Navan AC will celebrate a milestone anniversary on October 28 at Claremont Stadium
Navan AC can trace its roots back to the St Mary's AC of the 1940s and 1950s. After a short break, the club reformed under the name De La Salle Club, where so many of the town's present sporting and cultural societies were fostered.
In October 1973, Navan AC was founded under the chairmanship of the late John Murtagh.
In 1978, members decided to join with Parkvilla Football Club and purchased a six-acre site on the Commons Road in the town. This facility became known as Claremont Stadium.
After a number of years, it became clear that Navan was in need of more modern sporting facilities, and after sterling efforts by members of the committee, an Olympic-standard athletic track and top-quality soccer pitch were developed.
This modern facility was opened in the autumn of 2000 and since then, many further improvements have taken place, including the provision of state-of-the-art lighting which allows for competition on the track and pitch on a year-round basis.
One of the driving forces behind these improvements was Rita Brady. Rita was a member of the liaison committee of NACAI prior to its merger with BLE to form Athletics Ireland in 1999.
A man with a long involvement with the club is Michael Smyth, the club president, who has been involved in the various stages of development of the fine complex which exists today.
Navan AC has been fortunate down through the years to have coaches of great renown; none more so than Dr Zbigniew Orywal.
During his involvement with Navan AC, Dr Orywal was hugely influential in fostering the talents of many local athletes, including two relay teams who held Irish records for 4x100m and 4x400m. These teams were made up of Ciarán Conlon, Liam Byrne, Paul Hetherington, Declan Reilly, Simon Cumbers and Derek Smith.
Conlon continues to coach at club, provincial and national levels.
Cumbers was tragically killed while working for the BBC in Saudi Arabia in June 2004.
Navan AC hold a 6k men's road race in his honour in May each year, combined with a women's 6k in honour of Paddy Hyland, another man who served athletics with distinction in Navan and beyond for many years.
Byrne also coaches in the club, continuing a long family tradition, as his father Robbie was one of the founder members.
Tom Clinton, the current Meath county coach, and member of the club for many years, imparts his knowledge to large numbers of young athletes on club training days: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
The club now has 270 members registered with Athletics Ireland.
Athletes have enjoyed outstanding success at local, provincial and national levels.
One of the most promising young athletes is Eva O'Donovan who, on her way to winning the national girls' U-15 800m title, broke the Irish record with a time of 2:19.77 at the Woodie's DIY Juvenile National Indoor Track & Field Championship last March.
Other Navan AC athletes enjoying medal success in recent years include Turlough Grant, Robert Whelan, Ciara Rooney, Barry Kirwan, Niamh Lister, Aisling Watters, Sophie Kennedy, Tara Gallagher, Niall Matthews and Joey Monaghan.
The club celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and a function to commemorate this special milestone will be held at Claremont Stadium on Saturday, October 26.
President: Michael Smyth
Vice-president: Liam Byrne
Chairperson: Ann Lister
Secretary: Bernadette Gallagher
Treasurer: Rita Brady
Registrar: Margaret Houlihan PRO: Larry Whelan