Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland

Friday, July 10, 2020

Charleville Half-Marathon postponed until 2021

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the organisers of the Charleville Half-Marathon have cancelled the 2020 event.

After much careful deliberation, North Cork AC, today confirms the cancellation of the 2020 Charleville International Half-Marathon.

The health and safety of our participants, our volunteers and our community within Charleville and the surrounding areas is always our highest priority, and this tough decision was made with their well-being foremost in our minds.

We look forward to welcoming all participants back in September 2021 to the 10th anniversary of the Charleville International Half-Marathon.

We wish to take this opportunity to thank all participants, all event sponsors, club members and local volunteers for their ongoing support.

Yours faithfully
North Cork AC committee

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Malin to Mizen Run for Cappagh Kids - Starts 29th June 2020

 Update: Congrats to Barry Sheehan and his team who arrived at Mizen Head on Saturday the 4th of July and have raised over €70,000 for charity in the process.

* * * * *
Barry Sheehan has started out on his journey today the 29th of June to run from Malin Head in Donegal to Mizen Head in Cork.

 Details below...

On June 29th 2020, Barry Sheehan started the challenge to RUN from Malin Head to Mizen Head....600+ km in one week to raise funds for Cappagh Kids.

In 2017, Barry’s son, Michael, was diagnosed with Osteofibrous Dysplasia in his left tibia and so began their journey with the National Orthopaedic (Cappagh) Hospital. Overtime, without intervention, Michael’s shin would break easily and was likely to deform. Surgery was the only option, if any, of fixing the bone.

Over the past four years, Michael has had countless surgeries and related treatments.

Michael's treatment and rehabilitation has taken place at Cappagh under the exceptional expertise and care of Mr Connor Green and his team.

Cappagh, the National Orthopaedic Hospital, is primarily an adult hospital, but with many children travelling from all over Ireland to avail of the unique orthopaedic specialist skills and equipment. Barry, Michael and the rest of their family have seen first-hand how child friendly facilities are crucial but non-existent at present.

Cappagh Hospital Foundation is the charity arm that raises funds for the hospital and the money raised by the run will be used by them for Cappagh Kids, the new child friendly paediatric orthopaedic department at Cappagh.

Michael’s journey, the team who have treated him and the many people they have met at Cappagh along the way have inspired Barry to undertake this HUGE run in an effort to raise these much needed funds.

Any donation to this wonderful cause is greatly appreciated.

Live tracker...

Donation link...

Facebook page...

Friday, July 03, 2020

Notice: Dromana 5 mile Virtual Race - Fri 3rd July 2020

This virtual 5 mile race takes place on Friday the 3rd of July. Just run 5 miles, record your time and send it to the organsiers before midnight.


The next and penultimate race in our virtual summer series is the Dungarvan Leader Dromana 5 mile on Friday 3rd July.

This would have been the 28th year of this extremely popular race run over the famous Dromana Drive from Villerstown to Cappoquin, this race is sponsored by the Dungarvan Leader.

As with all our virtual races you can run it on any day or time during race week. We ask that all results are sent by midnight on Friday 3rd July.

All are welcome to participate.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Guest Post: Cork Marathon magic in 1986 as Fair Hill's Marion Lyons was first over the line John Walshe

In this guest post by John Walshe, he looks back at the 1986 Cork City Marathon. Also check out who finished in 9th place with a time of  2:36!

Cork Marathon magic in 1986 as Fair Hill's Marion Lyons was first over the line... by John Walshe

THERE was a most noticeable change for the fifth adidas Cork City Marathon as it took place a month later than normal, on Sunday May 25, 1986.

Easter Monday fell on the last day of March and as BLE had fixed the National Marathon for April 13 in Portlaoise, there was no way that Cork could go ahead two weeks before.

On that Saturday afternoon in Portlaoise, just 90 runners turned out for the BLE championship, the smallest number in 10 years.

It was won by London-based Kingston Mills, a member of Civil Service Harriers, in a time of 2:15:58. For the past three months in his position as Head of Immunology at Trinity College, Professor Kingston Mills has become familiar and reassuring presence on our national media in the battle against the Covid-19 virus.

Good packing by St Finbarr’s which saw Ricky Burke finishing third (2:22:09), John Buckley ninth (2:30:22), Eric Crockett 10th (2:31:50) and Derry O’Driscoll 11th (2:34:30) won for the Cork club the team title.

Of the four, only O’Driscoll would turn out in Cork six weeks later. An even smaller field of just 42 runners assembled for the BLE 10-mile championship at Castlelyons on May 4, an event won by Tony O’Leary of Leevale. In contrast, an average of over 400 runners were taking part in each of the five St Finbarr’s four-mile road leagues held that summer.

The course for the Cork event showed a number of changes from previous years, although the start and finish remained on the South Mall. Due to road works, further alternations had to be made the week before.

“Two o’clock on a Sunday afternoon is not the most appropriate time for a marathon around the streets,” said Michael Dooley, County Board Chairman and race organiser, adding “we owe a great debt of gratitude to the Gardai and to the public for their patience.”

 Sunday May 25 was also the day of the Sport Aid ‘Race Against Time’, a series of world-wide mass-participation 10km runs thought up by Bob Geldof to help alleviate world hunger. On the morning of the marathon, Cork County Board held a run around the Carrigrohane Road/Lee Road circuit which saw around 3,000 taking part.

Of course this was all before the advent of Sunday trading in the city and so, at 2pm, with the rain starting to fall, something in excess of 300 marathon runners assembled on the Mall to begin their 26.2-mile journey.

Amongst them was a woman from Fair Hill who had already carved out her own special niche in women’s athletics and before the day was out would have further cause for celebration.

The career of Marion Lyons (nee Stanton) had already covered the whole spectrum of athletics. She had recorded track times of 2:11 for 800m and 9:16 for 3000m and had represented Ireland at senior level on a number of occasions at cross-country, the highlights being the World Championships in Chepstow and Düsseldorf.

Back in April 1978, along with Elaine Kelly and Dervla Mellerick, the St Finbarr’s athlete had taken part in the Cork to Cobh 15-mile race, the first time in this country that women had competed with men over such a distance.

After finishing third in the 1985 Cork marathon in 3:06:58, the training over the winter months was geared to breaking the three-hour barrier the following year.

Marion Lyons & Joe Murphy
“I used to train a lot with Michael Dunne and Joe Murphy, and they were fantastic to me,” Marion recalled. “Michael Clancy started coaching me and he would come out on a bike and accompany me on my 15-mile run during the week and then we would do our 20 mile runs on a Sunday up into Whitechurch.

“I used to do an awful lot of quality sessions as well and was able to do around 58 minutes for 10 miles. But all my training was geared towards the marathon; I was running about 70 miles a week at the time.”

 Taking control of the race from the start, at six miles reached in 38:40 she was already four minutes ahead of Brigid McCabe from Mullingar. At halfway, the margin had grown to six minutes. However, coming up to 18 miles Lyons appeared to be in some difficulty as the experienced McCabe began to close.

By 20 miles the Mullingar athlete had closed the gap to three minutes but then she suffered cramp, leaving Lyons on course for victory. Crossing the finish line looking remarkably fresh, the clock showed 3:01:05 and Marion Lyons had become the third Cork woman in five years to take the coveted local title.

McCabe was second in 3:09:20 and finishing third, in a time of 3:15:01, was Dublin-based Nora Joyce, a native of Rathcormac.

Marion Lyons’ recollections of those early days training shows how much running, especially for women, had changed: “All my brothers and sisters ran and I used to do a lot of my training up Fair Hill. All the lads would be laughing at us, but as I often said after, a lot of those who were laughing at us then are running themselves nowadays.”

Marion Lyons, the first woman over the line in the 1986 Cork City Marathon.
Marion Lyons, the first woman over the line in the 1986 Cork City Marathon.
She would eventually break the three hours when reducing her personal best to 2:54:57 in Dublin and Marion Lyons also cherishes the sponsorship of running gear she received at the time from Michael O’Connell of Three Stripe International, the distributors of adidas who were also the marathon benefactors.

It was another adidas sponsored athlete, Billy Gallagher, who dominated the men’s race when winning for the second successive year. His time of 2:20:12 was over a minute slower than 12 months before but he never left any doubt about his intentions, running the last 16 miles into the rain on his own.

Tom Brouder, a member of a strong West Limerick team, tried to stay with the Cavan athlete in the early stages and managed to hold on take second in 2:24:29. Michael Carey of Leevale took third for the second year in a row, his time of 2:25:42 exactly a minute faster than in 1985.

Also repeating his fifth spot from the previous year, 48-year-old Derry O’Driscoll easily took the veterans prize when recording another excellent time of 2:34:27.

Just 303 finishers were officially recorded and as the last few wearily made their way to the finish line on the South Mall as 7 o’clock approached, they were unaware that 21 years would elapse before Cork city would again play host to another 26.2-mile marathon race.

MEN: 1 Billy Gallagher 2:20:12 2 Tom Brouder 2:24:39 3 Michael Carey 2:25:42 4 Gerry Mullane 2:29:35 5 Derry O’Driscoll 2:34:27 6 Brendan Domican 2:34:58 7 John O’Driscoll 2:35:40 8 Seamus Cawley 2:35:46 9 John Walshe 2:36:31 10 Thomas Bracken 2:37:34

WOMEN: 1 Marion Lyons 3:01:05 2 Brigid McCabe 3:09:20 3 Nora Joyce 3:15:01 4 Patricia Crangle 3:23:42 5 Marie Morley 3:29:22 Other names amongst the finishers included:

* Flor O’Leary, first M50 in a brilliant time of 2:43:22 which placed the St Finbarr’s man 11th overall * Sean Whelan from Ennis, a regular visitor to Cork races, finished 23rd in 2:52:20.

* George Webb of Rising Sun finished in 2:52:38 with Pat Dempsey (Leevale) close behind on 2:52:46.

* The final runner under three hours was Peter Gaffney from Mallow in 2:59:55.

* The late Barthy O’Sullivan recorded a time 3:23:12 with Donal O’Mahony on 3:28:54 and Joe Hogan from Blackrock on 3:31:02.

* Tony Cooke completed his debut marathon in 3:44:36. “It was my first and I said at the time, my last,” he recalled, a sentiment familiar to all marathon debutants.

* Declan Harrison from Lisgoold had a time of 3:47:46, one place ahead of Tom Houlihan from Midleton who finished in 3:48:17.

* Just behind in 3:49:37 in her first marathon was Bernice Glavin from Wilton, still a regular at the distance throughout the country.

* Cork goalkeeper Billy Morgan recorded 3:51:34; Pat Cadogan from Bishopstown had 4:30:16 and not far behind was Willie Chambers in 4:47:45.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

2020 Cork City 10 Miler Cancelled

It has just been announced that the 2020 Cork City 10 Miler has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. It was due to have been held on the 22nd of August this year.

The organisers hope to hold it in 2021.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Guest Post: CORK CITY MARATHONS 1985... by John Walshe

CORK CITY MARATHONS 1985 (John Walshe)

Thirty-five year ago, the Cork 800 celebrations proved to be a blessing for the increasing number of races then appearing on the scene as the once-off ‘Cork 800’ logo on the finishers’ plaque became a special attraction for participants.

To celebrate that 1985 occasion, a couple of new races appeared over the ‘8K’ distance, one organised by St Finbarr’s and the other by the Togher club.

Another popular event was the half-marathon held by the Friends of the Wheelchair Association on St Patrick’s Day. This was seen as the ideal build-up to the fourth adidas Cork City Marathon fixed for April 8.

It took place over roughly the second half of the marathon route and attracted over 1,100 runners. Two Kerry athletes, John Linehan and John Griffin, finished first and second with Tony Ryan from Dungarvan third. Catherine Hourihan of St Finbarr’s won the women’s race, but neither would figure over the full distance three weeks later.

After the excitement and controversy of the previous year, the 1985 marathon was a much quieter affair as the national governing body BLE decided to hold their championship race separately in Limerick at the end of June.

However, there was still a good incentive to attract the top athletes to Cork as the first prize was an all-expenses paid trip to the New York City Marathon the following November.

Almost 1,000 entries were received and speaking at the press conference before the race, Michael O’Connell of adidas said they were pleased with the response as the bad weather over the previous few months had not been conducive to marathon training.

The organisers were also making every effort to make it a value for money event with every participant being rewarded with a special Cork 800 T-shirt while all finishers received the marathon medallion, all for an entry fee of six pounds.

The course had been changed from the previous three versions and now went through Douglas village before doubling back through Church Street onto the main Douglas Road. It made for a faster route as the exclusion of the dreaded Temple Hill made it much easier.

The pre-race favourites were Paddy Murphy from Kildare, fourth the previous year and now the world veteran marathon champion, and Roscommon man, Billy Gallagher.

The 29-year-old Gallagher, who worked as a Department of Agriculture official in Cavan town, had completed over 20 marathons and was considered something of an ‘iron man’. Amongst his accomplishments was winning the Templemore 50-miler just three weeks after finishing third in the National Marathon.

Local hopes rested on John Buckley, then coming to the end of a senior career which saw him winning the Irish Cross-Country title at just 19 years of age.

Reaching veteran status would see him enter another hugely successful sphere, culminating in world titles six years later. Profiled before the marathon, the St Finbarr’s man said: “times have really changed now with events like the Evening Echo Mini-Marathon and the marathons and half-marathons introducing hundreds of people to running,” sentiments that no doubt could be repeated today.

With Lucy O’Donoghue unable to take part due to injury and the non-appearance of British international Sally McDiarmuid, the women’s race was seen as a battle between Shelia Curtin of North Cork (the Munster 10-mile champion) and Catherine Speight of Leevale, who had performed well in the adidas series of 10km races for women around the Tramore Road circuit.

Although the weather hadn’t been favourable in the days leading up to Easter Monday, conditions on the morning were ideal, dry with very little wind. Shortly after the opening mile (reached in 4:58), a group of six had formed at the front. The two favourites Gallagher and Murphy were there, along with Buckley, Michael Carey of Leevale, Christy Ryan (West Tipperary) and regular contender Willie Hayes of Reenavanna.

The three-mile mark came up in 15:38 and shortly afterwards it was down to five as Ryan lost contact. Coming up to eight miles, Carey and Hayes were dropped and after reaching the 10-mile checkpoint in 52:43, Buckley also had to let go.

Gallagher and Murphy passed through the half-way point in 68:22, with still no sign of hurt on either of their faces. Back through the city and down the Marina, Gallagher opened a slight five metre lead but on the climb out of Blackrock, Murphy had regained contact with the clock showing 1:45:05 at 20 miles.

It stayed that way up to 23 miles but then when the leaders hit the roundabout leading into Douglas, Gallagher made his move. Murphy failed to respond and the younger man slowly pulled away.

Approaching the finish, Gallagher realised he had a chance of breaking 2:19 for the first time and a lunge for the line saw him just getting there in 2:18:58.

A tiring Murphy finished almost a minute later in 2:19:51 and then there was a big gap before a delighted Michael Carey arrived to take third in 2:26:42 and, with it, the Munster title.

Willie Hayes, sixth three years before, had another consistent run to improve to fourth in 2:29:29, just 27 seconds ahead of a man who had arguably the performance of the day.

For Derry O’Driscoll from Cobh, running for St Finbarr’s, it was a remarkable personal best time at the age of 47. After running 2:33 in the Sea of Galilee Marathon before Christmas, O’Driscoll thought he might have an outside chance of breaking 2:30 and achieve this he did by four seconds when recording 2:29:56.

Two clubmates of Paddy Murphy from Kildare, Brendan Domican and Stephen O’Toole, took sixth and seventh positions. John Buckley suffered a lot over the final few miles but kept going to eventually finish in 2:45:21 for 26th position.

Sheila Curtin from Newtownshandrum ran an excellent race to take the women’s title in only her second marathon. The Fr Liam Kelleher-coached Curtin – whose sister Maura had finished second two years before – had to stop at 20 miles where she was passed by Catherine Speight.

Regaining her composure, she passed Speight again three miles later to finish in 3:01:23 and but for her bad patch would surely have broken the three-hour barrier.

Speight was rewarded with a credible 3:04:13 for second and Marion Lyons, in her first marathon, took third in 3:06:58.

As in every marathon, there were many tales of courage and inspiration. One such performance was that of Richard O’Mahony from the Crusaders club in Dublin. He finished 15th overall in a time of 2:41:02 despite the double handicap of being deaf and dumb.  



1 Billy Gallagher       2:18:58
2 Pat Murphy            2:19:51
3 Michael Carey         2:26:42
4 Willie Hayes          2:29:29
5 Derry O’Driscoll      2:29:56
6 Brendan Domican       2:31:38
7 Stephen O’Toole       2:32:06
8 Roddy Burke           2:32:37
9 Michael Roche         2:33:20
10 Christy Crowley      2:34:17


1 Sheila Curtin         3:01:23                
2 Catherine Speight     3:04:13
3 Marion Lyons          3:06:58
4 Rose Crockett         3:08:32
5 Triona Kelly          3:16:39
6 Mary Sweeney          3:21:07

Amongst the 733 recorded finishers were:

* George Walsh from Youghal was over eight minutes faster than the previous year when finishing 12th in 2:37:06.

* Husband-and-wife Eric and Rose Crockett (St Finbarr’s) recorded respective times of 2:38:16 and 3:08:32.

* Under the three hours were Pat Motyer from Ballycotton (2:57:06), Joe Murphy of Eagle (2:57:13) and John O’Connell from Passage West who just made it with 2:59:02.

* Just missing a sub-3:00 by 14 seconds was John Brady from Charleville who finished 95th overall.

* Athletics historian Liam Fleming from Ballinascarthy ran 3:06:38 with Tim Geary of Leamlara close behind on 3:07:53.

* Not far away were Maurice Tobin of the Youghal club – now a member of Grange-Fermoy – who finished in 3:08:58 and Christy O’Driscoll from Dublin Hill who clocked 3:09:23.

* Peter Fenlon recorded 3:12:27 with Anthony Prendergast of St Nicholas (Castlelyons) six seconds behind in 3:12:33.

* Dan Nagle from the Mallow club finished in 3:21:59 with Anthony Donnachie from Cobh on 3:24:13.

* Two Cork BHAA stalwarts, Sean Walsh and Eddie Mullane, both of the Quigley Company, finished a second apart in times of 3:27:30 and 3:27:31.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Notice: Greenway Series (Orienteering) - July & Aug 2020

This might be of interest to anyone wanting to get out for a run or for a family activity...

 It's all pretty basic. You are given a map and you just need to find the 'controls' and you write down the code on a piece of paper that you carry. You don't have to touch anything.

There is no need for a compass or anything like that, it's just a case of running or even walking to the various points and collecting the codes.

As you do this on your own or in a family group, everyone is able to maintain social distancing.

Details below...

Interested in a walk, a jog or a run with a difference (courses vary from 5 to 8 km and are on flat paths)?

Then try out the inaugural Greenway Series which takes place every Wednesday afternoon and evening

(3 pm to 7 pm starts) during the months of July and August, using the Greenways of Cork City and County.

All these areas have now been mapped by Sean Cotter and his Bishopstown Orienteering & Hillwalking

Clubs will be organising the series.

You need to Register / Pre-enter at least 24 hours in advance and give us your name and telephone number (in case the HSE requires it).

Entries to Sean Cotter at bishopstownoc AT gmail DOT com

Entry fees (pay on arrival): Adult eur 3, Student eur 2 and Junior eur 1.

The full Government & HSE rules will apply (no touching people or equipment, no hugging, no handshakes; 2 metre distance apart at all times before, during and after the event, practice good cough and sneeze etiquette, know the symptoms, face mask?, etc.).

Park in the public car park just before the old Passage Rowing Club (after the boat yard).

Park in the public car park near Harty's Quay, opposite the Rochestown Inn, on Rochestown Road.

Park in the public car park at Kilnagleary, first car park on the road from Carrigaline to Crosshaven.

Park in Pairc Ui Chaoimh car park.

Park in the public car park near Harty's Quay, opposite the Rochestown Inn, on Rochestown Road.

Park in Drake’s Pool public car park.

Park in Robert’s Bridge public car park.

Park in Hop Island public carpark.

Park in Pairc Ui Chaoimh car park

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Churchtown South 5 mile race cancelled & fundraising for hall

As you might expect, the Churchtown South Community Council 5 mile Road Race on the 25th of June has been cancelled. See message below...

"Due to present circumstances, the Churchtown South RACE, planned for June 25th, has been cancelled. We hope to run it next summer."...Conor Tierney, Churchtown South Community Council

I know a lot of you will have fond memories of Churchtown South and the annual race there every year when it was part of the Ballycotton Summer Series.

Conor mentions that they are now fundraising for their community hall...

Donation link HERE

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Guest Post: Controversy in the 1984 Cork City Marathon as both winners were disqualified over breaking rules on logos... by John Walshe

1984 was probably one of the more famous Cork City Marathons when the two winners were disqualified by petty officials in the BLE, the forerunner of Athletics Ireland.

Controversy in the 1984 Cork City Marathon as both winners were disqualified over breaking rules on logos... by John Walshe

THE Olympic Year of 1984 promised much for Irish athletics.

The previous August, Eamon Coghlan had won the 5000m at the inaugural World Championships with Regina Joyce seventh in the marathon.

At the ’84 World C-C, John Treacy showed he was getting back to his best when finishing a 13th.

The Los Angeles Olympic Marathon was being touted as the most eagerly awaited race ever at the distance. To qualify for this classic was the aim of Ireland’s leading exponents as the year made famous by George Orwell got underway.

A major coup for the organisers and sponsors of the third Cork City Marathon came when the Irish governing body BLE designated it the national championship, incorporating the Olympic trial.

With this added boost, entries showed a big increase to almost 1,500. “It will be the most competitive race of its kind to be held in Ireland for years,” declared BLE President Paddy MGovern in the race programme.

For the elite, BLE had set stiff times of 2:14 (men) and 2:35 (women) as Olympic qualifying standards. The race was seen as the big showdown between Cork holder Jerry Kiernan and three-time national champion Dick Hooper.

Kiernan had already won the national cross-country at Kilmacow in February while Hooper, as was his style, had concentrated solely on the 26.2 mile distance. Ever meticulous with his preparation, the Raheny-man even travelled down to Cork to train on the route.

The weather on this Easter Monday was unseasonably warm, with the date of April 23 being later than normal. The course was unchanged from the previous year and when the gun cracked on the South Mall, Kiernan immediately took the lead.
Action from the 1984 marathon.
Action from the 1984 marathon.

After the first mile he had only Donie Walsh for company, with daylight stretching between them and a group which included Hooper, Ray Treacy, Bulgarian Nemov Stanimar and Galway’s Jimmy Fallon.

Kiernan reached three miles in 14:46 with Walsh dropping back to the chasers. At five miles, reached in 24:36, Kiernan was 150 yards clear with the group now working together in an effort to close the gap.

Nearing the Regional Hospital, Hooper surged clear and started to eat into Kiernan’s lead. The gap was down to 11 seconds at 12 miles with Hooper occasionally checking his watch and the splits written on his arm. Coming into the city, Kiernan started to pull away again and was over a half-minute clear at 15 miles reached in 74:42.

Along with the warm sunshine, the runners also had a strong easterly breeze to contend with as they headed down the Marina. Coming up to 19 miles, Kiernan appeared to be in some sort of distress, almost coming to a halt. After passing 20 miles in 1:40:48, he was forced to stop on two occasions.

Although word of Kiernan’s plight had reached Hooper, there wasn’t much he could do about it. “I was getting reports back but I had hit the wall myself at 12 miles. It was a bad run for me,” he related afterwards.

With two miles left of this epic encounter, Kiernan’s lead was just 28 seconds and it looked like he was just about going to hang on. However, coming into the South Mall with the finish in sight, he had to stop again to ease the leg cramps.

With the large crowd urging him on and the thought of final release in sight, he crossed the line a relieved man, just nine seconds ahead of the equally gallant Hooper.

In the circumstances, the times of 2:14:30 and 2:14:39 were remarkable. “There must have been 50 times when I thought I was not going to finish,” admitted Kieran. “I had cramps everywhere.”

Almost unnoticed, Gerry Deegan had finished strongest of all to take third in 2:18:20.

Once again, the spectacle up front took from the women’s race where Emily Dowling was determined to make an attempt on the standard of 2:35. But the strong breeze coming up to 18 miles slowed her and after reaching 20 miles in 2:03, she realised she wasn’t going to achieve her aim and retired.

Her DCH team-mate Deirdre Nagle didn’t realise she was in the lead until nearing the South Mall and was therefore surprised to take her first marathon win in a time of 2:48:26, over a minute clear of Christine Kennedy from Galway.

In third, after attracting a lot of pre-race publicity as the local hope, 1983 winner Lucy O’Donoghue recorded a personal best of 2:56:06 after moving up from 12th at halfway.

As the remaining finishers struggled to cross the line in various states of exhaustion and exhilaration, they were unaware of the drama unfolding alongside them in the Imperial Hotel.

Because the size of the advertising logos on Kiernan’s and Deirdre Nagle’s vests transgressed the IAAF rules, the two winners were disqualified. The ironic fact was that both were wearing adidas apparel, the sponsor of the marathon.

“It’s not our ruling,” pointed out Eddie Spillane, PRO of BLE. “It is an IAAF rule and all athletes are aware of it. Before the race, officials approached individual athletes and told them they were wearing illegal vests.”

It also put the Cork County Board and its chairman Reg Hayes in a quandary as adidas sponsored the Board, along with most of the races in the county. The decision was also not lost on Michael O’Connell of adidas who called on BLE to clarify the position regarding sponsorship in writing.

But it wasn’t over yet.

At the prize presentation, Dick Hooper was declared the winner of the national championship. When presented with the winning trophy and medal, he turned and handed it to Kiernan and in a brief emotional speech said: “As much as it breaks my heart, I didn’t win this race and I now hand over the trophy to the real winner.”

The packed room broke into thunderous roars of applause and both Kiernan and Hooper were given standing ovations, much to the obvious embarrassment of the BLE officials.

There was a happy ending later when Kiernan and Hooper were both selected for the Olympics. Often much maligned for their selection policies, BLE for once played a trump card by awarding the third spot to John Treacy who went on to take the silver medal on that unforgettable August evening on the streets of Los Angeles.

Running the race of his life, Kiernan finished a magnificent ninth in what was the greatest marathon line-up in Olympic history.

His performance was understandably overshadowed by Treacy’s silver and the publicity he received paled in comparison to the front page news which dominated from that warm Easter Monday four months before.



1 Jerry Kiernan 2.14.30; 2 Dick Hooper 2.14.39; 3 Gerry Deegan 2.18.20; 4 Paddy Murphy 2.19.03; 5 Nemov Stanimar 2.19.25; 6 Martin Deane 2.19.53; 7 John Bolger 2.20.13; 8 Greg Hannon 2.21.29; 9 John Griffin 2.23.26; 10 Murt Coleman 2.23.57.
Deirdre Nagle crosses the line at the Cork City Marathon in 1984.
Deirdre Nagle crosses the line at the Cork City Marathon in 1984.


1 Deirdre Nagle 2.48.26; 2 Christine Kennedy 2.49.46; 3 Lucy O’Donoghue 2.56.04; 4 Audrey O’Brien 2.58.35; 5 Catherine Hennessy 3.00.14; 6 Nuala Logan 3.00.37.

Other well-known names among the finishers included:

Youghal native Christy Crowley won a silver team medal with Raheny when finishing 29th in 2.33.58.

Another Youghal man, George Walsh, just made the top sixty in a time of 2.45.21.

Seamus Casey of the Naval Service, now part of the Cork BHAA committee, ran 3.02.22 in his first-ever race.

Peter Gaffney from Mallow, another regular on the road race circuit, finished in 3.07.26.

Denis Murphy from Glanmire was close behind in a time of 3.08.14 with well-known shoe repairer Noel Muckley recording 3.08.37.

The late Tom Rawley finished in 3.09.18, just ahead of Stephen Murphy - then of Leevale, now with Rising Sun – who ran 3.09.28.

Christy O’Driscoll from Dublin Hill had a time of 3.15.52 with Joe Murphy from Eagle on 3.17.01 and Michael O’Connell of team adidas recording 3.17.15.

Tim-Joe Buckley from Donoughmore ran 3.18.58 with Mary Murphy from Mallow taking the Munster Championship bronze medal in 3.19.50.

Tony Huff from Blackrock (3.32.05) was five seconds ahead of Denis Ryan (3.32.10).

 Patrick Buckley of St Finbarr’s AC, now chairman of the Cork Athletics Board, finished in 3.42.52.

1) Original article in the Evening Echo

Monday, June 22, 2020

Coillte withdraw plans to put road in Rochestown Woods

Oldcourt / Rochestown Woods is located in the south-east part of Cork City and is a popular spot for runners and walkers. As well as being a recreational area, the woods has a thriving Red Squirrel population.

Coillte recently published plans to cut down a part of the woods to enable a forest road to be built so that some of the trees there could be cut down and extracted. The proposed road is in Red above on the right. The additional area to be felled is enclosed in red above on the left.

This plan was vigourously opposed by local users of the woods as well as many local councilors.

Today, Coillte announced that they had withdrawn plans to build the road which is good news.It's still not clear though whether they intend to clear the area shown in Red.

The hope now is that the woods will be designated a recreational area by Coillte just like they did for several areas in Co. Dublin.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Guest Post: Flashback - Jerry Kiernan reigned in the rain at 1983 Cork City Marathon

Flashback: Jerry Kiernan reigned in the rain at 1983 Cork City Marathon... by John Walshe

THE year of 1982, following the inaugural Cork City Marathon, saw road running taking off throughout country.

That autumn, over 8,700 finishers were recorded at the Dublin Marathon.

New races sprang up everywhere and Cork was no exception. June, July and August saw 10-mile races in Crosshaven, Belgooly, Charleville, Ballincollig, Bandon, Rathcormac and Castlelyons.

The standards were also at an all-time high.

The BLE marathon at Limerick in June was won by Dick Hooper in 2:12:56 and of the 394 finishers, 138 were inside three hours.

Finishing 20th in 2:26:23 was Willie Hayes, then with Reenavanna Harriers and now a member of St Finbarr’s AC.

He had been to the fore at the Cork City Marathon the previous Easter, eventually finishing sixth in 1982.

He recalled the type of training he was doing back then.

“I used to average around 120 miles a week, and even on one occasion reached 150.

“I was living in Doon [Co Limerick] and along with a few others like Mike Thompson and John O’Brien would do five or six miles in the morning and go out again in the evening.

"We would do a long run on a Sunday and also trained on the track. But most runners were doing that kind of mileage back then.”

With the running boom in full swing, it needed a star, a cult hero that the public and media could relate to.

It found one in Jerry Kiernan.

Born in Listowel, Kiernan was already an accomplished track and cross-country performer before turning to the roads.

He was National 1500m champion in 1975 and the following year broke four minutes for the mile at the Crystal Palace, recording 3:59.1.

After finishing 26th at the 1982 World C-C, he made his long distance debut in sensational style in May, defeating Neil Cusack by over four minutes in a 25km race in Limerick.

Further super-fast times over 10 miles in Belgooly and Bandon followed but it was October’s Dublin City Marathon that made Jerry Kiernan a household name.

A live television audience saw the Kerry native set a tremendous pace, leading by nearly four minutes at 20 miles where a time close to 2 hours 10 minutes seemed on the cards.

But the wheels came off and he was forced to stop a number of times over the last six miles.

Although in an exhausted state, Kiernan held on to cross the line in the sixth-fastest time by an Irish athlete of 2:13:45.

As he was now supported by adidas - also the Cork City Marathon sponsors - Kiernan’s appearance in the southern showpiece on Easter Monday was virtually assured.

Before that, however, he made another trip to Cork when setting a course record of 47:04 for the Ballycotton ‘10’.

Easter was early in 1983 and conditions on Monday April 4 were described as “rain soaked and sun splashed.”

Entries, at almost 1,000, showed a significant increase on 1982.

There were some changes to the route with the race starting as well as finishing on the South Mall.

Along Anglesea Street, South Terrace, Clarke’s Bridge, Washington Street and Grand Parade brought the runners back to the South Mall and the two-mile mark.

They then headed out towards the Kinsale Road, through Togher and five miles at Deanrock Estate before coming in Hartland’s Avenue, Glasheen Road and out to Wilton.

The 10-mile mark was on Inchiggan Lane before a return to the city and along MacCurtain Street to 15 miles at St Patrick’s Church.

Back around Horgan’s Quay and down Centre Park Road and the Marina took the runners to 20 miles on Skehard Road.

Then followed the tough final six miles back by Bellair, past St Finbarr’s Hospital, Boreenamanna Road, Victoria Road, and the City Hall and around by George’s Quay to the welcome finish on the Mall.

Wearing number 699, Kiernan lined up in the miserable conditions amongst what was a much higher standard field.

A group of 10 quickly slipped clear, including Ray Treacy (who had run 47:42 behind Kiernan in Ballycotton), Neil Cusack, Michael Walsh, Paddy Murphy from Kildare, John Griffin, US-based Dessie O’Connor and Cork-born Eddie Twohig from Leamington.

“I honestly was not feeling good over those first ten miles,” admitted Kiernan afterwards.

"The rain was pouring down and there was a strong headwind. We were just sitting in and taking as much shelter as we could.”

Michael Walsh and Ray Treacy lead the field through eight miles in 41:46.

The weather was now improving and passing the County Hall, Treacy surged, taking Kiernan with him. Walsh was off the back and coming into Patrick Street, Kiernan took control.

“The adrenalin was flowing. The crowd was great and I was feeling real good,” he would relate later.

He reached 18 miles in 91:02 and passing St Finbarr’s Hospital and the 22-mile mark, the clocked showed 1:51:31.

A really fast time was now on the cards and so it proved, with the 29-year-old crossing the line looking remarkably fresh, in contrast to his debut in Dublin five months before.

His time of 2:13:20 was the third-fastest ever run in the country and well clear of Treacy who ran a lifetime best of 2:16:54. Paddy Murphy, 39, also recorded a personal best of 2:17:31.

“I love running in Cork, the atmosphere is different to anywhere else and the people seem to appreciate athletes more down here,” stated Kiernan afterwards.

“I will be back for some 10-milers this summer. I still have never been beaten in Cork.”

 With all the attention focussed on the men, there was also a remarkable conclusion to the women’s equivalent.

Lucy O’Donoghue, a native of Tallow and a receptionist with Royal Insurance on the South Mall, had only taken up jogging the previous year when she completed the marathon in 4:11:44.

Now, with 12 months training behind her and a number of quality race performances, she improved on that inaugural run by almost an hour to take the title in 3:13:33, with Maura Curtin from North Cork second in 3:17:04.

“I did not realise I had a chance of winning it until I saw the paper on Saturday morning,” said the delighted O’Donoghue, who no doubt acted as a role model for women as that year only around 40 females took part out of a total of 818 finishers.


1 Jerry Kiernan 2:13:20 2 Ray Treacy 2:16:54 3 Paddy Murphy 2:17:31 4 Michael Walsh 2:20:23 5 John Griffin 2:21:03 6 Dessie O’Connor 2:22:19 7 Michael Treacy 2:22:32 8 Edward Twohig 2:24:07 9 Patrick O’Donoghue 2:25:07 10 Willie Fitzgerald 2:26:57


1 Lucy O’Donoghue 3:13:33 2 Maura Curtin 3:17:04 3 Corinne Reidy 3:23:28 4 Carmel Lynch 3:26:48 5 Mary Murphy 3:35:12 6 Sheila Murphy 3:36:16


Derry O’Driscoll from Cobh, aged 46, knocked over a minute off of his best time to win the veterans award, finishing 19th overall in 2.35.08.

Three places ahead was John Buckley of St Finbarr’s (2.33.43) and in 20th (2.35.12) was Seamus Cawley, Rathkeale, one of just 13 runners who has finished all 40 Dublin Marathons.

Sean Cotter from Bishopstown, well known in orienteering and hill-walking circles, finished 34th in 2.43.19.

Former European 1500m silver-medallist Frank Murphy - running for the St Peter & Paul’s Building Fund which raised in the region of 4,000 pounds – easily broke three hours with his 2.51.34.

Also under the magical barrier was Noel Curtin, now of Youghal AC and father of US scholarship athlete Fearghal, who completed his second marathon in 2.59.10.

The late Luke Philpott, again running in aid of the St Peter & Paul’s fund, finished in 3.06.21 with George Spicer not too far behind in 3.09.07.

Bernard Sisk, still a regular prize-winner in Cork BHAA races, finished in 3.44.27.

Frank Greally, editor of Irish Runner, ran 3.29.26 and wrote of his tussle with another athletics scribe.

“With over a half-mile to go I saw Fr Liam Kelleher up ahead and he looked like he was in trouble. ‘The leg is gone,’ he said. ‘I’m bunched too’, I replied, but let us run in together.’ We began to run the final five or six hundred yards and suddenly Fr Liam took off again. However, he had only gained about forty yards when he began to buckle again and I passed him and kept the head down and ran with great determination to the finish.”

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Notice: Touraneena Virtual 5k - Fri 19th June 2020

 If anyone would like to take part in a free virtual 5k on Friday 19th of June 2020, see below...


Race 3 of our virtual summer series takes place this week. It is never too late to start and if you would like to join us for the Touraneena 5k race this is how it works.

During the week of the race we ask you to run the race distance at a time suitable to you. Please follow all HSE guidelines in relation to physical distancing and social responsibility. When you have done this please send on a picture of your watch or timing device to Irene Clark 086 8242348 showing the distance and time taken by midnight on the Friday of the race.

Spot prizes will be given out after each race.
There is no charge for participating in this race, but we would ask that you support our title sponsor Intersport Elverys either online or instore. We have had great support from them in the past and we would now like to return that support.

No results will be published as its ‘You’ against the clock giving a good honest effort to achieve your best performance on the day.

We look forward to welcoming everyone back to Dungarvan when it is safe to race again.

In the meantime, please join us for some virtual racing.

Greenway Half-Marathon in Dungarvan in September cancelled

Another causality of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Due to the current ongoing challenges with Covid 19 we have come to the decision to cancel our race for 2020.

Our priority is the health and safety of our athletes, volunteers and supporters and we cannot guarantee that with any certainty, at this time.

Training would be starting in the next few weeks, so we have taken the decision now before athletes start their race training.

As a club we would like to continue to offer our athletes and friends an opportunity to stay connected to us but apart via our Virtual Summer Series. Full details can be found on the clubs Facebook page.

We look forward to welcoming you all back to Dungarvan when it is safe to do so.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Guest Post: Cork Marathon in 1982 drew just 700 runners but was deemed a success

This is an updated post from John Walshe about the 1982 Cork City Marathon which appeared in a recent edition of the Evening Echo. The original post appeared on the blog back in 1982.

Cork Marathon in 1982 drew just 700 runners but was deemed a success... by John Walshe

FOR the first time in 13 years, the streets of Cork were empty of runners this Bank Holiday Weekend as the annual marathon and associated events were yet another victim of the Covid-19 pandemic.

When Alan O’Shea led home over 1,300 marathoners back in 2007, it bridged a 21-year gap since the city had last hosted such an event as during the period from 1982 to 1986 Cork followed most major cities with a mass-participation marathon.

In October 1980 the inaugural Dublin City Marathon took place, followed in March 1981 by the London Marathon. Cork did have a marathon that year of 1981, but it was unlike what runners today are accustomed to.

On a wet June Sunday, the BLE National Marathon took place on the western side of the city. Starting near the County Hall, it headed out the Carrigrohane Straight, through Ballincollig and on to Farnanes. Here, the competitors simply turned around a petrol pump before retracing their steps.

With the County Hall like a mirage in the distance, the final two miles weren’t the most appealing. However, it didn’t deter Dick Hooper from winning his third national marathon in a time of 2:15:37 with Carey May recording 2:42:39 to take the women’s title.

Monday, June 15, 2020

New park proposed for Blarney...

Cork City Council have purchased 6.5 acres of land in Blarney with the intention to develop an amenity park there. It will include wildflower meadows, a play area as well as a looped path for walking and running.

The 6.5 acres of land is situated between the River Martin and Waterloo Road in the centre of the village, just north of Blarney Woolen Mills.

In a statement, the Council said that the current grassland area would be “maintained and enhanced in the context of biodiversity and the natural environment.” 

While full development of the park will depend on available resources, it is hoped that some works to improve access will take place in the coming months.

The Council now intend to consult with the local community and Councillors as to how the park might be developed.