Friday, April 30, 2010

Sligo Athletic Club News: Running Shoes

Some 43 years ago I walked from my home in Ballure along the road to the old FCA hall in the heart of Calry to attend athletics training on the invitation of my neighbour Jackie McGowan. I had little idea that it was the beginning of a journey that was to shape the rest of my life. The journey that would take me from Berlin to Beijing, from Manchester to Mexico, from Sydney to Slovakia, a journey that would enable me to meet and become friends with some wonderful people all over the world. A journey that would bring me from being an athlete to a coach and then on to being an athletics official. Last Saturday evening only a few miles from where the journey began in Sligo Southern Hotel at the Athletics Ireland congress I was elected chairman of high performance. I was deeply honoured to be elected to this position to lead our high performance team in the build up to what will be the nearest thing we in this country will get to a home Olympics in London 2012. It comes at a time when we are rich in athletics talent with athletes of the calibre of Dervil O’Rourke, Paul Hession, Olive Loughnane, Mary Cullen, Rob Heffernan and David Gillick all hoping to go to Barcelona in a couple of months time and have a realistic chance of winning medals. As chair of high performance I take up the baton formally held by men of the calibre of the late Eddie Spillane, Al Guy, Christie Wall, Liam Hennessey and Patsy McGonagle. They were all people who while may not have always agreed on how they did the job I held in high regard and were all trojan workers. Now that I have been honoured with holding this position, my one ambition is that I can make a difference to the most important people in our sport which is of course the athletes. Athletics performance on the track, field, road and cross country has been my lifelong passion; high performance is now my purpose. I want also to congratulate two other Sligo people at congress who were elected to National positions, Michael O’Hart was elected onto the competitions committee and Ann McHugh was elected onto the juvenile committee. Finally this week I want to wish all our young athletes good luck who compete in the secondary schools track and field this week and any Sligo marathon runners who compete in the Belfast Marathon this week.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sligo 10k Mini Marathon on May Holiday Monday

The Sligo10k Mini Marathon is all set for May Holiday Monday (4th May), starting at 3pm from The Radisson SAS Hotel at Ballincar. It's a great route, along the coast road to Rosses Point, turning at the headland and back. It’s been a popular day for both runners and walkers in recent years – with accurate timing by Sligo AC, and good facilities at the Radisson before and after the event. You can still register – in advance at, or on the day if online registrations have closed (allow plenty of time before the 3pm start). Registration is €12, which supports the work of The Carers Association on behalf of family carers. Registration form is available online as a PDF at Further details from Nick Nixon, Manager of Sligo Carers' Association 071 914 3123 or mobile 086 172 6664.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

AAI Annual Congress 2010

Over 250 delegates attended the Athletics Ireland annual congress held in Sligo Southern Hotel last Saturday and Sunday. Some lively debates and discussions ensued over the two days . Over 60 motions were debated and voted on. One of the main motions that will have impact on local clubs was an increase in cross-country distances for juvenile athletes.
In elections Liam Hennessey was re-elected president, Sligo Athletic Club chairman Ray Flynn was elected chairman of the high performance committee, while Sligo AC treasurer Michael O'Hart was elected onto the competition committee and membership secretary Ann McHugh was elected to the juvenile committee.
All delegates were happy with the organisation of the event by Sligo County Board and Kevin McGlynn, manager of Sligo Southern Hotel must be complemented on the excellent service the hotel provided over the two day period.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sligo Athletic Club News Update

The third leg of the Fit4life took place on tuesday last over two miles in Sligo Racecourse. Jack Connor was first followed by Bernie Flynn and Alan Watters while Bernadette Gilroy and Dermot Cunningham filled the next two positions in their first race of the series. It's off to Hazelwood for two miles on Tuesday 4th May at 6.30pm when participants will be anxious to improve on their previous performances. To date over 140 athletes in total have taken part in the League and it is not too late to start, with a special treat for the sixth leg ,a mountain run over two miles which will give a flavour of what to expect for the Warriors run. Top ten finishers & times in race three of Fit4Life as follows;
connor, jack 15.21
flynn,bernie 16.28
watters,alan 15.46
gilroy,bernadette 14.22
cunningham,dermot 15.26
quinn,lisa 16.11
o hara,brenda 19.02
reilly,paul 14.38
mc cormack,emily 17.41
connor,riona 18.43

St. Clare’s Comprehensive School, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim are hosting a children’s 4k fun run/walk at 12.30 pm. This is followed by a 10k fun run and walk on Sunday 25th April 2010 at 1.30 p.m. For more information please contact keith mcdonald at

On Sunday next, 25th April-11.30am -1.30pm athletes in the 13 to 17 age groups and their coaches from West Ulster/North Connaught are invited to a Regional Squad day in Donegal Town.
The following disciplines will have qualified coaches leading groups - sprints/hurdles/middle distance/high jump/long jump/shot/javelin. Cost €5 per athlete - athletes will receive a t/shirt
Please let eamonn harvey know via email the numbers from your school/club wishing to attend.
11.30am-11.45am registration -introductions.
11.45am -1pm athlete select a specific event.
1.00pm - 1.30pm preparing for competition - relaxation/focussing techniques.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sligo Athletic Club: Running Shoes

Over 300 delegates from all over Ireland will converge on Sligo next weekend for the AAI congress. The venue is the Sligo Southern Hotel. While every congress has lively debates and provokes some controversy as policy is debated for the coming years, this years bi-annual gathering promises to be more difficult and controversial than most. The last two years have been quite traumatic for the association with the departure of CEO Mary Coughlin. Her departure had a sequel in the high court as she sued AAI and the Irish Sports Council for unfair dismissal. That case has cost our association dearly and much needed funds will be diverted to pay the costs. Many delegates will rightly question why this had to happen and if it could have been prevented. As a serving member of the board for the past two years I have to say that I found the whole issue very stressful and it calls into question the relationship between sports governing bodies, the Irish Sports Council and indeed the government. Hopefully the gathering of delegates in Sligo at the weekend will be able to draw a line under this sad saga and move forward with the aim of enhancing this great sport of ours and continue to make it the most successful International sport in the country. Much interest at this congress will centre on the election of the new board. Outgoing president Liam Hennessy will be challenged by former president Michael Heary who will be bidding to regain the presidency after a two year absence. It’s unprecedented for a former president to return so it will be interesting to see how the delegates vote on this. I myself will be hoping to be elected as chairman of high performance. I have had a long held interest in the high performance side of our sport and working with high performance race walkers has given me a clear insight into the needs of high performance athletes and if elected I will give it my best shot. Two other Sligo people will be going for election with Ann McHugh on the ballot paper to return to the juvenile committee and Michael O’Hart hoping to continue his good work on the competition and technical committee. Sligo AAI county board chairman Terry Hayes will not be seeking re-election to the finance committee which is probably a wise move considering the financial position we find ourselves in after the recent legal case.
Getting back to matters on the track, it was great to see such a good turnout at the Sligo AAI county championships last Wednesday at Sligo IT track. The quality of the performances was also excellent and it augers well for the forthcoming track season. Thanks to all the Sligo AAI county board officials for turning out and making this championship the best for many years.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Great Ireland Run 2010

Martin Fagan of Mullingar Harriers yesterday led home a mammoth entry of over 11,000 runners to win the SPAR Great Ireland Run -the annual 10k road race in the Dublin’s Phoenix Park which this year incorporated the 10k Championships of Ireland. This was the first Irish victory in the men’s race at this hugely popular event and Fagan coasted to a comfortable victory in 29 minutes 15 seconds- eighteen seconds clear a battling Gary Thornton of Galway City Harriers who was race leader for the for half of the event. Andrew Ledwith of Fr Murphy’s A.C placed third in 29.45 with Joe Sweeney of DSD holding down forth position in 29.51 ahead of Alan O’Shea of Bantry, 30.31 and Paddy Hamilton, (Annadale),30.41. Sligo AC also had one of our elite athletes mixing with the best the race had to offer in the shape of Emmett Dunleavy. He finished in a very creditable time of 31.30 and was 13th overall. Dunleavy was part of the Sligo AC mens team, the others being; Seamus Somers finishing in 36.36, Alan Kearins in 37.01 and Rory Connor breaking the 40 minutes mark in 39.48. Cathy McCarthy crossed the line in 49.42 with Derville McMoreland finishing in 58.33. Well done to all Sligo athletes who competed in this event.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sligo Athletic Club News: Running Shoes

On Saturday last at the National A.A.I juvenile indoor championships in Nenagh. North Sligo AC athlete William Crowe just edged out his team - mate Cian McBride to win the 800 metres under 14 boys race. On a great day for Sligo athletics, Sligo AC’s Dylan Carty (pictured) won silver in the boys under 14 1000 metres race walk. Another north Sligo race walker Sinead Keogh was desperately unlucky not to win a medal when she finished 4th in the girls under 14 race walk. Sorcha Fallon of north Sligo also made the 800 mts under 16 final but had to be satisfied with 8th place after running a brave race. I was particularly happy to see William Crowe on the victory podium as he has been overshadowed by his close friend and team mate Cian McBride over the past couple of years but he is a fine young athlete and along with McBride will have a bright future in the sport.
All six juvenile medallists were eligible for action at the A.A.I County Championships which took place on the athletics track in Sligo I.T yesterday evening. All clubs were asked to support this event and bring all athletes out whatever their standard. For anyone interested in the overall results please email and we’ll try and have them out to you as quickly as possible.
With the road racing season now in full swing Sligo athletic club have announced details of their annual road race. The distance is 8klms and will be held on Saturday May 15th at 6pm. The race will be based in Rosses Point with Sligo yacht club being the race headquarters. A big prize fund is on offer so all athletes are asked to put this date in their diaries. Please register in advance on
Finally good luck to all sligo athletes who take part in the Great Ireland run in the Phoenix Park Dublin on Sunday next. For the first time this race incorporates the A.A.I national championships and Sligo athletic club have entered a team.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sligo Athletic Club: Quarterly Meeting & News.

Sligo AC's Quarterly meeting took place last night in the Southern Hotel at 8.30pm. Once again attendence was very disappointing, if sufficient figures don't attend these meetings then it is an increasingly hard task for the Club's officers to reach consensus on vital decisions. A date for the next club meeting will be posted shortly, please ensure that you all try to attend; It's your club. Matters addressed at the meeting were;
1. Training venues: as the Sligo I.T track is being closed for the summer due to maintenence, both junior and senior sessions have to facilitated elsewhere. Sligo AC have been informed that the track will be available until the May bank holiday weekend. Coaches will decide on alternative arrangements for after this period and all members will be informed.
2. Club Road Race: Preparation is well underway for the Sligo 8k on May 15th @ 6pm. All interested athletes are encouraged to register online to save time on the day itself. The course is an "out & back" flat course which should ensure fast times. All club members, fit4life athletes and local unattached runners and walkers are invited and encouraged to participate in this event.
3. It was brought to the attention of the club committee that Sligo Racecourse is been left in a very unsightly way, with plastic bottles and other items littered throughout the area. Athletes are reminded to bring home any bottles etc that the may use whilst training. The club is very lucky to have such a training resource in the heart of the town and it should not be abused.
4. AAI national congress: This will take place in the SOuthern Hotel, Sligo in the coming weeks, any members interested in how the national body operates or who would like to attend the evening dinner at a discounted price should contact officials at
5. AOB: Club finances, expenses, fundraising & registration were all discussed. Club policies will be drawn up in respect of these issues.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: An Post Tour of Sligo - Sunday 9th May 2010 Sligo Sport and Recreation Partnership are currently recruiting reliable and enthusiastic volunteers to assist with the An Post Tour of Sligo 2010. If you would like to help out as a volunteer on the day please contact:Shane Hayes on 071 9161511 or
County Sligo Team competition was held recently. The first 3 teams in each event in each age group qualify for the Connaught Team Event in Galway on 12th June. The County Sligo competition was held extra early due to the IT track closing for improvements. Entries for the Connaught event will close on the 1st June 2010. In mid May the club will organise an event to fill the teams and select relay teams for that date.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sligo Athletic Club: News Update

Congratulations to Sligo AC''s Trevor Hunter who finished the Rotterdam Marathon in a time of 2hrs 58 minutes. Hunter, who has achieved times close to 2hrs 50 minutes for the distance was stated as being "very satisfied" with the way his race worked out. Another Sligo AC athlete, Michael O'Connell, who had also planned to run in the same event before injury struck, was there on the day in Rotterdam for logistical and moral support. Well done also to Sligo AC's Dylan Carty who competed in the U-15's 1,000 metre walk during the Juvenile Indoor Championships at the weekend. Dylan finished second in a time of 5mins 3 seconds and this form bodes well for him in any future competition. Well done to the six Sligo AC athletes competed in the annual Kilnaboy 10 mile road race in County Clare on Sunday. The race was held in very hot condtions over a tough course through the Burren. The athletes were, Enda Dineen 67" Declan Foley 72" Enda Whelan 82" Fintan Whelan 82" Sharon Dineen 95" Vanessa Foley 99". The 2nd race of the Fit4Life Series took place with the top ten results overall as follows: mullen, ciaran 1st. fallon, shane 2nd, o hara, brenda 3rd, melvin, conor 4th, lowebridge,ray 5th, walsh, john 6th, moran, hugh 7th, mc hurrin,brian 8th, kilgallen,donal 9th, fitzpatrick,rob 10th. A reminder that the club's Quarterly meeting will take place on Tuesday 13th April 2010 at 8.30pm in the Southern Hotel, Sligo. All members are required to attend.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Carney 10k: Easter Monday, 5th April

A huge turnout of 237 runners as well as over 50 walkers braved the elements to take part in the Carney 10k, a race which is now a firm fixture in Sligo's racing calendar. Although the wind remained blustery and the rain threatened at times all participants were eager at the start line & after North Sligo's Mary Cullen dropped the flag the race was underway. A group of 5 pushed from the off and by the halfway point this had been whittled down to two, Alan McGuire and Eoin O'Connell. Thomas Kelly (North Sligo) had been biding his time to this point but now started to put pressure on from 5th place, first passing Leo Murray (TirChonaill AC) and then Sligo AC's Ultan McNasser. He continued relentlessly and by 8k caught 2nd place Eoin O'Connell. However McGuire (pictured) had still plenty in the tank and kept his pace consistent to finish comfortably in a time of 34.52. Kelly swept in behind for 2nd place in 34.55 with O'Connell finishing 3rd in 35.18. Eilish Kelly (Raheny Shamrocks) ran a fine race and was first senior lady home in a time of 36.35 with Sligo AC's Lucy Brennan taking 2nd in 37.30. Sarah Neary (Boyle) was 3rd in 40.52. Well done to Mel Casserly, the organising committee and all the volunteers for making this event one of the best organised road races in the County. For full results please email and we'll try and have them out to you as quickly as possible.