Thursday 14 December 2017

Greally's little gem goes long distance

The Irish Runner magazine is celebrating its 30th anniversary. It's a remarkable achievement given the large number of publications which have bitten the dust in that period, many of them covering sports with much larger fan bases and player numbers than athletics. The Irish Runner is the little magazine that could.

The Runner's anniversary is very much a victory for one man in particular. Frank Greally from Ballyhaunis had an outstanding underage athletics career, his national junior record for 10,000m set in 1970 still stands and he ran cross-country at East Tennessee State University where Irish Olympians Neil Cusack and Eddie Leddy were among his fellows on a highly successful team known as 'The Irish Brigade'.

The Irish Runner was Greally's brainchild and he has remained as editor throughout its three decades of existence. During those three decades the magazine has not just survived but thrived and it's fitting that its 30th anniversary issue boasts a redesign which makes the old warhorse look better than ever. Over the past 30 years, the Runner has been the best source of athletics news in the country while today, at a time when we're enjoying a running boom, it provides a host of invaluable advice for anyone trying to improve or just find their way into the sport.

Here's hoping for another 30 years.

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IN last week's From The Stands we carried a story which gave out-of-date figures for referees' fees and expenses in the League of Ireland. The match fee for a referee in the Premier Division is €200 and €135 in the First Division. Referees receive 50 cent per mile travelling expenses, not 70 cent as stated and instead of a blanket overnight rate, hotels are booked and paid for directly by the FAI where required. We are happy to clarify these matters.

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MICK O'DWYER is a remarkable man and, in case you didn't know that, just consider the following: in the past two years he's had two stents implanted to offset possible heart problems, he's had a hip replacement, and, just lately, an old ankle injury has started "troubling" him, as he puts it.

Anybody else with that list of health problems would be inclined to settle for the pipe and slippers, but not Micko. The Wicklow manager is still as enthusiastic as ever -- "I'm thrilled that this rollercoaster is still going" was his comment after last week's win over Sligo. So Armagh better beware.

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After the first-round football qualifier game between Westmeath and Antrim in Casement Park, two footballers, one from each team, decided to make a night of it in Belfast.

They spent a few hours in Casement Park after the game before heading back to their accommodation. The house they were staying in happened to be around the corner from Joe Brolly's house. On a whim, the two footballers decided to pay Brolly a visit, he invited them in, made them tea and then dropped them off at the Botanic Inn.

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NORTH Tipperary soccer club Ardcroney FC is organising a massive charity event in the Kenyon Bar, Nenagh today in aid of the Marie Keating Foundation and Suaimhneas, the local cancer support centre.

The sport-themed event will feature FAI chief executive John Delaney, Linda Keating and members of the Tipperary hurling and Irish rugby squads. To coincide with the event, Ardcroney FC will become the first amateur club in Ireland to wear a charity logo on their jersey as they will don the Marie Keating logo for the coming season.

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FUNDS raised from recent Race the Rás charity venture by a host of GAA personalities will go towards supplying kids with UV wrist bands.

The idea behind the bands is that when they are exposed to too much harmful UV rays, they change colour from white to purple to warn kids and parents to put on sun cream to protect from sunburn/skin cancer.

Cork's Graham Canty and Kerry's Kieran Donaghy are just two hugh-profile stars who have agreed to wear them in today's Munster final.

Seán Ryan, Eamonn Sweeney, Damian Lawlor and Marie Crowe

ssport@independent.ie

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