The Grassroots Club of the Week: Slí Cualann AC
The biggest AC club in 'The Garden County', it's mission is to help improve athletics at junior, senior and masters level
Slí Cualann AC is the biggest senior athletics club in Co Wicklow. The club is an amalgamation of Bray Runners, Greystones and District AC, Inbhear Dee AC, Wicklow Town, Roundwood and District AC, Parnell AC and Rathdrum AC.
Slí Cualann Athletics Club has a mission to help improve athletics at Junior (17 to 19), Senior (age 20 and over) and Masters (age 40 and over) levels for their member clubs and to provide support for everybody who wants to take part in athletics in the club's catchment area.
Slí Cualann AC members are fortunate to have a great range of training venues available in Co Wicklow. There is a six-lane all-weather athletics track located in Charlesland, Greystones, as well as miles of trails in beautiful scenic locations such as Glendalough, Avondale, Roundwood Lakes, Djouce Woods and Devil's Glen.
The club hosts Sunday training runs once a month at various locations around the county. They are aimed at runners of all ages and levels of ability; the intention is to get as many club members as possible out training together in some of the many stunningly scenic locations in 'the Garden County'.
Slí Cualann AC also hosts training sessions at the track in Greystones – ideal preparation for the forthcoming track and field season. One of the most successful sections of the club is the Fit4Life League. This league involves a race every month, which takes place in various locations and over a variety of terrain. The events provide a relaxed atmosphere and double as an important social outlet for club members.
The events regularly attract entries of more than 100 of varying abilities.
Slí Cualann has had several high-profile athletes as members, including former member, double European Cross Country Champion and Olympian Fionnuala Britton, and two other Olympians, Roisin McGettigan and Stephanie Reilly.
On Sunday last, Slí Cualann entered four teams in the Woodie's DIY National Road Relays in Raheny. There were club teams in the Men's and Women's Senior events, as well as both Masters races.
One of the Slí Cualann's club stalwarts is Master runner Mick Byrne, who is the national Over-50 Masters cross-country champion. Mick is back in action after a heart scare last year that required surgery and the insertion of a stent.
Another great beacon of light at the club is Billy Porter, who organises the annual Wicklow Hospice Fundraising Team for the Dublin Marathon. Billy is recognised as 'Mister Athletics' in Wicklow and is a former county cross-country champion.
Slí Cualann Athletics Club members like to compete across a range of events and are great supporters of national championships.
There are currently 160 registered members at the club and the numbers look set to grow over the coming months and years.