Grassroots: Club of the Week
One of the biggest and most progressive clubs in the country, Craughwell AC sent more than 40 runners to Dublin's marathon in 2013.
Sunday, March 23, will see the fifth annual Craughwell AC 10 Mile Road Race take place through the scenic countryside surrounding the east Galway village. Last year more than 600 runners went to the line in this highly organised event. Register at www.activeglobal.com
Craughwell is about 25k from Galway city, and is home to one of the biggest and most progressive athletic clubs in the country, with more than 700 athletes registered to Athletics Ireland.
Athletics has been a strong sport in Craughwell for more than 50 years; Craughwell AC was founded in 1968 by local man Christy Kennedy and ever since then club members have competed in various events throughout the west of Ireland and much further afield.
Craughwell AC caters for a wide range of athletes from age seven upwards. In recent years, the juvenile section of the club has progressed from securing the occasional Connaught medal to regularly winning individual and team medals at national level.
Former star athletes include Ann Loughnane, who won a silver medal in the 5k race walk at the World Youth Championships in 2003; Cathriona Farrell who placed fourth in the high jump at the European Youth Olympics in Finland in 2009; and Maeve Curley, who placed 10th at the European Junior Championships in Estonia in 2011.
The club's senior athletes have also played their part in recent times and the club's most famous member is probably the ageless distance runner Gerry Ryan.
He joined the club in 2010 and has won many national titles at all levels during a running career that spans three decades. He continues to perform at the highest domestic level with several senior road race victories achieved in recent years.
Also, Martin Corcoran, Mark Davis and Peter O'Sullivan have all won individual medals at national and international masters distance running events, while Diarmuid Quill has won masters honours in the high jump.
The strength of Craughwell AC was never more evident than at the Dublin Marathon last year, when more than 40 runners went to the start line wearing their green and white club colours and the masters women's team of Marie Rooney, Eileen Finn-Graham and Maria McArdle came home with the national silver medals in their over-50 age category.
Leading Craughwell AC athlete – the versatile Cathriona Farrell – also holds the stadium women's high jump record of 1.81 metres at the Athlone IT International Indoor Arena.
Craughwell AC has a strong and dedicated team of qualified coaches working tirelessly to help members achieve their full potential.
The fact that the club is continually growing brings with it many challenges, but the coaching staff are all more than capable.
The club has also developed a very successful Fit4Life programme, which caters for walkers, joggers and runners at all levels of fitness. The programme runs for 10 weeks culminating with a 5k time trial.
Craughwell AC is a club that continues to thrive and expand; and it can boast the recently opened 400m track and adjacent dressing-rooms, built with money raised from local fundraising.
There is great local support for this go-ahead athletics club and you can learn more about its activities by visiting www.craughwellac.com or follow the club on facebook at www.facebook.com/craughwellac.
The club currently has more than 200 senior members and 500 juveniles registered with Athletics Ireland who are recruited from Craughwell and the surrounding local areas of Ardragh, Clarinbridge and Oranmore.
Chairperson: Valerie Fogarty
Secretary: Sinead Daly
Treasurer: Aine O'Connor
Juvenile Chairperson: Mark Gillen