Dunleer ace makes splash on the European scene
DUNLEER members achieved many things in 2013 - none more so than Tomás Cotter.
At the World University Championships in July, Tomás represented his club, college and country in Kazan, Russia following a fourth-place finish in the 3,000m Steeplechase at the European Teams Championship in Santry, helping Ireland to retain Division 1 status.
Tomás has been studying in Wichita, USA, for the past three years and has recently been joined by clubmates Carl Dunne and Shane Walsh who have also gone Stateside to further their education and athletic careers. Carl has enjoyed success recently, claiming the individual title at the highly prestigious Sunshine State Conference Meet, marking the first time a runner from Saint Leo, Florida, has claimed the honour on the men's side.
Staying in the US, former Dunleer AC athlete Charlie Breagy, now based in Providence, invited Team Dunleer to compete in the Ocean State Cross-Country event in Warwick, Rhode Island. Scoil Uí Mhuirí post primary school teamed up with Dunleer AC, and while this is the third time an Irish team of athletes has participated, 2013 was the most successful to date with seven team members coming home with individual medals.
Also on the International stage, Geraldine Finegan won gold in the Heptathlon at the World Masters Championships and was later awarded Best Masters Athlete for 2013 by the Athletic Association of Ireland.
Darragh Greene, the 2013 Louth Cross-Country champion, impressed throughout the year, qualifying for both the senior National Indoor and Outdoor 800m finals, while training partner Fintan Reilly dominated at the Louth Track & Field Championships, receiving the Athlete of the Meet accolade. Both men were members of the team who secured gold for Louth in the Inter-County Cross-Country Division 2.
Up and coming athlete Garry Campbell had a very successful year also in winning the Indoor and Outdoor 800m National titles (Under-17). Other young athletes to win individual medals at the Nationals included Jack Mc Cullough, Liam Connaughton, Kian Leavy, Grace Fitzpatrick and Emma Cheshire.
Dunleer athletes who competed successfully at Leinster level were Emma Fay, Jack Boylan, Aoife Fay, Shane Cheshire, Seaghna Campbell, Conor Matthews, Erin Orr, Ciara Matthews, Theresa Russell, Josh Seberry, Aeyla Orr, James Russell, Patrick Farrell, Oisín Cheshire and Erinn Leavy.
With more than 300 members, the club continues to expand and support athletics in the mid Louth area, is proud to provide a healthy and active outlet for its members.
Dunleer AC has sporting partners in the US through Charlie Breagy, and in Armagh through Brian Vallely. These men are instrumental in helping Dunleer AC host Rás na hÉireann each year and the connection with Armagh AC and the cultural links are part of the fabric of this highly successful, dynamic club.
The 2013 Gathering of Dunleer AC took place at Oldbridge House on Rás na hÉireann day back in February and the assistance of all sponsors and supporters, particularly Coca-Cola International Services and Athletics Ireland, proved invaluable once more. Already club chairman Kevin Matthews' thoughts are turning to 2014 and the club's two flagship events - the Rás na hÉireann Cross-Country on February 16th and the Dunleer AC 4-Mile Road Race on July 13th.