FIT Grassroots Club of the Week: Dunshaughlin A.C.
Dunshaughlin Athletic Club is nurturing a new generation of running talent, and is at the heart of its community, writes Frank Greally
Since its foundation in 1979 by six teenagers at the time – Domo Moran, Paddy Mangan, Tommy and Harry Clusker, Willie McLoughlin and Mick Manning, (RIP), Dunshaughlin Athletic Club has grown in strength to its present membership of approximately 200.
The county Meath club has a strong distance running tradition – but in recent years and under the guidance of sprints coach Paul Hetherington – some excellent sprinters are starting to emerge. A club team of Paddy Maher, Jack Hetherington, Conor Jones, Mika Micaibua and Rian Kealy won the club's first ever national relay title in Athlone last year, and won bronze medals in the same event this year. Club sprinters Ian Watkins and Oisin Foley won respective bronze and silver medals in the Under 19 100 and 200 metres events.
The club has also developed strong links with the local schools which is paying dividends, with Dunshaughlin Community College winning the All- Ireland Schools Minor Cross Country title in Jordanstown last year.
Paddy Maher, a fast rising star at Dunshaughlin AC, won the individual minor schools' cross-country title on that occasion and has since delivered a number of other national schools titles, the latest being the Junior 1500m at the AVIVA All -Ireland Schools Track & Field Championships in Tullamore in May. He also won the junior boys' individual title at the prestigious international schools cross country event in Bolton.
Paddy Maher is carrying on a great family tradition at Dunshaughlin AC, as his father, Tommy, has been the club's most successful runner to date, having represented Ireland internationally on a number of occasions during a 34 year career.
The in-form male club runners of the moment include Robbie Matthews, Thomas Moran, Ciaran O'Dwyer and Mick Summerville. Club stalwart and Chairman, Paddy Mangan is also still active in masters competition. The leading women at the club include Shauna Moore, Shauna Moran, Ursula Byrne, Linda Fahy, Anne Hunter, Sonia Fahey and Lorraine Mangan.
The club has also developed strong links with Community Games and several club members such as Petra and Thomas Reilly, Molly McNamara, Evan Butler and David Fildes have been part of successful Meath teams at Community Games Track & Field finals.
Dunshaughlin AC, in partnership with Meath Local Partnership, hosts the Walk to Run 12-week training programme with over 100 signing up. Many of these members will be taking part in the club's big road race promotion, the annual Michael Manning Memorial 10k on Saturday (21st), starting at 7.30pm. This year's designated charities are the Meath Palliative Care Unit and Active First Responders, a local life-saving service.
Entry fee is €15 up until midnight on Friday (20th), or €20 for late entries. A race registration night will also be held at the Pastoral Centre, Dunshaughlin, on Friday (20th) from 6- 9pm.
Chairperson: Paddy Mangan
Secretary: Paul O'Rourke
Treasurer: Ursula Byrne
Registrar: Tommy Maher
Development Officer: Kevin Kealy
PRO: Brendan Dunne
Web Administrator: Ian Bruce
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