting to repeat his 60 yard title, he had to withdraw from the final, due to injury, after winning his heat, in 6.3 seconds. That same year, the Dagg Trophy was won for the first time, and the club promoted the Munster track and field championships, for the first time, in the Charlie Hurley Park.


In 1966, the first official from the club to be appointed to the County Board, was John Byrne, and in later years, further club members to serve on the County Board were; Chris Warren, Ben Feehan, Diarmuid O'Neill, Billy Good, Aidan Donnelly, Brendan Crowley and Michael Quinlan.


The following year saw the club take the initiative, in calling a public meeting, at the Devonshire Arms Hotel, on December 11th. This was to obtain views of the locals, on the Town Park, as the club had applied to the Town Commissioners, for a portion of the ground, for use as an athletic track. The notice of the meeting was signed by the Chairman, Billy Good and the Secretary, Diarmuid O'Neill.


The result of that meeting can be seen today, with the amount of development that has taken place over the years. The club held the Southern Region track and field Championships on the new track, in both 1978 and 1979. This park was once described in a letter to the press - in 1966 - somewhat disparagingly. "The Name Town Park seems grand on paper, but this so called park is a piece of waste hill covered with bones and rusty tin-cans - a grand place for a football match or a cycle race, it is also the official camping ground for tinkers".


A lot of progress has been made since work commenced in 1973, once legal difficulties were sorted out, and trustees appointed. At present further development is on-going.


In 1967 and 1969, the McAuliffe Trophy, for the most successful county at the National Juvenile track and field Championships, was won by Cork. Contributing in no small way to the success of 1967, were Bertie Smith, John Sheehan and John Coakley. The trophy was in fact shared with Dublin, in that year, whilst, in 1969, contributing no less than two-thirds of the points total for outright winning, were John Wilmot, Mary Ryan, John Stone, Ann Duggan and Robert Wilmot.


In 1969, the clubs first international honours were achieved by Roger Kingston (junior) Valerie Shortland and Bertie Smith (both schools). The club had to wait, until 1974, for its first senior international - Brendan Crowley, who competed for Ireland, against Iceland and Portugal. Brendan was followed in the international trail by John Sheehan, Catherine Burke, Fiona Connolly, Carmel McCarthy, Cormac O'Connor, Michael Coakley, and more recently, by Paul Kelleher.


Athletes who were prominent during the 'sixties' included John Dromey, Willie Creedon, Tadgh Twomey, Denis Twomey, Eddie Culloty, Billy Good, Donagh Coughlan, Michael Keane, Dan Lynch, Michael Larkin, Bertie Smith, Sean Ryan, James Murphy, Roger Kingston, Mary Ryan, Valerie Shortland, Nora Coughlan, Mary Deasy, Mairead O’Neill, Billy Roycroft, Deirdre Sheehan, Ann O’Riordan, Ann Kelly, Catherine Wilmot, Ann Duggan, Ann Sheehan, John Stone, John Sheehan, Jimmy Sheehan, Robert Wilmot, Mary O’Halloran, Joe Morgan, Roger Patterson, Victor Gash, Joe O’Sullivan, Jim Good, Jerry Canniffe, Gerard O’Mahony, Eileen Duggan, Rose Lehane, Catherine O’Reilly, Ann Canniffe, Christina Walsh, Margaret Duggan, Catherine O’Connor, Mary O’Sullivan, Pa Ryan, Liam O’Reilly, Charles Ryan, John O’Sullivan, Margaret O’Sullivan, Brendan Wilmot, Anita Ryan, Eugene McCarthy, James Wilmot and Noelle Casey, to name but a few.


The ’seventies' saw the club prosper, with its members continuing to be successful at divisional, county, regional and national level. The Taylor-Keith Trophy for the best overall club in the county was won on four occasions during this decade - in 1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979. The Dagg trophy was won for a second time, in 1974.


In 1979 at Upton, the club won the first of its two County men’s Novice cross-country Championships - this after overcoming the firm favourites, Leevale. The winning team was John Hurley, Joe O'Sullivan, Willie Grainger and Der McCarthy. In the same year, Elizabeth Howe and Ann Kelly were members of the Carbery team that won the county senior women's title for the first time. The other novice winning success was in 1986, when the winning team was Tim Lucey, Cormac O’Connor, Ger Daly, James Daly and Ian Harpur.


In 1974, Tadgh Twomey set an new Irish record, for the 561bs over the bar event, breaking Ned Tobin's long standing record. He had been close on a few earlier occasions, but the record was then not ratified, due to technicalities.


During the ’seventies', athletes to the fore included Brendan Crowley, Gerard Coughlan, Tadgh Twomey, Dan Lynch, Pat O'Donovan, Patrick McCarthy, John Stallard, Padraigh Haydon, Finbarr Willmot, Liam Chambers, Michael O'Reilly, Michael Burke, John Roche, Ann Murphy, Anne O'Mahony, Joy Bennett, Joy Good, Ann Sheehan, John Sheehan, Michael Lawson, Brendan Hurley, Jimmy Sheehan, Paudie O’Riordan, Fr Michael Hurley, Bertie Smith, Liam O'Reilly, Richard Conroy, Ray Payne, Michael Lehane, Gerard Crowley, P.J.O'Diiscoll, Vincent O'Donovan, Kieran Kelly, John Merrick, Ciaran Sheehan, Sgt Jim McNamara, Richard Conroy, David Stone, John O’Shea, Mary O'Donovan, Mary O'Reilly, Bernadette O’Donovan, Elizebeth Howe, Joan O'Reilly, Mary Finn, Terry Dineen, Mary Kelly, Mary Slattery, Marie Fleming, Donal Demsey, Catherine Crowley, Noelle Casey, Margo O'Driscoll, Dan O'Driscoll, Aidan Donnelly and Bernie Coughlan. Richard O’Flynn took the National Junior cross-country title, at Killeshin, County Laois, in February 1981, and was selected on the Irish team for the World Junior cross-country Championships that year. On his performance at the national juniors, he was offered an athletics scholarship to Providence College. Richard subsequently competed in the World cross country championships, on five occasions in all, from 1981 to 1993. He was the first club member to be offered an American college scholarship, and was to be followed a few years later by Breda Dennehy, who went to Western Kentucky.


In 1980, both the County Graded track and field Leagues for men and women were won by the club, and our women repeated the performance the following year. The Chris Warren Perpetual Trophy, for the best overall club at the County Junior Championships, was also won by the club. The destination of which went down to the last event on the programme, which was the ladies 4x400m. Here Catherine Burke overtook Carol Leahy of Leevale, in the final few metres, to take the Trophy, by one point, from Leevale. The club also competed in the National Leagues in 1976, as well as during the early ’eighties.


The outstanding juveniles, during the late 'eighties', were Breda Dennehy and Paul Kelleher. Breda competed in the women’s senior World cross country championship, in 1992 and 1993, whilst Paul had a dream debut to his international career, in July 1990, when successfully anchoring the Irish junior team in the 4x400m relay, at an international junior meeting, in Sittard Holland. This gave Ireland its first ever junior team victory in an international track and field competition.


Prominent club members during the 'eighties were John Sheehan, Liam O'Reilly, Brendan O'Donovan, Gabriel Lally, Padraigh McCarthy, Donal Warren, Joe O'Sullivan, John Hurley, Richard O'Flynn. Conor Lynch, Aidan Donnelly, Catherine Burke, Mary Burke, Susan Pope, Hazel Benn, Terry Sheehan, Arthur Beare, Regina O'Donovan, Helen Connolly, Margaret Connolly, Fiona Connolly, Helen Coughlan, Catherine Duggan, Ann Kelly, Margaret Kelly, Teresa Finn, Colm Murphy, Oliver Murphy, Deirdre Murphy, Michael Quinlan, Ivor Burns, Tim Lucey, Jim Lucey, Melany Burns, Ger Daly, Cormac O'Connor, Dermot McCarthy, Ger Corcoran, Brid Dennehy, Colette Dennehy, Ann-Marie O'Donovan, Robert Wilmot, Leonard Waugh, Yvonne Perrott, Tim Lynch, Thomas Crowley, Marion Lynch, Triona Lynch, Declan O'Halloran, Dan O'Driscoll, Paul Kelleher, Michael Coakley* Siobhain O'Connely, David Sullivan, Michael McSweeney, Mark Harte, Chris Dornan, Fr Michael O'Mahony, Tadgh Twomey, Dan Lynch, Gerard Hayes, Lucy Walsh, Joseph O'Connell, John O'Connell, Josephine O'Callaghan, Martina Waugh, Siobhain Waugh, Carmel McCarthy, Stephen McCarthy, Tony McCarthy, Elizabeth Crowley, Brenda Scannell, Ann O'Connell, Dympna McSweeney, Essie O’Leary and Neally O'Leary.


Weight Throwing has always been associated with the club, from Eddie Culloty and Donough Coughlan, initally through to the present. When Tadgh Twomey joined in 1965, the weight event took on a new dimension nationally. Tadgh was ably coached, in his initial years, by George Bennett, and later came under the watchful eye of Sgt. Jim McNamara, and Michael Haydon. During the 'seventies', the club had an abundance of weight throwers, which included Tadgh, Liam Nolan, Jim McNamara, Jimmy Sheehan, John Sheehan, Dan Lynch, Patrick O'Mahony, Denis Twomey, Michael McSweeney, Fr Michael O'Mahony, Sean Canniffe, and Colm Murphy. Tadgh ranks among the greatest of 561bs distance men and, until recent years, also held the national over-the-bar record.


Women's athletics was at its infancy in the early 'sixties, when a women's County Board was formed and independant women's athletic clubs were also founded - prominent among these were Leeside, Emerald Ladies and Bandon Ladies. The Bandon Ladies AC was founded on 21st December 1965, with the following officers and committee -
President: Fr McCarthy, Vice-Presidents: Mrs D Crowley and Mrs T Murphy, Chairperson: Noreen Deasy, Vice-Chairperson: Breda Herlihy, Hon. Secretary: Breda O'Neill, Hon. Treasurer: Nora Coughlan.


Committee: Kathleen O'Sullivan, Loreto Gaffney, Ann Phelan, Peggy Desmond, Murial McKenna, Maureen O'Mahony, Shelia Twomey, Mairead O'Neill, Helen O'Sullivan.


In 1967, Mary Deasy became Chairperson of the County Women's Board, in succession to Betty Cody. The club continued until 1968 when it amalgamated with Bandon AC. Its prominent
athletes during its existence included Nora Coughlan, Mary O'Halloran, Mairead O'Neill, Mary Deasy, Valerie Shortland, Helen O'Sullivan and Margaret O'Sullivan.


The club has also been associated with charitable events, and on eleven occasions, undertook a 70 mile charity run, for two different charities. The Rehabilitation Centre at Upton was the beneficiary on ten of these occasions, and the most recent run was in aid of the Watergate Centre in Bandon.


The 'nineties' has seen the emergence of some top class athletes in Michael Coakley, Paul Kelleher, Breda Dennehy and Richard O'Flynn. In the World cross-country championships of 1993, the club had one senior member on both the Irish women's and men's teams, through the representation of Breda Dennehy and Richard O'Flynn. The club was in fact the first in the county having senior representation on both teams in the same year.


Martin Harte has kept the club to the fore in the throwing events, at the present, and the club has an abundance of talent in its current juvenile ranks, among the better being Margaret Mary Crowley. The veterens are also emerging through Ann Kelly, Essie O'Leary, Betty Conroy, Liam Fleming and Neally O'Leary. The club has always had an extremely hard working committee, and its members also took many officership positions, not alone on the County Board but also the West Cork Board. The club is probably one of the few athletic clubs which has its own Chain of Office, which was kindly presented by the Irish National Building Society on the occasion of the clubs 25th anniversary, having been expertly crafted by Hilsers' of Bandon

The club Chairpersons since its foundation back in 1964 are as follows -

1964/1966 - John Desmond
1969/1972 - Chris Warren
1975 - Donough Coughlan
1981 - Brendan Crowley
1983/1987 - Dan Riordan
1989/1991 - Billy Good
1967/1968 - Billy Good
1973/1974 - George Bennet
1976/1980 - Patrick McCarthy
1982 - Ann Kelly
1988 - Tim Lucey
1992 Liam Fleming

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St Finbarr's Athletic Club, Christmas, 1978; athletes and officials gathered for the Annual Charity run, outside Musgrave Park. Reggie Hayes, Fergus O'Donovan, John Buckley, Mick O'Riordan, Freddie Gilbert to but a few

 

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University College Cork AC; the 1974 Inter-Varsity cross country Champions. Inlcuded are Mary Doyle, Maura Murphy, Joan Fleming, Mary Mclnerney and Elaine Kelly.
This was the start of a sequence of Inter-Varsity victories at cross-country and track & field that continued through the 'seventies'

 

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Committee and Officers of Bandon AC, at the 25th Anniversary Celebrations.

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club official and well known starter, John McSweeney of Skibbereen.

 

BELGOOLY AC (Download in PDF Format)

Rosaleen Walsh


Belgooly Athletic Club was established in December 1986, and, in that relatively short period of time, have grown into a very successful BLE/BLOE club.


The number of juvenile athletes amongst the members has increased dramatically, and between them, have countless County, Munster and National titles. Ann Mather was the first to win an All-Ireland medal when she won the girls' under-14 long jump, in 1991. The most recent National success has been Leonard McCarthy, who won an amazing three gold medals, at the National track and field events, at Tullamore. Donna McGrane represented Ireland, at the International level, last year, and was second in the long jump, and a member of the winning relay team.


The amount of time and effort dedicated to the younger members at the club is of great credit to the coaches and juvenile officials at Belgooly.


Back in December 1986, the first committee of Belgooly Athletic Club elected read as follows: President: Dick Copithorne, Chairman: Joe Copithorne, Secretary: Rosaleen Walsh, Treasurer: Tony Dwyer, PRO: Bridie O'Donovan. The current chairman is Flor Lovell, who was elected at the club Annual General Meeting, last November, and Flor is among the many marathon runners at Belgooly AC.


In 1987 the Belgooly senior men's team were third in the Belfast Marathon, with the team being Eddie Mullane, Sean Walsh, Dan Linehan and Joe Copithorne. Eddie Mullane has had honours in the National marathon, and half-marathon Championships. In 1991 Martina Coleman had a very successful cross-country season in the County and Munster Novice Championships, and was awarded the Carrigdhoun Sports Star Athletic Award for her achievements. In recent seasons, Joe Copithorne has been a member of the Cork over 35 cross-country teams, winning silver and bronze medals. Joan Keating has won countless All-Ireland veteran track and field Championship titles in the last two seasons, and was a nomination for a Sports Star Award last year. The club have organised several runs for local Charity Groups, and promote two very popular annual road races - the Belgooly 10 mile, and 4 mile. Belgooly are at the moment planning the upcoming 10 mile, and also have the annual sports meeting in June.


The outstanding achievements of the club were recognised in 1992 when the Lord Mayor of Cork at the time, Denis Creegan, gave the juveniles a reception at Cork City Hall, and last September - Kinsale Urban District Council honoured the club, with a presentation of the Kinsale Coat of Arms.


This year, the club have won the AIB sponsored trophy, for the best West Cork club at the track and field Championships, held over two legs. At the Belgooly Sports, the juveniles were the best overall club, for the second successive year.


The recent All-Ireland honours are yet another chapter in Belgooly's short existence and no doubt there will be many more in the future.


Keep up the good work Belgooly !

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BLARNEY/INNISCARRA AC (Download in PDF Format)

Marv Meagher


Blarney/Inniscarra Athletic Club, in the catchment area of the club name, attracts membership from a much greater area than this. It caters for membership, starting with under eight girls and bovs, to senior level. The club has a proud history in both track and field events at all ages.


The success is due to the athletes commitment, and, in the main, to the dedication of the club's excellent coaches. However, great support and hard work by manv people help to make the club the thriving success it is today.


There are records of organised athletics in Blarney back into the last century. Blarnev Sports celebrated its centenary in 1986. Athletics was first organised bv the young G.A.A. until about 1922. when the N.A.C.A.I. became the governing bodv of athletics in Ireland, until 1967.

During this time Blarney Athletic and Cycling Club was a big force to he reckoned with in the County, in Munster, and nationally, as well as internationally, on numerous occasions.


The club had a few lean vears after 1967, when the flag was kept flying bv M.J.Buckley (our President), with the help of a dedicated few, including the late Andy Vaughan. The momentum started again in the '70s, and, because many of the young athletes were from the Inniscarra parish, the club name was changed to Blarney/Inniscarra A.C., in 1976, and catered for mostly juvenile athletes.


The club has gone from strength to strength since then, with senior and juvenile athletes having International titles to their credit, and two athletes are at present on athletics scholarships, in USA. Part of the club's success is because it is a fun club, with weaker athletes just as welcome as the many top athletes. New members are always welcome.


The 1990 season was very successful. In all twenty-nine medals were won at National level, thirtv-one at Munster level, and fiftv-two at county level. Every year the club holds an athletics league, and, for many in the club, this very successful venture is the stepping stone to further successes in the area of track and field athletics.


Valerie Vaughan ranks among the top women runners in the country, and is at home in any event, from the 1,500 metres upwards. She was the 1992 National senior Champion over this distance, and has still much to offer through her athletics. Another senior athlete who has enjoyed much success, although still maturing, is thrower Brain Whitty. He is among the best in the County, and has a particular aptitude for the shot and the 56 pound events, having taken many juvenile and junior National medals. There are many other very promising athletes in club who will break into senior ranks in the coming vears, although of course many have already won many an event, at senior level, already. No less talented is Jerome Murphy, already taking medals, in the shot putt and discus. Edel Meagher is perhaps among the better prospects, already being ranked in the national senior lists, in the shot and discus. A schools' International, Edel is also a capable hurdler and long jumper.

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DOHENYS AC (Download in PDF Format)

Catherine Murphy


In the ’forties, the Doheny's Athletic Club, Dunmanway, was among the foremost in the county. At the height of its fame during that period, the Cade Cup - for the best all-round club in the county - was secured among other trophies and laurels. Helping the club in those days were such star competitors as Matt Treacy, Flor Crowley and Paddy Cashel.


Flor was the Irish Goulding hammer champion on a number of occasions, and was also a champion bowl player. Paddy was another noted thrower, and won the Munster shot title many a time.


In time though, the club lapsed, and for many years athletics in the Dunmanway region was non-existent.


In 1972 however, the seeds for revival of the club were sown when Garda Jim Allis was transferred to the town, from Bantry. Jim had been a capable novice sprinter in his time, and wore the Bantry colours with distinction. He got great help in his ideas of reviving the Dohenys Club from former star Matt Treacy, and the local curate Rev Fr Buckley. Fr Buckley was the secretary of the Caheragh Novice Sports Committee, when he ministered there.


The following year, in November, the Club was revived, through a meeting at the Bostonian Hotel. Representatives of all the local sporting interests were present, for the purpose of the re-launch. Martin Lynch, chairman of the County Board, Donie Duggan, secretary, and Billy Nestor, PRO, all travelled from Cork for the meeting.


The Club officers elected on the night were as follows - President; Canon Watts, Chairman; Matt Treacy, Vice-Chairman; Rev Fr Buckley and Joe Mannix, Secretary; Jim Allis, Assistant Secretary; D Kingston, Treasurer; D Cronin, PRO; D Frost.


The original green and white of the Dohenys was adopted as club colours, and the first priority was the re-establishment of the Dunmanway Open Sports.


These continued for many years, and into the ’eighties, as the Club went from strength to strength. These local open sports attracted many an athlete, and there were visitors from all over Munster, and of course Cork. Fanahan McSweeney of Grange was among those who was a regular at the sports during the 'seventies.


Among the top athletes in the Club in recent years, include the Mannix brothers, both of whom were very capable shot putters, and carried off many a prize, and County Championship. Joe was an officer of the club for many years. Another very prominent athlete in his day was Sammy Beamish. Sam could match strides with the best sprinters in the County and Province, and this at a time when a National Championship final would not be the same without three or four from the County.


Sam was the recorder of the Cork County Board for some three years. As such he continued the new club’s tradition in this particular field, as his immediate predecessor as County Board recorder was none other than Jim Allis himself!

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EAGLE AC (Download in PDF Format)

Paddy Linehan
Among the youngest of the clubs in the county, Eagle Track Club as it was originally known, was the brainchild of Fred Gilbert. Fred was formally a well known coach with the juvenile section of the St Finbarr's Athletic Club. Eagle Track came into being at the start of the 1982/83 cross country season and since then the club has provided the Cork area with many a fine athlete. Eagle were formed to cater for juveniles initially. In a 1984 interview for 'Marathon' magazine he outlined the aims and ideals of the club were 'to cater for Juvenile athletics and to prepare them for the area of Senior athletics. In our minds any victories for our juveniles are a bonus to our aims'.


Among the better known names in the early years of the club were Tony Gilbert, a middle distance runner who won a scholarship to the University of Lowell near Boston and Fidelma Kirwan, a Celtic and schools' 400 metre hurdles international. Tony's brother, Declan, followed him on athletic scholarship to Lowell and a third runner to secure a similar crossing of Atlantic to America was Tony O'Gorman, who went to Minnesota.


In its very first year Eagle Track competed in the Omega League Division 'B' and at juvenile level there was a fourth place for Declan Gilbert in the national under-16 steeplechase and gold for Fidelma Kirwan in the girls under-17 400 metre hurdles and a silver in the 200 metres. Over the years the successes have accumulated with athletes securing National medals in the throws, jumps, walks, sprints and middle distance events.


Much of this success is due to the skilful coaching at the Club; from its early years there was Fred Gilbert and Mick Clancy. Since then the coaches in the club have included Mick Sheehan, Denis Aherne, Donal Cronin, Paddy Linehan, Colm Murphy, Liam Doherty, Pat Harrington and Catherine Murphy. Paddy Linehan is of course well known for his expertise in the throws as is Colm Murphy, a former National throws coach and currently the National triple jump coach.


Sprinting at the Club was at a high standard for many a year - under the care of Denis Ahearne. The quartet of Donal Cronin, John Corr, Mark Smyth and Gary Aherne were among the best squad in the country and indeed proved this at Provincial and at National level.


Over the years many a successful thrower has donned the club singlet. The three Linehan sisters - Noreen, Helen and Kathy accumulated many a County, Regional and National medal, with Noreen among the pioneers   of women's hammer throwing in Ireland. This past Summer she secured an international 'cap' as Ireland were represented internationally in this event for the first time.


Pat O'Leary was yet another very capable thrower. Specialising in the shot putt, he was a regular over the 13 metre mark. He was also quite an exponent with the 56 pound weight. Paul Lynch and Seamus Manning were   both 40 metre plus hammer throwers and Kieran Stack, when not steeplechasing, proved a very able javelin thrower.


Currently the club boasts of several first rate weight throwers; at senior level there is Johnathan McSweeney in the shot, Tim O'Herlihy in the discus, Martin O’Sullivan and Noreen Linehan in the hammer, and Colm Murphy who is making a comeback after a lay-off of a decade. All are under the guidance of Paddy Linehan.


On the track, Fidelma Kirwan remains among the top women 400 metre hurdlers in the country, and Ann-Marie Healy has made great progress in her training, over the past winter. At longer distances, national medals have been won at a number of distances, up to and including the marathon, and such as Joe Murphy, Eddie Noonan, Denis Hegarty, Pat Murphy and Tommy Ryan have ensured that the Club's name is never far from the final placings.


Many of the latter have taken a great interest in mountain running, and indeed the Club is very active in promoting this activity, in the Munster area. Besides organising the Munster Championships, Eagle Athletic Club also provide the majority of medal winners at regional and at national level.


The juvenile section of the club boasts of many exciting prospects, and the care that Donal Cronin, Liam Doherty, Pat Harrington and Paddy Linehan have of their charges speaks well of the Club as a whole. Susan O'Rourke and Ciaran Foley are among those youngsters to benefit.


The veterans section of the club is strong, and such household names as Michael Kiely and Hughie McSweeney compete in the club singlet. Both are national champions, of course, and have competed successfully abroad. The two secured medals at the last World Veterans' Indoor Championships, in Budapest, Hungary, in 1991, with Michael taking a double gold, and silver, and Hughie taking two bronzes. The club is growing in numbers in this area, and names for the future include Joe Murphy, Ted Twomey, Catherine Murphy and Ebhena Finnegan.


As a finale, mention must be made of the two main promotions of the Club. In March annually, the 'Carrigaline 5' is run off, with all the top athletes in the county and beyond taking part. This ranks among the few athletic promotions in the town. Last August, the Club organised the first ever throwers only meeting. All the usual throwing events - to include the hammer and 56 pound for distance events - were included on what was a lengthy programme. The sports was well supported, and all the top throwers in the country were in Cork for the evening's activities, with Nick Sweeney throwing a new all-comers Irish discus record of 60.38 metres, and, for good measure, had also the furthest mark for the 56 for distance for many a year - 8.48 metres.


At County Board and Southern Region level, the Club has provided many an official. Paddy Linehan was active on the County BLOE Board, and, presently, Colm Murphy and Catherine Murphy are BLE County Board PRO and Secretary respectively. Colm is also the National Triple Jump Coach, and all three are very active as officials at meetings up and down the length and breadth of Ireland.


A very active club - both in active participation and indeed in the promotion of athletics.

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EAST CORK AC (Download in PDF Format)

Liam O'Brien

The club was founded in November 1985, in an attempt to amalgamate the existing senior clubs within the East Cork division. Father Liam O'Brien was the club's first Chairman, and he remained in that post for a further two years'. Barry Moran was club Chairman in 1989, and he was followed in that post by Bryan Meade, who filled the position until John Reidy assumed control, in 1993.


The club has had but two secretaries - Paul Mulholland for three years, from 1986, and Liam O'Brien, who began his secretarial duties in 1990, and still remains in this position. The post of Treasurer has, since the club's inception, been in the capable hands of Gerry Wallace.


Middle distance running, particularly on the road and cross-country, has been the main area of success for the club. In the men's category, Liam O'Brien, Donncha O'Mahony, Bryan Meade. Gerry Wallace, John Kearney, Martin Drake and Tom Owens have achieved notable successes.


The County senior cross-country Championship has escaped the club only once over the past eight years, and there have been individual Championship winners through Liam O'Brien, in 1989, and Donncha O'Mahony, who enjoyed a hat trick of successes in 1990, 1991 and 1992. There were also county novice championship successes.


At Southern Region level, the club won the cross-country title in 1987, 1988, 1990 and 1991, with the duo of Liam O'Brien and Donncha O'Mahony taking individual gold on no less than five occasions between them, in this period.


At National senior level, there was a bronze in 1989, and various medals for both individual and team, at National intermediate standard.


Success has not been confined to the cross-country courses either, as National road relay medals were secured by the club, in 1988 and 1991 - gold; 1986. 1987, 1989 and 1993 - silver, and a bronze in 1990.


Paul Mulholland. Frank Cashman, John Walsh, George and Freddy Walsh have been leading figures in veterans races nationwide. Here again, the club enjoyed National success at inter-club level, in 1986 and 1988. All are prominent on the road running circuit, throughout the year.


During the summer, the standards have been equally maintained, with the East Cork club being the National track & field 'B' Division champions, in 1987. There was also gold for the trio that represented the club in the National track and field relay championships, in the 5,000 metre event, in 1990, and, of course, the successes at individual level of such as Liam O'Brien and Donncha O'Mahony, over the past few years, are well known among athletic enthusiasts throughout the country, especially with the former's domination of the steeplechase at the National championships.


In the ladies section, Eileen Prunty was the early standard bearer, later to be followed by Mary Sheehan, and at the present time, Angela Murphy is one of the top juniors in the country.

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GRANGE/FERMOY AC (Download in PDF Format)

Bob BURKE
The Grange/Ferraoy Athletic Club was founded in 1960 by the late Paul Barry of Fermoy. The election of officers at the first AGM resulted in the following being elected; President - Fr John Kelleher; Chairman - Paul Barry; Secretary - Bernard Dempsey and Treasurer - Bob Burke.
The Club's first ma.ior victory came in its second year when James Cummins won the county novice cross country championship. From there on the club went from strength to strength and won many major events - in 1965 the club claimed all the county cross country team titles - novice, junior, intermediate, senior and youths - a feat that has never been equalled since. In 1966 the club took part in the 170 mile relay commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Rising. This relay commenced in Rosmuc in Galway and finished at the GPO in Dublin. The team of S.Roche, J.Meligan. J.D.Murphy. J.Beecher. D.Turner, T.J.O'Reilly, D.Cummins. C.O'Connell, J.Morrissey and R.Buckley had the honour of finishing first.


One of the club's most famous athletes John Hartnett won the World Junior Cross Country title at Vichy in France in 1970. This was to be the start of a very illustrious career in athletics for John. Another prominent Athlete in the Club at this time was Fanahan McSweeney who held both National and European Records. The icing on the cake came in 1972 for both John and Fanahan when they competed at the Olympic Games in Munich.


The women members of the Grange Club made their first major impact on the Cross Country scene by winning the County Senior League, County under 18 championship, Munster under 18 championship. National under 18 championship, Munster senior and National Senior championships all in the same year, 1974. The above victories were achieved by just the five M.Mellerick, D.Mellerick, M.Lehane, M.Roche and T.Roche. That same year M.Mellerick made the Irish Senior team and Eddie Hartnett made the Irish junior men's team to run in the world cross country at Monza in Italy.


However all honours did not go to the senior athletes. The Juveniles of the club were among the best in the Country, winning numerous county, munster and national titles. If space allowed it, we could list many, many more outstanding successes over the years and thankfully at this present time, the club has some very dedicated and promising.athletes.


Another monument in the history of the club was the hosting of the Grange International Cross Country for a number of years and some of the top athletes in the world took part in this event each year. This annual event ranked among the top cross¬country events in the world and all the leading runners of the time made their way to Fermoy. Athletes from Europe, Africa and the American continent were regular visitors.


A life time ambition of the club was to lay its own all weather track. 1991 saw this dream come true when sufficient funds were raised and work set in motion. The track was officially opened by none other than Fanahan McSweeney, in 1992.

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LEEVALE AC (Download in PDF Format)


Fr Nessan & John Sheehan
The spectacular success of Leevale AC has been one of the outstanding features of modern sport in Cork county. That success has been determined not only by the power of the athletes but more so by the manner in which the founder clubs organised and popularized athletics amongst the youth. Fr. Mathew AC started simply as a juvenile club supported and financed by the Fr. Mathew Hall. This new club organised training facilities for the many boys in the city who were not attached to established clubs and was strongly supported by the games-master from various schools and members of Montenotte AC who threw in their lot with the new idea.
From the beginning the club was successful for the simple reason that there was a demand for juvenile organisation and the men behind Fr. Mathew AC had the dedication and efficiency to supply it. After about three years as some boys were moving beyond under-age ranks the club made a major decision: for the purpose of senior athletics, they decided to seek amalgamation with Hilltown AC, but to maintain the independence of Fr. Mathew, as an independent juvenile club.


Hilltown AC, originally based in the Carrigaline area, had been founded in 1956, and always paid special attention to its juvenile are. That policy paid rich dividends with the result that the club became one of the most formidable in the county particularly when it moved into Douglas-Ballinlough district. Hilltown accepted the offer of amalgamation made by Fr. Mathew, and so Leevale AC was born. Hilltown juveniles however, continued as a separate club, and with Fr. Mathew Juvenile AC provided a powerful source of material for the parent, Leevale Hub. The formation of a ladies section, in 1968, added to the strength and attractiveness of the new combination.


In a very short time, Leevale became one of the foremost athletic forces in the country. They have won almost every honour which the sport in Ireland could offer: they have assisted at every level of administration, and spread their influence to areas where organised athletics was unknown. Today the club stands with a brilliant past; it is determined on a long and greater future.


Te early years of the club were full of successes. In the sprints the Walley brothers, Ann and Finbar Jeffords and Conal Courtney were but a few, who secured International recognition and National medals. Brendan Mooney was our foremost quarter man in the 'seventies, and the middle and long distance events were in the very capable hands of Donie Walsh, Dick Hodgins, Joe O’Flynn and Pat O'Riordan. Seamus Power was the best high hurdler in the country and John Hunter ensured that the longer hurdles event was also well contested. The throws were in the capable hands of Brendan Coughlan and Paddy Moore. The club boasted of several top class jumpers too; in the high there was John FitzGibbon, and, somewhat later, Brendan Cronin and Dave Murray, who was a National Champion and International, as was Hick O'Flynn, for many years, the best triple jumper in the country. Colm Cronin became National record holder in that event, in the late 'seventies, and another good exponent of the event was Fintan O'Shea.


With so much talent, it was hardly surprising that honours came rapidly, and in quick succession, to Leevale. The National track and field leagues were won for three years in succession, from their inception. Over cross-country, Donie Walsh proved himself the National champion several times, and on the roads, there were few in the country better. The Quinlan, Miskimmon and Oman Cups were all won regularily, and National marathon titles fell to Donie Walsh, and Dick Hodgins.


Leevale were also the first club from Ireland to compete in the European inter-club contest, and were also the first club to win an inter-club International cross-country abroad. Thus the club was very vibrant from its inception.


In the 'eighties', Micheal Kiernan showed just how good a sprinter he was, through being a National Champion, and other high class athletes in these years included Tony O'Leary, Paul and Aidan O'Regan, and Ger Horan. All did well at Provincial, and National level.


This situation continues to the present day, with many top class athletes still in the Leevale colours. The Haddock brothers are still the duo to beat at National level, to secure medals, and Tim Barry, Mick Murphy, and Stephen Fleming are all top class sprinters. Middle and long distance running is in the hands of the very capable Pat Shine, Der O'Donovan, Ray Shanahan, Brother John Dooley and Dick Hodgins, who ensure that there is quite a pool of talent under their firm grip. Middle and long distance running has always been a highlight, and, besides the exploits of Marcus O'Sullivan, others to have come to the forefront, include Mark Carroll, Dave Healy, Trevor Foolkes, Darren Keenan, Ken Nason, John Murray and Declan O'Callaghan, to name but a few of the very talented crop.


Brid Murphy won the National marathon Championship in 1992, thereby carrying on that particular tradition in the club. The women won the National 'B' League last year, this through quite an all-round effort, rather than any one individual. Although it should be added that Clair Ingerton scored well, and is among the top long jumpers in the country.


In the throws, Paddy Moore is as youthful as ever, and, last year, had the distinction of winning National Championship medals, in the 'sixties', 'seventies', 'eighties', and now, of course, the 'nineties. Paddy won his first National medal in 1967, and on the 25th Anniversary Championship, was still throwing well enough for a bronze. This year (1993), he broke the National over 45 best in the javelin, with a return of 57.48 - a distance just off the bronze! At a younger age is Dyan Sheehan, who is among a good group of youthful throwers in the Club. The high jump is in the hands of Peter Ruby, who is capable at the moment of clearing 2.10 metres, and the Hallahan brothers, Michael, and Brian, are two very talented horizontal jumpers. Michael is an Irish international, in the long, and has a best of 7.38 metres. Among the hurdlers in the Club are brother and sister, Dave and Aisling Power, whose father was a Champion in his time.


The future looks very bright.

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MALLOW AC (Download in PDF Format)

Pat Kerrigan
In the early 'seventies', Mallow AC joined up with Banteer AC, to form the one club, being now known as Mallow-Banteer AC. In 1977, Mallow reverted back to town, and the club now formed was Mallow AC - as it is known today.


Pat Kerrigan took the secretary position in 1980, and at the time, many of the elder members were not involved. Several younger athletes joined the club, and at present there are, in all, some 25 registered active athletes.


The club promotes two road races in Mallow; the Folk Festival 4 Mile is usually held in late July, or early August, and always attracts large entries. Going to long distances - in 1981 a novel idea came up for a road race, and born was the 'Mallow Metric Marathon' - a distance of 26 kilometres. At the first race there were 225 runners, that was in 1981. The following year there were 250 runners, in 1983, 350 and in 1984, 154. These were held in the month of September, and, with the drop in numbers the distance, in 1985, was shortened to a 10 mile. The race has been held every year since, and it is popular among athletes.


The club promoted the Cork County novice cross-country Championships in 1982, and the novice 'B' in 1983. The club has had a good record in athletics down the years, with runners selected on Cork teams in cross-country and road championships. Many medals have been won - from National to Munster. The club were 3rd team in the National 25 kilometre Road Championships, in Ennis, in 1982, with Pat Kerrigan finishing 4th in the same race. In 1986, the club won the All-Ireland inter club half marathon, held in Limerick.


Most of the members have done the marathons in Cork and Dublin, also some have competed in the New York, London, Stockholm, and Gotenborg marathons. Pat Kerrigan has won many races on the road, cross-country and track, and has also competed in 12 marathons, with a personal best of 2:32. Andy Neenan has a good record in road, cross-country and track, and has also been selected on various Cork teams. He has also run several marathons, and has a personal best of 2:33.


Peter Gaffney took silver in the National Marathons held in Clonmel, in 1990 and 1993, in the over 50 category.
Eileen Lynam has been running for many years, and has won many road and cross-country events. She took bronze in the National Marathon, in the over 35 category, silver, this year, in the National 'vets' 800 metres, and has won many medals with Cork, in road and cross country.


John Robinson is another with a successful career on the roads, cross-country and track, and has won medals at County, Regional and National level. Mary Murphy has been with the club for many years, and has won many road races. She won the first ever womens 10k in Cork, in 1983. Mary has also competed in marathons in Cork and Dublin.


Other members who compete are John Holland, Dan Nagle, Jerry McCarthy, Jerry Horgan, Jerome Riordan, Dan Byrne, Paddy Gyves, Eileen Guiney, Ann Gaffney, Catherine Moloney, and John Flynn.

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MIDLETON AC (Download in PDF Format)

Tom Houlihan
Midleton AC has figured prominently over the years on the Cork County athletics scene, since its formation, on Monday October 17th, 1966.


The first cross-country fixture hosted by the club was the FCA/Army Championships, on Sunday November 20th of the same year, on the lands of Noel Hales, at Bilbery, Midleton. Over the years cross-country championships and road races have been regularly organised and promoted by the club.


Over the years many top class athletes have donned the club singlet, not only over cross-country, and on the roads, but also in track and field competition, and at both BLE and BLOE level. Many club athletes have represented Ireland at international competition, in both juvenile and senior grades. Our most recent juvenile representatives at international level were Laura Hegarty and Kenneth Treacy, both of whom won their respective events - Kenneth the high jump, and Laura, the sprint hurdles. At senior level, the best known former club member must be Liam O'Brien, who competed in the steeplechase, at the 1984 Olympic Games, in Los Angles. Liam has also competed for Ireland at cross-country, and he has won the Irish steeplechase title on no less than ten occasions.


Kathleen Glavin was also another well known International competitor, specialising in the long jump, and in the sprint hurdles. Kathleen set Irish records in both these events on several occasions. Joe Brice was yet another club athlete who set Irish records, in the shot putt and discus, the event for which he is best remembered. His record for the discus stood for a good number of years. Other former top athletes in the club include Mary Fleming, Linda Barrett, Mary and Rosemary Dunne, John Curran, Kenneth P. Horgan, Kenneth L. Horgan, and Tom Walsh. The well known athletics figure, Fr Liam Kelleher, was with the club for many years. and did much to promote Midleton AC at county, regional and at national level.


The first chairman of the club was Paddy Hartnett, who later became chairman of the Cork County BLE Board. Another former chairman, Phil Glavin, was for several years chairman of the last Cork BLE/BLOE Board.


Each year, the club promotes an open five mile road race, on the first Thursday of May, an open juvenile and novice sports, on the second Sunday of August, and an open juvenile and novice cross-country meeting, on the second Sunday of September. There is also a series of four two-mile fun runs, in March and April, which is always very well supported, even by athletes outside of the club.


Some years ago, a synthetic floor was laid on our indoor track. This is a straight track, some fifty metres in length, on which athletes can train for sprints, hurdles, and such like, during the long and bleak winter months. There is also a long jump pit at the end of this track, and there are also facilities for high jump training.


The club at the moment has a good number of good 'up and coming' athletes, with a bright future ahead.

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NORTH CORK AC (Download in PDF Format)

Maura Doyle
The North Cork Athletic Club was formed in 1981, and, since then, has known many successes, in both track and cross-country, and on the roads.


The club won the trophy for the best cross-country BLOE club, in 1988, and 1989, and successes over the years at this level of competition has been continuous. Several of these juvenile athletes have come through the ranks, and have gained equal success at senior level. Kieran Stack, Garret Barry and Geoffery Sheehan all won the National junior steeplechase, between 1983 and 1987, quite some run in the one event. Garret has of course more recently been one of the premier middle distance runners in the country, being then National indoor 1,500 metres Champion. He also won the 1992 outdoor Championship at this level, as well as having taken gold, in the 1992 National indoor 3,000 metres.


At the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, the club was represented through Barbara Johnson. Having qualified through a great run at the National Championships, Barbara duly took her place for the Olympic 400 metre hurdles. Kieran Stack narrowly missed the qualifying time for the 3,000 metres steeplechase, which was very unfortunate both for himself and indeed the club.


However there was another Olympian, in the form of Peter Maher, who ran for the North Cork AC when he lived in Ireland during the mid ’eighties. Peter represented Canada in the Olympic marathon last time, and of course has since competed in the World Championships for his adopted country.


At National level there have been many successes. Back in 1984, Sheila Curtin won the ladies section of Cork City Marathon. Geremiah Twomey won the National senior cross-country, and added the 5,000 metre schools' track title, for good measure - both in 1988. Anita Philpott won All-Ireland cross-country championship at under 14, under 15, under 16, under 17 and at under 18 level - quite some achievement. Among her main rivals was none other than Sonia O’Sullivan, and in no less than twenty five meetings between the two the balance is with Anita - 23 to 2! Anita is the current National 1500 metre Champion.


Michelle Moloney won National junior championship cross-country at 14 years. In 1988, John Murray won the national under 16 and under 17 cross-country championship. The talent continues to the present day, with Annette Quaid among the better prospects. She is the current National under 16 800 metre indoor Champion. Another to the fore at the present is Maria Madigan, the under 16 high jump silver medalist.


At the present, the club is busy preparing for the 3rd annual Charleville 10 mile road race. John Lenihan of Riocht won the event in 1991, in a time of 50:50, and the following year Roy Dooney of DCH won in 49:52. Brid Murphy of Leevale won the women's race in 1991, in 59:53, and last year Ursula Noctor won in 57:21. It was with great sadness that we heard of the loss of this great athlete, in March this year. The club intends to put forward the "Ursula Noctor" perpetual trophy in this year's Charleville 10 mile race, in memory of this great athlete.

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St FINBARR'S AC

Reggie Hayes
The club was founded in 1951 as an extension of the Boys Club zj Canon Cashman RIP, Dick Day, Mick Barry RIP and Paddy Hennessy, becoming affiliated to the then NACA Cork County Athletics' Board. With the formation of BLE, in 1967, the club became affiliated to the new athletics organization.


St Finbarr's has been one of the strongest clubs in BLE, since its inception, and has been involved in every facet, from competition, through administration and officiating, and the general promotion of athletics.


During the period of time since the formation of BLE, we have had a number of homes. At the formation of BLE, we were based in Kate Kearneys, or Musgrave Park - to the uninitiated. We then moved to Carrigmore, the home of Old Christians. After that we moved to the Model Yacht club, on the Lough, which we rented, and then moved to C.B.C., in Landsdown - the top of St. Patricks Hill.


Each time we moved premises we tended to lose quite a number of our juvenile members, and so, on the 18th of July 1977, a Special General Meeting of the club was held, at which it was decided that we would build a club at the Lough, and the official opening was held on April 30th 1978, and was opened by the Lord Mayor of Cork, Mr Gerald Goldberg. We were the first rlub in Cork to build our own club house. This we felt was very important for all the members, and so the club was naturally very strong as a result.


We were also one of the first clubs to admit female members, long before equality of opportunity, and we were extremely lucky with the members that we had. Among some of our top ones were Elaine Kelly, Joan Fleming, Mary Doyle, Mary O'Sullivan, Mary Endes, Eleanor English, Ann Coughlan, Doris Manning, Joy Good, Marion Stanton, Mary Dempsey, Rose Crockett, Rose O'Brien, Rita Brien, Rita Murphy, Joan and Mary O'Neill, Catherine O'Leary, Betty Herlihy, and many many more. Most of these winning county, regional and national titles on the roads and over cross-country, and in track and field generally. Some also achieved International success.


On the men's side we were also extremely powerful with many household names the like of John and Denis Buckley, Jack and Flor O'Leary, Fergus O'Donovan, Joe Barry, Noble and Barry Johnson, Ritchie Crowley, Pat O'Connell, Thomas McCarthy, Ricki Burke, Michael and Denis Dooley, Jerry Beckett, Denis Manning, Pat Ryan, Billy Horgan, Noel Shannon, Len Braham, the Crotty brothers, Declan Ahern, John 0'Kelly-Lynch, Colm Murphy, Joe Emmett, Bill Thierfelder, Pat Nugent, Pat Moore, Frank Lonergan, Martin and Pat Lynch, among many many more.


During the period that we were based between the Lough and C.B.C., we developed a massive gathering of top juveniles, some sent to us by Brother McGrath, such as Owen, Tom and Jim Croty, Declan Ahern. Then Fred Gilbert brought his two sons Tony and Declan, add to that Terry Comiskey. The Ryan twins, Donal and Edward, were also very capable athletes, and this was a very exciting time for Cork athletics, and the St Finbarr's Athletic Club itself.


As I mentioned already, as part of our commitment to the development of athletics in Cork, we promoted many fixtures, both at track and field level, and cross country. Some of our major ones were the county senior track and field, and also the county junior track and field. Cross country was obviously a difficult one to promote, being a city club, however we did manage to promote the county senior cross country, and also the novice.


We have continued this to this day, and still continue to promote, many road races. We also originally promoted some street leagues, with the intention of initiating new members into the club. At present, the club promotes the Nike Cork City Half Marathon, which ranks the nearest in prestige to the Ballycotton race, and this coming year will also incorporate the national half marathon championship.


In the early 'eighties - during the great jogging boom - the club was again to the fore in promoting this section of the sport, under the watchful eye of Bart O'Sullivan and Humphrey Kerins. Many of our present ladies section has come through these ranks.


Also, as the club has matured, we have also developed a very strong veteran's section, and stalwarths such as Eric Crockett, Flor and Jack O'leary, Pat Ryan, and many many more, have become rejuvenated. The most outstanding has obviously been John Buckley, and his crowning achievement has been his medals haul in the World Veteran's Championships, last year, and how proud we all were to meet him on his return. John, of course, has accumulated quite an outstanding collection of European and World championship medals in recent years.


As I have already mentioned, we have also participated at every facet of the sport, and this has also been seen at County Regional and National level. Many of our people first gained excellent grounding at club and commitee level, before going to board meetings, and then further developing into officer material.


The County Board was under the chairmanship of John O'Connell for many years, to be followed by Martin Lynch, Reg Hayes, and Michael Dooley. Martin later went on to the Regional Council, and became secretary, and Reg was the first County Board Chairman to serve two terms - covering six years in all - in that position. Other officers at County level include Pat Buckley, who was Vice Chairman, and, at present, Tom Stanton continues the traditon of officership. Pierce McNamara was also an officer at Southern Region level, and Bill Nestor served as County Board Starter for many a year, and was also County Board Secretary and PRO. Reg Hayes, of course, later went on to become Vice Chairman of the Regional Council, and eventually became National President.


However, we have no fear for the future of the club, with the great tradition that it has behind it, it will continue to develop, and you will find that the club can hold its head with pride, and we will all be looking forward to the 50th celebrations, at the turn of the century

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Skibbereen AC

Pat Walsh
Skibbereen AC would be one of the smaller clubs in the county, but, nonetheless, have contributed in no small way to the development of athletics in the region. Primarily a BLOE club, it covers an area from Roscarbery to Drimoleague, and, to the west, as far as Schull.


Some of the highlights for the club over the years have been the holding of the County senior track and field Championships, and the senior cross-country Championships, in the ’seventies. Over the years, there have been a number of significant performances by members of this small club, most notable of these would be: Margaret Cadogan - winner of the gold medal in the All-Ireland Colleges, in 1976, in the 1.500 metres. She also represented Ireland on five occasions. Richard O’Donovan was second in the All-Ireland Colleges 1,500, in 1975, in which John Tracey was third. Peter O'Sullivan was 440 youth champion, at Munster level, and at All-Ireland level for the Army.


Billy Flaherty is one of the new generation of athletes who has won many cross-country races for Cork - Munster Novice, Munster U23, second in the Munster Intermediate, winner of the County intermediate, in 1992, and led the club to first team prize in that event. In 1992 also he won the County Senior 800 metres.


Margaret Cadogan, in the 'seventies, kept Skibbereen colours flying at County, Provincial and at All-Ireland level, and indeed went on to represent Ireland in the Home Counties International, in which she was seventh. She was second in the 1,500 metres in an International in 1977. She qualified for the AAA Championships that year, but a serious iniury prevented her from competing, and also brought her running career, effectively, to a premature end. She was coached by the late John McSweeney, and Brother Domnic, of the De Salle Brothers. After finishing her running career, she did become involved in coaching the young athletes of the club, and of course is now a PE teacher in Skibbereen.


John McSweeney was, without doubt, the most hard working and diligent club official that the club has had. He occupied all positions of officership in the club, as well as being Chairman and PRO of the West Cork Board. Without doubt it, can be said that the club would have closed down at least temporarily - without him - in the 'eighties. When he retired from the railway, in the late 'sixties, athletics became his chief interest, and he was involved not only in administration, but in coaching young athletes of all ages. He was a prominent starter at track and field events and cross-country, at County level, for many years. Together with his brother. Michael, he had a huge role to play in guiding the fortunes of athletes like Margaret Cadogan, Ann O'Sullivan and Ina Kingston. Both were unselfish in transporting athletes to events all over Munster.


When John passed away in 1991 the club lost one of its most treasured members.


The club continues to grow and remains very much a vibrant body both in West Cork and in the County at large.

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TOGHER AC

Tom Morgan
The Togher Athletic Club recently celebrated its silver jubilee, and, as such, has been very much associated with BLE, since its inception. It is with some satisfaction that the club can look back on the twenty five year plus history, and revel in the talent that has captured some of the most prized achievements in Irish athletics over these years.


The club now, as in the past, has produced athletes that have gained renown, at both National and International level. Among the most cherished achievement among folk in Togher would have to be the winning of the Drifter Cup for, the best juvenile club in Ireland in 1987.


The dedication of trainers and officials, working in combination with some of the top juvenile talent in the country, and the fostering of a deep commitment to team spirit, were the principal reasons for that particular success. If there was any doubt about the club’s supremacy, they stamped home their all powerful authority, by becoming the best juvenile outfit in Ireland for the second year in 1988.


In the same year, the club’s youngsters were unbeatable in Munster. They proved it by winning the award for the best juvenile club in the province.


Successes in recent years have not been confined to the juveniles. The O'Duffy Cup, for the best club at the Cork County senior track & field Championships, was won in 1989, and retained in 1990, and the club also came out tops in the graded Cork Leagues, in both the mens’ and womens’ sections, at the same time.


Boosted by their achievements in both senior and juvenile competitions, they entered a team in the mens "B" section of the AIB National League, duly finished 3rd.


Subsequently, the club entered the history books, when it became the first to win the inaugural Munster senior league competition. In addition, Togher also won the 4X100 metres National senior mens’ relay title the same year.
Currently the club has a very strong senior section, and a very promising juvenile and veterans outfit. Indeed the future for Togher looks paved with gold.


Established in 1966, the club was set up to offer a social and healthy, sporting outlet to the large young population of Togher. Founder members were Ted Murray, a past chairman of the Cork County Board, the late Liam Daly, a well known athlete in the area, and Tom Morgan, who remains very active within the club.


In the early days, most of the successes came in cross-country. But there was a pronounced swing to track and field with the coming of coaches such as Mossy Cotter, Sean McSweeney, Dan O’Mahony and Mick Dennehy.


Over the years, there have been many improvements in the club, and a club house was among the many efforts made to ensure that the club’s athletes were catered for in a constructive manner. As for the future? Well the club is certainly on a great footing, and there are many first rate athletes making their way through to the senior ranks.


Leading the juvenile ranks is formidable hurdler and sprinter Deborah Brady. She has already gained International recognition, competing with the Irish team, in Celtic Internationals. She also dominates her events on the National front - winning at 80 metres hurdles, 200 metres hurdles, and 100 metres.


Another great prospect is Liam Clinton. He was on the 4X400 metres relay team that contested the European Junior Championships, in Yugoslavia, in 1989, and the club was also represented at the World juniors a year later, when Darren Haddock was a member of the 4X100 metres team that set a new Irish Junior record.


Fergal Turbridy and Ebor Benson are sure to figure in the world of athletics in the future as both have great reserves of natural talent. Fergal made a promising debut as a decathlete this year in the County Championship, and here his all-round ability was very much to the fore. With practise, he can only improve, and the future is very much open to him.   Ebor too secured County honours, in the area of multi-events, this year, at BLOE level. So again yet another prospect in this particular field of athletics.


Talent and victory is not confined to short distanced events either. Faye Boyle is a member of the Cork junior - under 18 - cross country squad, and is a distance runner of the future. There are many promising long jumpers in the club, and among those with a bright future, are Ross O'Callaghan and Niamh Savage. Both have already won medals up to and including National level. Both are capable sprinters, and once strength is developed, they can only go from strength to strength in the coming years.


The renowned Valerie O'Mahoney is set for a comeback following the recent birth of her second baby. Valerie hit one of the many high points in her career at National and International level, when she won the National senior 1,500 metres in 1989. There have also been many successes over cross country, and indeed Valerie remains one of the County's best ever women athletes.


Several members of the club have become involved at County level. Ted Murray was treasurer of the County Board, from 1975 until 1982. Yet Ted's contribution was not to end here, as, in 1989, he was elected chairman of the Board, in succession to Fr Liam O'Brien. Mossie Cotter was also treasurer of the Board, and, indeed, was also recorder in 1987, and 1988. George Spicer is of course well known for the promotion of veterans' athletics. He has been the 'vets' representative to the County Board for many years, and this year was elected competitions' secretary. Finally John Hayes was elected on to the County Board track & field sub-committee, in 1992.


The club house is re-built, after damage was caused due to a fire. Here the co-operation of all members was sought and indeed given freely. The club house is again back in action, and is a great boost to the club, being, as it is, the headquarters of Togher Athletic Club.

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UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK AC

Colm Murphy
The University athletic club ranks among the oldest anywhere in the world, being in existence now for well over one hundred and thirty years. In that time, there has been huge changes in athletics, and the club has survived through these many eras. Over the past twenty five years, there have been many a notable athlete donning the 'skull and crossbones', and several of these athletes certainly left their mark on the athletics scene, both locally and at National level.


In the late 'sixties' the 'stars' included Micky Flynn, horizontal iump exponent, Ted Murphy, hurdler, John FitzGibbon, top high jumper, Russel O'Brien, half miler, and Liam Long, long distance expert, and, of course, the great Brendan O'Regan - still among the top ranked Irish sprinters.


December the 1st, 1969 was yet another landmark in the club's history, when the first women's team took on a Leevale selection, at the 'Dyke. Unfortunately for this squad, their debut in the Inter-Varsity cross-country Championships, the following February, was something of a non-event: the host College, Maynooth, declined, at the last moment, to have women running through the grounds of that establishment, so the women's event was transferred to Belfield. The UCC women missed the race, which saw UCD win, by a margin of one point, from Galway. A month later, in an inter-university tussle, the UCC women annihilated this very Galway team!


Bv 1971 UCC confined their season to the winter and spring, hitherto, UCC athletes were present at the many sports through the summer. The 1971/72 season saw a suggestion from the club that the County Board secure computerised adding machines, to assist the hardworking officials in their efforts to total the massive scores that the club was registering - the novice county Championships saw a total of no less than 583 points for UCC - believed to be an all time record!


But with the presence of such as Finny Long, Billy White, J J O'Flvnn and Tony O'Leary, the UCC presence at competitions changed remarkably. There was a brace of third place finishes for the men's and women's teams, at the Inter-Varsity's which Finny won in Galway. At the track & field 'Varsities', there was a similar improvement, through the services of such as Finbarr Jeffords, Jerry Beckett, Brendan Crowley, Eddie Sheehan, Robert O'Abang, and Oliver Murphv. In 1974, the women, with the absence of Maura Mellerick, were a good second in the 'Varsity' cross country, and this augured well for the immediate future.


The 1974/75 season saw UCC athletics at its highest for many a year: through the efforts of Catherine Hourihane. Joan Fleming, Maura and Dervla Mellerick, Elaine Kelly, Mary Lehane and Mary Doyle, there were County and Southern Region senior cross-country Championship firsts, there was a bronze in the National inter-clubs, and a gold in the National intermediates, and, of course, an emphatic double at the 'Varsity' cross country, and track & field championships. Finny Long too was in immense form - the highlight being a steeplechase and 5,000 metre double at the 'Varsity' championships, ably supporting the squad that were the runners-up in the O’Sullivan Cup.


The summer season saw the first running of the multi-events championships, and these proved a great success, with club President eventually presenting the Colman O'Keeffe perpetual trophv to a surprise winner, Mick Doyle.


With the added services of Margaret Crosse and Joan Hough, the women's team in the 'seventies' - it can be argued - was the strongest in the country; there were five 'Varsitv' cross-country Championships in a row, to add to three 'Varsitv' track & field ChampionshipS. International honours were bestowed on the Mellerick sisters, Elaine Kelly, Joan Fleming, Margaret Crosse and Mary Doyle. Besides 'Varsity' triumphs there were many County, Provincial and National medals secured.
Needless to say, the women were not the sole flag bearers; among the men perhaps Maurice Power's 'Varsity' quarter victory, in 1978, was among the better highlights, although the exploits of Finny Long and Gerry Murphy, in the longer distances, live in the memory. As does the quarter in 2 minutes 36 seconds, set by Colman O'Keeffe, in one particular 'Varsity' final - Colman had pulled a hamstring in the qualifying semi, but still went around in the final - on crutches!


For the very acquainted, it was also sad to see the dissolution of the 'splinter' group, in 1976 - the 'Varsitv' cross-country, in Maynooth, being the last 'splinter' 'Varsities' - although one wonders what the College authorities thought of all those postcards from Maynooth, advising of the famous dissolution of the totally unknown!


The late 'seventies saw the club rise to greater prominence, as the laying of the new track, and indeed the many field facilities now attracted many a student to try out the various new facilities. The new Mardvke track was opened with the Club providing the opposition, in a team competition. The return of so many former club greats, including the singular legend, Doctor Pat O'Callaghan, was as exciting as it was awesome. It remains difficult to express the enthusiasm that pervaded through the club in those heady vears.


Events such as the hammer, the high and low hurdles, steeplechase, triple and high jumps all received an impetus, as many an athlete now tried their 'hand' at these events. The facilities and eauipment were there, it only needed the 'bodies' to come to gripS with these rarely attempted events. The annual decathlon too now attracted more attention, as 'outside' athletes were keen to be involved in the many activities that the new facility now offered.


The 'eighties' opened on a high note, with the men all but winning the O'Sullivan Cup, at the 'Varsitv' track & field championships; Maurice Delaney, Jim, Tom and Owen Crotty, Gerry Murphy, Willie Horgan, Damien McLoughlin, Seamus Ryan, Colm Murphy, and Billy Oakes strived for points, but the absence of the two hammer throwers in that event ensured that UCC failed, by a mere point, to win that coveted trohy.


In the early 'eighties' Billv Murphy was appointed coach to the athletic club. In previous vears, such household names as Donie Walsh, Fergus O'Donovan, and Father Liam Kelleher had all ably given of their time, to assist many of the College students in their athletic endeavours. Besides Billy, Ray Shanahan also began coaching the students at this time.


Throughout the mid to late 'eighties', the club had many a success, through the efforts of such as Donncha O’Mahony. By the 'nineties', the club had once again been built into a force, a force not only on the local county and regional scene, but also on the national senior and Inter-Varsity arena. The men enjoyed a double in the Inter-Varsity road relay Championships, and there were other successes, in particular over cross-country, but also individual track and field performances of note.


Two individuals, in particular, must be singled out for their contribution to athletics at UCC. Barbara Johnson secured many a point at Inter-Varsity Championship level, and also ran the occasional cross-country, when called upon to do so. In 1988, she qualified for the Olympic Games, in Seoul, and became the third UCC athlete to compete at Olympic level. In 1908 Paddv Roche, of Bandon, competed, in the sprints, in London, and, of course, Doctor Pat O’Callaghan was also an Olympian.


Billy Oakes was the leading triple jumper in Ireland through the 'eighties', and was ceratinly among the better long jumpers. He also had a quick turn of speed, and won many an inter-Varsity medal, in the 100 metres, and as part of a UCC sprint relay team. Even if the men's squad failed to attain the three-in-a-row of 'Varsity' road relays, the women duly obliged through, literally, running away with their Championships. Under the leadership of Brid Ni Chonaill, the women's section of the club went from strength to strength throughout the past season. The Inter-Varsitv cross-country Championship was added to an already growing list of troDhies.


In between, there was the Indoor Inter-Varsity triumph in Nenagh, back in February, when there was never any doubt from the moment Ailish O'Brien won the shot - the very first event - that the UCC women would not wrest the Indoor trophy from Limerick University.


There were also County, Regional and National cross-country medals, as Brid, aided by Rhona Murphy, Angela Shine and Louise Cavanagh, kept the students very much to the fore in Irish athletics. The great days of the 'seventies', it appeared, had once again returned to the hallowed sanctums of UCC and, in particular, the Mardyke.


The annual Inter-Varsity track & field ChampionshipS were held at the RTC complex, in late April, and here was the opportunity for the 'grand slam'. An Inter-Varsity on 'home soil' is always worth a few bonus points, if onlv for the fact that a larger team can usually be assembled, as restrictions on time - not travelling and study - are immediately lessened.
Again Ailish O'Brien had the distinction of taking the women's team straight into the lead on the points table, through winning the shot. Fidelma Kirwan added another gold in the 400 hurdles, and with Aisling Power adding further points, through yet another medal winning performance, the women's squad were more than well on their way to the fourth Inter-Varsity title open to them.

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 YOUGHAL AC


Willie O'Mahony
Athletics in Youghal dates back to the turn of the century. The town has produced many fine athletes, and organised many successful sports events, over the past century, in this East Cork venue.


Back in the nineteen twenties, Gerard Coughlan won an All-Army 800 metre title. In the following decade, Tony Cashell took on the best in the country, and at International level, over the quarter mile, while Tom Smyth was among the best in the country, in the high jump, winning many a medal at county, regional, and at national level. In the nineteen fifties, a very successful sports were held in Copperalley, catering for athletes and cyclists, with the cream of Munster taking part. This venue lies on a hill to the east of the town, and was among the best surfaces in the county to compete on.


Three decades ago, the Youghal Athletic and Cycling Club was formed. Founder members include the Maher family, Paddy Daly, Jerry Russell, Kevin McCarthy and Pierce Hennessy. The club boasted of many track and cross-country stars, at all levels; Paddy Coleman was an Irish Mile Champion, and was also a cross-country champion. Stephen Hennessy was an Irish Youth and All- Army champion.


On the cycling aspect, there was Martin Maher, Gerry Geary and Tenis McCarthy, who all were National medalists. The mid sixties saw great cross-country teams emerge, winning county junior, novice, intermediate titles. Several members were selected for Cork teams, bringing National honours to the seaside club. Names that come to mind include Paddy Coleman, Stephen Hennessy, Mick Hanly, Mick Buckley, the Walsh Brothers - George and Freddie, and Jerry Russell.


The 'seventies' saw juvenile athletics excel, with top honours coming to the club, for track and field and cross-country. Among these juveniles were Mary O'Neill, Alan Downey, Alan McCarthy, the Cooper twins, Martin and James Drake, Honorra Connolly, Colm Stack, David Savage and Mary Demsey/Sweeney. Mary won international honours on Irish school teams, and is still running in the St. Finbarr’s colours, with tremendous success. She is the current County cross-country champion, and features regularily on the current athletics circuit.


The club organised many events, including the August Monday Sprints, and many a sports meet in Copperall. The round-the-houses road races, held at midnight on New Year's Eve, always caught the imagination and were well supported.


To have a successful club, you need dedicated officers and coaches, and here the club were fortunate in having the services of such as Mel Power, James Drake, John Dempsey, Billy Drake, Pup O’Brien, Mary Goggin, Maura Dempsey, Tess O'Neill, Denis O'Sullivan, Brenda Casey, Mrs O'Leary, Mrs Kiely.


With so much athletic tradition in the town, it was sad to see the club disband, but there is a great ray of hope with the forming of a new club this very year .......long may this healthy and character building sport continue in Youghal and surrounding areas.

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About Us

Cork Athletics County Board is a constituent member of Athletics Ireland. Cork Athletics is the governing body, administering athletics, track and field (T&F), cross-country (XC) and running in county Cork. The Board comprises elected representatives of constituent athletic clubs and running clubs. Cork County Board AAI organises Championship races and competition, including road, track & field (T&F) and Cross-country (XC), at junior, juvenile, senior and masters levels, and selects representation for the county. In addition, training and education is provided for coaches and officials. The Board also regulates the Athletics Ireland race/event permit (licence) process for county Cork.
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