Grassroots Club of the Week: Skerries Athletic Club
Skerries athletic Club is producing outstanding talent and continues to grow with a number of new recruits, writes Frank Greally
SKERRIES Athletic Club in north county Dublin was founded in the early 1970s by Hugh Boyle and Matt Boylan and other driving forces behind the club in those early days included Paschal O'Shea and Paddy Power.
The club had a strong presence in juvenile athletics in the early and mid- 1980s, but in the later part of the 1990s Skerries AC went through something of a lean period and a decline in membership.
However, since 2002, there has been a great revival of fortunes at the club and the present membership is around 140 – mainly juveniles. A little over a week ago, one of the club's top stars, Isabelle Carron, won the Intermediate Girls 3000 metres at the Aviva All-Ireland Schools’ Track & Field Championships in Tullamore, and another top talent, Rhona Pierce, placed fourth in the Intermediate Girls 1500 metres at the same venue.
Both Isabelle and Rhona have represented Ireland in international schools competition and the club's top senior runner, Ciara Durkan, was a member of the Irish women's team that competed in last year's European Cross Country Championships.
The performances of Carron, Pierce and Durkan have proved to be inspirational for some of the younger athletes at Skerries AC and several of the club's juvenile athletes have been making their mark at the recent Dublin Athletic Board Track & Field League at the Morton Stadium in Santry.
Young Skerries AC athletes who won events in the league were: Daphney Hope Ndjatang, Joshua Ericson and Rapha Diamond Ebs. There were podium finishestoo for some other club athletes – ShaunaPrior, King Diamond Ebs, Cian Ensor and Stephen Byrne.
Isabelle Carron and Shona Pierce also combined with two other club members, Sarah Byrne and Laura Costello, to win the Intermediate Team Title for Skerries Community College at the Aviva All-
Ireland Schools’ Cross Country Championships. Shona Pierce also won the individual intermediate title at these championships.
There is a strong coaching structure in place at Skerries AC, led by Head Coach Kevin Thompson, an international athlete and former member of Emerald AC in Limerick, as well as London Irish Athletic Club in whose colours he also competed.
Joanne Carron, who also coaches at the club, attended Clemson University, South Carolina, in the USA, on an athletic scholarship from 1985–89 and she is delighted to be giving something back to the sport she loves. Joanne placed third in the 1991 Women's Mini-Marathon in Dublin. Joanne's husband, Gerry Carron, is also a marathoner, so the talented Isabelle Carron has grown up in a fitness-focused environment.
Skerries Athletic Club members use the local Community Centre as a HQ and they have received co-operation, welcome and encouragement from Skerries Harps GAA Club, as well as Skerries Rugby Club.
There is an abundance of young talent at this progressive club and it looks like the revival of club fortunes that started twelve years ago continues to gain momentum. This is a club with a very bright future and a dedicated committee at the helm.
Chairperson: (Outgoing) Brian Tuck
Secretary: Berni Downey
Treasurer: Betty Price
Competition Secretary: Joanne Carron
Child Welfare Officer: Brian Tuck
Head Coach: Kevin Thompson