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Pat Walsh Honoured by Cork City Sports


Guest article by John Walshe


Pat Walsh Cork City Sports Lifetime Achievement Award 2016s

Pat Walsh, with his wife Maria, and daughters, Lucy, Regina and Jacinta
Photo: John Walshe


This article, by John Walshe, appeared in The Southern Star newspaper on February 25th 2017


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Pat Walsh Honoured with Cork City Sports Lifetime Achievement Award 2016


Cork City Sports Honour Pat Walsh with Lifetime Achievement Award - Cork City Sports website


A man who has given over a quarter-of-a-century service to Cork athletics was honoured recently. On Friday February 16th, Pat Walsh was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Cork City Sports Athletics Person of the Year function.

Pat Walsh, a native of Skibbereen, acted as treasurer of both the BLE and AAI Cork Athletics Boards from 1989 up until February of 2015.

In the early years of the event, Pat also got involved with the Evening Echo Women’s Mini-Marathon and has played a major role in its success, along with overseeing the purchase by the Cork Athletics Board of a cross-country course at Riverstick.

In presenting the award – introduced for the first time at the function – Frank Walley, President of the Cork City Sports had this to say about the recipient: “Here in Cork in athletics, as in all sporting codes, we are truly blessed to have such men and women who give of their time and put tremendous energy in making our sport so successful and enjoyable for all. Today we honour one of these stalwarts who worked tirelessly behind the scenes, unnoticed by many but who contributed enormously to the development of athletics.”  

“I’m actually thrilled to get the award; it’s fantastic to get a thank-you given the high profile of this awards event,” said a delighted Pat. “I love to help others, I’ve seen young athletes coming through every year and representing Cork and representing Ireland and it’s nice to know that you’ve been involved in a small way in that process.”

Pat Walsh’s own involvement with athletics started off at school in the 1970s, and then with the local club. “I was born in Carrigfada and went to St Patrick’s National School in Market Street, then on to De La Salle before moving on to UCC where I did a civil engineering degree, finishing there in 1980.

“I suppose in the early days of the Skibbereen club, John McSweeney was an inspiration for us, himself and his brother Mike, along with John White, put a huge amount of work into the club and years and years into athletics.”
Before road running became as popular as it is today, Skibbereen AC was to the forefront in promoting this aspect of the sport. “We were one of the first clubs in West Cork to put on road races, mainly because we had the benefit of sponsorship from the likes of The Southern Star at the time,” says Pat.

From 1976 to 1982, as a member of the Skibbereen club, Pat competed in the many open sports meetings in the area, such as Caheragh, Aughadown and Clonakilty. During his time at UCC, he ran cross-country for the college and also competed on the track. In 1977 he won a county intermediate team medal and also won the West Cork 1500m ahead of Sean and Paul Harte.

Pat took up marathon running in 1981 during the initial running boom, completing a total of six in all including the Dublin Marathon of 1985 where he achieved his ambition of breaking three hours with a time of 2 hours 56 minutes.

After a spell working in Dublin, Pat returned to Cork and immediately got involved in the administrative side of the sport. Firstly, he became vice-chairman of the Cork County Board and then, in 1989, took on the position of treasurer which he held for a total of 26 years.

“I had been working in Dublin until 1985 and then when I moved back to Cork I first served as vice-chairman before taking on the position of treasurer. There was an awful lot going on, apart from the treasure’s work. I’ve been involved in the Evening Echo Women’s Mini-Marathon since 1987 but I must say all the way through I’ve received huge family support.

“When my three girls were young, they were all involved in the Mini-Marathon and they have also spent time at the gates of CIT collecting money and so on.”

One of Pat’s proudest moments came when the County Board purchased 36 acres near Riverstick, a project he played a major part in. Another huge addition to athletics was the building of the stand at CIT which Pat was also involved in.

“I remember going up to Dublin with Liam O’Brien and Paddy Buckley to meet the minister, John O’Donoghue, and we were very successful, getting €700,000 the first year and getting €200,000 the following year. Because in my profession I’m an engineer, I suppose I was involved more than I originally anticipated but it was good for the Board to have someone with that experience.”

Now acting as assistant treasurer, Pat is still as involved as ever in athletics despite his demanding position as Senior Executive Engineer with Cork County Council involved with water production for all of the North Cork region.

“There’s still an awful lot going on in athletics with more and more challenges but my family are still as involved as ever and that means an awful lot to me,” concludes Pat.

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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