International Women’s Day Stories

With it being International Women’s Day, we thought it might be a nice time to have a short look back at the history of Raheny Shamrock Athletic Club and our proud female members.

Raheny Shamrock was founded 60 years ago, in August 1958.

At that time two athletic federations ran the rule over Irish athletics, the NACAI and the AAUE. Raheny Shamrock were members of the NACAI.

There is a secondary context, one which this author, in this era, struggles to comprehend as actual events.

In the 1950’s John Charles McQuaid, the archbishop of Dublin ran a tight fist over Irish life.

With his fist clenched in control of society, stories exist of McQuaid controlling the film censor, attempts to control RTE and various other aspects of Irish life.

One item that McQuaid definitely was, was anti-women-in-sport.

McQuaid stating “mixed athletics and all cognate immodesties are abuses that right-minded people reprobate, wherever and whenever they exist”.

McQuaid added: “God is not modern; nor is his Law” while women competing in the same sporting arenas with men were “un-Irish and un-Catholic”.

It is on this background that some nine years after the club’s founding in 1967, Raheny Shamrock became the first NACAI club to open their doors to female members.

And it did not take long for the Raheny Shamrock name to light up the podium in women’s athletics.

The Raheny Shamrock women’s team would win the BLE (a merger of AAUE & NACAI in 1968) National cross country championship in 1969.

Mary Lynch won the 1971 national inter-county cross country title and retained that title 12 months later while also adding the 1972 inter-club title and the 1973 3,000 metre title.

While Ursula Kennedy would become the first Raheny Shamrock athlete to compete in the World Cross Country Championship in 1968.

In total, there has been 20 national senior championships won by nine Raheny Shamrock female members since 1967, and they are;

Mary Lynch – Inter-County Cross Country – 1971 Mary Lynch – Inter-Club Cross Country – 1972 Mary Lynch – Inter-County Cross Country – 1972 Mary Lynch – 3,000 Metres – 1973
Sally Wigesundra – Javelin – 1987 Rose Hayden – Half Marathon – 1988 Olive Bollard – Half Marathon – 1989 Annette Kealy – 1500 Metres Indoor – 1995
Annette Kealy – Marathon – 2003 Orla O’Mahoney – Half Marathon – 2005 Orla O’Mahoney – Short Course Cross Country – 2006 Orla O’Mahoney – 10 Kilometers Road – 2007
Orla O’Mahoney – 10 Kilometres Road – 2008 Anette Kealy – Marathon – 2009 Barbara Sanchez – Marathon – 2010 Siobhan Eviston – 800 Metres – 2011
Siobhan Eviston – 800 Metres – 2012 Zoe Brown – Pole Vault Indoor – 2013 Zoe Brown – Pole Vault Indoor – 2014 Zoe Brown – Pole Vault – 2014

 

And for the day that’s in it here are our female members who have won national junior titles,

1968 – Ursula Kennedy – 800m 1971 – Eileen O’Driscoll – Long Jump 1984 – Ann Dunne – 400m Hurdles
1986 – Pauline Durnan – 3000m 1987 – Pauline Durnan – 3000m 1990 – Audrey Farrelly – 100m
2001 – Helen Buckley – High Jump 2011 – Isuelt O’Donnell – 800m 2011 -Alice Fennell – 3000m Steeplechase

And our Under 23 national champions;

1986 – Ann Brady – 800 metres 2010 – Susan Scallan – 400 metres
2013 – Maria O’Sullivan – 5000 metres 2014 – Maria O’Sullivan – 5000 metres 2014 – Iseult O’Donnell – 400 metres

51 years ago, it took a brave decision in a country that was changing to make the right decision, a decision that made Raheny Shamrock Athletic Club a better club!

Happy International Women’s Day

Raheny Shamrock Athletic Club female members who have competed in international games and championships.

World Cross Country

Ursula Kennedy – Blackburn – 1968 & Clydebank – 1969

Ann Keating – Blackburn – 1968

Siobhan Lynch – Blackburn – 1968

Kay Mooney – San Sebastian – 1971

Mary Lynch – Cambridge – 1972, Waregem – 1973 & Monza – 1974

Orla O’Mahoney – Edinburgh – 2008

Annette Kealy – Edinburgh – 2008

European Cross Country

Annette Kealy – Oeiras – 1997 & Medulin – 2002

Orla O’Mahony – Tilburg – 2005, San Giorgiu – 2006 & Dublin – 2009

Eilish Kelly – Velenje – 2011

Commonwealth Games

Zoe Brown – Glasgow 2014 – Pole Vault (Northern Ireland)

Paralympics

Orla Comerford – Rio 2016 – 100m

World Para Athletics Championships

Orla Comerford – London 2017 – 100m

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