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St Finbarrs Proud History - Irish Runner Feature April 1984

St. Finbarr's Proud History

by Michael Joyce

Irish Runner - April 1984, Vol 4, No 3, P16


irish runner vol 4 no 3 p16 april 1984 st finbarrs ac 1

St Finbarr's AC - Cork County Senior Cross-Country Champions 1983


Back L to R : Pat Ryan (Coach), Derek Cooney, Ritchie Crowley, Ricki Burke, Billy Horgan, Joe Hartnett, Reg Hayes (Team Manager)
Front L to R : John Buckley, Eric Crockett, Denis Manning, Eamonn McEvoy, Pat Kelly (Club Chairman), Pat Duggan

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Eamonn McEvoy (May 2020): "As far as I can recall, this was the last time St Finbarrs won the Men's team in the Cork County Senior Cross-Country Championship. It was in Castlelyons, 1983, I think. It was six to score in those days. Denis Manning was third overall, and the other five scoring members were Ritchie Crowley Ricki Burke, Joe Hartnett, Billy Horgan and John Buckley. All were full Irish Internationals, except, ironically, Denis, but he had run in the World Military Cross-Country, as a member of the Irish team, as he was in the old FCA!

Pat Kelly was chairman of St Finbarrs, at the time, and was succeeded by Eamonn McEvoy in 1984! Pat Duggan was a well known Leevale runner who had just transferred to Finbarrs. Pat Kelly was the brains behind the great turnout on the day, Pat Ryan was coach, and Reg Hayes was Team Manager on the day


Irish Runner Feature

St. Finbarr’s was founded in 1951, and had a number of temporary clubhouses in Cork City, until it built its own on the shores of the Lough, a ten acre natural lake on the Southside of the city.

In its 33 years existence, the Club has produced countless Irish champions, including Martin Lynch, Len Braham, Elaine Kelly, Mary Doyle, Joan Fleming, John Buckley, Richie Crowley, and the Crotty brothers, Jim, Tom and Eoin.

St. Finbarr’s, and their Cork City rivals, Leevale, have totally dominated athletics in Cork over the past decade. In fact, for the thirteen years up to 1983, Leevale’s men won the County Senior title, but December 4th, 1983 will be a cherished date in the minds of the ‘Barrs, because, on that date, after a struggle, they took the coveted title for the first time since 1970. They had two survivors from the 1970 team on duty that day; John Buckley and Richie Crowley.

This year’s Senior team has been spearheaded by the ever-so-consistent Denis Manning, and backed up by international steeple chaser Joe Hartnett, sub four minute miler Billy Horgan, club captain Ricki Burke, along with John Buckley, and Richie Crowley. The Senior ladies team have also had a good cross-country season, ably led by international Catherine Hourihane, who had a marvellous season. Former international, Marian Lyons, now the mother of two children, has made a great comeback, and ladies captain Joan Hough, along with mother of three, Rose Crockett, have helped make the team one of the leading sides in the country again. With the assistance of yet another mother, Mary Ryan, the ladies team won the Grade ‘B’ section of the all-Ireland inter-club cross-country championships, and were 5th overall.

Not to be outdone, the club’s novice and intermediate mens’ team have had a fabulous season. They took the team gold medals in the County Novice, and Intermediate, and Munster Novice, and Intermediate. Ricki Burke took individual gold medals in the County Intermediate, and Munster Novice Championships.

In the junior ranks, St. Finbarr’s have an abundance of talent continually surfacing. Pat Beausang was 2nd in the County Junior, and third in the County Novice cross-country championships. Young Steven Gibbons won the National Community Games 1500 metres last year, while other youngsters in the club showing signs of greatness include Ciaran Comiskey (brother of U.S. based Terry), Michele Walsh, and her brother Barry, and Dave Murphy.

The Club looks forward to the coming track season, when they hope to have last year’s National High Jump Champion, Bill Thierfelder back in action, and sprinter Terry Warrell from Trinidad. There is a lot more talent just beneath the surface too, and the club is confident of a good run in the Omega League.

The Club President is Reg Hayes, who is also Chairman of Cork County Board. Reg is the driving force behind the Cork City Marathon, and one of the most dedicated athletic officials in the country.

Club Chairman is Eamon McEvoy, a handy athlete, and a very popular figure in the club. In fact, any club athlete will tell you that the best thing about the club in recent years has been the friendly atmosphere which has prevailed, and the great willingness of the better athletes to help out and train with the novices. The club’s jogging section, under the care of Barty O’Sullivan, has thrived in the past year, and Barty makes everyone welcome to jog along on Wednesday nights.

Club training is at 6 o’clock on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 11 o’clock on Sundays. For the Summer months, the club w ill have the use of the Mardyke on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 7:30.

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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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