Mullingar Harriers Athletic Club

Club News and Reports 2018

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Annual General Meeting

The Club’s Annual General Meeting held on Friday evening 19th January in the Annebrook House Hotel was well attended and it gave everyone present an opportunity to be reminded of the many successes enjoyed by the Club over the last year on the road, at indoor and outdoor track and field and in cross country thanks to the performances of members from the very youngest juveniles up to our most senior master athletes.

Mark Christie continues to be standard bearer for the Club and the one that everyone looks up to and wishes to emulate and Mark’s participation at the European Athletics Team Championships in June was one of the fourteen times that Club members competed for Ireland in 2017, with International debuts by Bea Drummond in the Schools International Cross Country and Eileen Kenny at the British and Irish Masters International Cross Country. Among the many highlights was Sean McMullin wining multiple medals at World Master Indoors, World Masters Games and European Masters T&F in an extremely memorable year for him. Jamie Battle’s win in the junior men race at the recent Antrim International Cross Country was his first victory at International level and a testament to the great emerging talent that he is.

Chairperson, Joe Ryan, in his final AGM as Chair as he has served the maximum term of seven years allowed, opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and introduced the Secretary's report by Margaret Daly and the Treasurer's report by Tom McGrath. These were followed by the Chairperson's Address by Joe Ryan and the President's Address by Sean McMullin, which was read by Joe Ryan as Sean was unable to attend the meeting in person. Club membership continues to grow and is currently at an all time high and the Club’s finances are in a healthy state. Some important issues and motions were discussed and debated, including the increasing pressure on the coaches due to increased membership and an appeal was made for more parents to step forward and assist the existing coaches, even if only occasionally. An extra pair of hands and eyes is really all that is asked for and no coaching experience is required though any that wish to gain a coaching qualification will be gladly assisted. The subscriptions rates for 2019 were also agreed and they will increase a little due to the increased cost of entries met by the Club in Leinster and National competitions, especially for our underage members. The new membership rates will not apply until 2019.

The following were elected as officers and committee members for the coming year:

Sean McMullin (President), Breda McDonnell (Vice-President), Margaret Daly (Chairperson), Caitríona Duffy (Vice-Chairperson), Tom McGrath (Treasurer), Colm Walsh (Secretary), Greg Duggan (Assistant Secretary – PRO, Registrar and Competition entries), Joanna Tyrrell (Minutes Secretary), Pauline Quinn, Margaret Daly and Greg Duggan (Child Officers), Cormac Finnerty, Pat Muldoon Senior, Vera McCool and John Shaw (Trustees). The officers and trustees are automatically on the new committee, as are Life Vice-presidents Seamus Gibney, Cormac Finnerty, Martin Fagan, Bobbie Begley, John Mulvihill, George Bell and Christy Creagh, and will be joined by Mark Bate, Declan Costello, Amanda Dalton, Joan Flynn, Nuala Moran, Karen McGouran, Clare O’Donnell, Aine O’Reilly, Joe Ryan and Tom Wallace who were elected to the committee. Excluding trustees and Life-Vice presidents who are automatically on the Committee, the more or less fifty-fifty gender balance in the Club membership in general is very well reflected in the elected Committee and Officers.

Concluding the meeting, Joe Ryan thanked all present for their attendance and input and closed a successful AGM.

Leinster Masters Cross Country

The Club’s master cross country athletes got 2018 off to a great start at the Leinster Masters Cross Country in Dunboyne, Co. Meath on Sunday 14th January, taking team gold in the men and women races, in addition to two silver and two bronze individual medals. Conditions on the day were dry, but a stiff breeze made it very cold. Well done to Dunboyne AC for hosting the Championships and laying out an excellent course. Wet weather in the days leading up to the event made the ground soft and mucky in places, especially in the outer field and on the tight corners but the course was generally in good condition and provided an ideal test for all the runners.

Aine O'Reilly returned to cross country running with a bang and had an excellent run to finish 6th place overall in the Master Women 4,000m and place 2nd in her category. Following her in was Maura Dervin (3rd in her category), Jane Creevy in her first cross country race, Nuala Moran, Patricia Broderick, Criona Reid also running in her first cross country race, Eileen Kenny (2nd in her category), Caroline Mullen, Emer O'Hanlon and Lorraine Brady, all finishing strongly. The team of Maura, Nuala, Patricia and Eileen combined to win gold for 1st Club and bronze for 3rd County in their category, to get the day off to a great start for Mullingar.

The Mullingar men were not to be outdone, and with Gerry Gavin finishing well up in the Master Men 6,000m, followed by Eddie Newman with a terrific final lap to move well up the field and finish 2nd in his category, then Kieran Nolan, Hans de Raeymaeker, David Fagan, Liam McGlynn, Mel Carthy and Paul Ginnell packing well in support, the team of Eddie, David, Liam and Mel won gold for 1st Club in their category by a big margin and won bronze for 3rd County, just missing silver by a single point.

Congratulations to our master athletes on their successes. Everyone was delighted with the medal haul that was taken home and plans were being made for the All-Ireland Masters Cross Country in Galway in mid-February.

Collinstown 5k and 10k

The Lough Lene Gaels "New Year Challenge" 5k and 10k races in a cold and windy Collinstown on Sunday morning 14th January attracted nearly 100 runners in each race. Over the shorter 5k distance, well up for the challenge was Christy Creagh finishing in 28:30 to place 2nd in his master category. Opting for the longer 10k distance, Enda O'Carolan was very pleased to finish 3rd in 37:32. Also happy with their performances was Alan Crowley (40:20), Enda Seery (41:10), Brian Collentine (41:40), Michael O’Sullivan (43:55) 2nd in his master category, and Ollie Gaffney (43:57). Well done to them all.

AAI National Indoor League - Round 1

Competing in the guest 800m in round one of the AAI National Indoor League at the National Indoor Arena in Abbotstown on Saturday 13th January, Colin Smith placed third in a PB of 1:54.70 in a very competitive race. This was an improvement of over a second on his previous best time. Colin has been rapidly progressing and improving since starting the sport less than two years ago and this trend looks set to continue in 2018.

Munster Indoors

Sean McMullin dropped down a master age group in the 3,000m race walk at the Munster Indoors in Nenagh on Sunday morning 7th January but still had more than enough to win the race comfortably and get his 2018 season off to a great winning start.

Celtic International Cross Country

Congratulations to Jamie Battle who got 2018 off to a fine start with a superb victory in the Celtic International Junior Cross Country at the Antrim International Cross Country on Saturday morning 6th January. Jamie dominated the race to finish a clear winner in a field that included the best Junior endurance athletes from Scotland, Wales and Ulster and in the process helped Ireland secure second place in the team rankings. Jamie is one of the most improved young athletes in the Country over the past year and his first International victory is a fitting reward for his dedication and commitment to the sport. Caoimhe O'Brien was third scorer on the Irish Development Team in the u/17 race and will benefit greatly from the experience of representing Ireland again. Congratulations to Jamie and Caoimhe from everyone at the Club.

Leinster Star Awards for 2017

At the Athletics Leinster Star Awards Gala Dinner in the Bridge House Hotel in Tullamore on Saturday evening 6th January, Michael Lane was presented with an Outstanding Service Award by Athletics Leinster for his contribution to the sport over many years.

Michael Lane joined Mullingar Harriers in 1978 with the intention of being a long distance runner. It wasn’t long before he was introduced to the discipline of race walking and as the saying goes, the rest is history. Within a few months he had mastered the race walking technique to the point where he was in contention for National honours at the Irish Championships. It didn’t take too long more before he became an Irish International athlete, competing at various International events, culminating in his being selected to compete at the European Championships. All the time, Michael continued to be a valued member of Mullingar Harriers, not only as a competitive athlete but also serving on the committee for many years. Michael’s interest in coaching has seen him become one of the most respected race walking coaches not only in Ireland but in the World and he is among the pioneers of race walking in Ireland, helping hundreds of athletes, and is currently the National Event Coordinator. Michael has been an Irish Team Coach at European and World Championships and was a coach at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. His contribution to athletics in Westmeath both as an administrator and coach has been invaluable. Michael is certainly one of the unsung heroes of Irish athletics, especially to the race walking fraternity.

Michael was delighted to be given recognition and honoured by Athletics Leinster in this way and it was great that his wife Mary and children Oisin and Aisling were present at the award ceremony to see him receive his Award.

Other individual Awards were presented to Mullingar Harriers athletes Vicky Harris (senior athlete) and Shauna Leydon (juvenile girl) and joint Awards were made to the North Westmeath AC athletes Darragh Gaffney and Conor Fogarty (juvenile boy). Also winning an Award was Niamh Fogarty (North Westmeath AC) who received the Throwers Award for Leinster.

After the hugely successful cross country season where Mullingar won ten of the eighteen Club titles in cross country, there’s no surprise that our juvenile athletes retained the Morrissey Cup for best juvenile Club in cross country in Leinster. Mullingar has won this trophy every year since 2001. Westmeath also finished second County in the Foley Cup, behind Kilkenny, so congratulations to all our underage athletes that played a part in this success.

Mullingar came very close to winning the Leinster Shield for u/9, 10 and 11 Pairs, equaling the points of Boyne AC but Boyne edged it as they had more gold medals. A very close result! Mullingar also placed joint second in the Dew Shield for Junior and u/23 T&F and second Club in the Mick Byrne Cup for juvenile T&F, so perhaps we can target these trophies in 2018?

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