independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Grassroots Club of the Week

liffey valley AC

The year the club formed as a merger between Inchicore and Avondale

Plans are in full swing for Liffey Valley Athletic Club's New Year's Day Tom Brennan Memorial Trophy 5k that takes place in the Phoenix Park.

Liffey Valley AC was formed in 1974 as a result of a merger between Inchicore and Avondale athletic clubs.

The club got off to a great start when, in that first season, 24-year-old Tom Brennan won the National Senior Cross-Country title in Belfield, leaving three Olympians -- Tom O'Riordan, Donie Walsh and Des McGann -- trailing in his wake.

It was a brilliant start for the Islandbridge-based club, as another member, Gerry Redmond, also made the junior men's team for the World Cross-Country Championships. Sadly, after a number of appearances in the World Cross-Country Championships, Brennan's athletic career was cut short, and he died, after a battle with cancer, in 1980. Liffey Valley AC members now honour his memory by organising the annual 5k.

Over the years, the yellow singlets of Liffey Valley have been worn with distinction by athletes like John O'Reilly, Murt Coleman and Gerry Staunton -- all of whom achieved international recognition.

Tom O'Connor also dominated masters' events in his age category for many years in cross-country, road and track.

Other former club athletes to make a big impact were Alan Merriman and the legendary Jimmy Douglas.

Mairead Murphy was the first of the club's women members to run for Ireland -- competing in the short course event at the World Cross-Country Championship in 2000.

Team championship titles at road and cross-country have been won by Liffey Valley at national, regional and county level.

This season, it has been the turn of the women's team of Lena Sinclair, Siobhan Keenehan, Síle Carroll, Eimear Nic an Bhaird, Aileen Gettins and Maeve Walsh to bring honour to the club by winning the team title at the Dublin and Leinster Novice and the Leinster Intermediate Cross-Country Championships.

The team also won silver medals at the Dublin Intermediate Cross-Country Championships.

Liffey Valley AC, which has more than 100 registered members, puts much emphasis on team spirit and inclusiveness.

A typical example of this spirit is seen in the series of Winter League races which start on Saturday with the 40th running of the club's Christmas Cake Race.

From a purely coaching and administration perspective, the club has made a considerable contribution to athletics.

Tom McCormack, one of the club's founder members, has long been recognised as Ireland's leading qualified international course measurer.

Jim Davis has been coach to Irish teams at Olympic Games, World and European Championship level. And Jim Monaghan, is one of the country's leading time-keepers.

Long-time club member Nick Davis was also the first president of Athletics Ireland. Nick's outstanding contribution to European Athletics was recognised this year when he received Europe's highest award -- The Plaque of Merit.

The club will mark its 40th anniversary in 2014 and it should merit a special year of celebration for all club members. For more, see www.liffeyvalleyac.comOFFICIALS

President/Committee

Chairman: Brendan Beere

Secretary: Mark Toher

Treasurer: Gavin Curran

Irish Independent

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