The longest running National Athletics Championships in the world, 147 years and counting.
Nothing has threatened that streak in the manner Covid19 has.
Two World Wars have failed to break the elastic not to mention a couple of domestic Internal skirmishes circa 100 years ago.
Originally slated to happen in late June to facilitate the Tokyo Olympics, re-arranged for this coming weekend, the final product being amended to behind closed doors, a no spectator event, spread over two weekends and made up of nine segmented sessions.
At this stage we are grateful for the fact that the event is going ahead. Most of all the Athletes need it.
The National Senior Track and Field Championships, the jewel in the crown of Irish Athletics. If this weekend any Raheny Athlete is to win a title they will do it without the usual great support from The Green Army on The Santry Hill.
The denizens of this previously occupied area of The Old Stadium this year abandoned to the mercies of such modern vehicles as Live Streaming and Twitter.
The choice is stark, sharp and not without intrigue. It’s either embrace technology or risk life and limb climbing trees in Santry Demesne.
These track and field titles are not easily won. Time to remember the 18 Greats who in our 62 year history have brought 28 skins our way.
Herewith the Event Map
|100m||Jamie Davis – 2014|
|400m||Kieran Finn – 1987|
|800m||Siobhan Eviston – 2011, 2012|
|3000m||Mary Lynch – 1973|
|5000m||Conor Dooney – 2017|
|4 Miles||Tom Phililips – 1965|
|10,000m||Vinny Mulvey – 2006
Mick Clohisey – 2014
Kevin Dooney – 2017
|110m Hurdles||Ciaran McDunphy – 1984, 1985|
|400m Hurdles||Ciaran McDunpy – 1985, 1991, 1992|
|3,000m Steeplechase||Mark Kirwan – 2007|
|Discus||Niamh Fogarty – 2019|
|Javelin||Mark O’Connor – 1982||Sally Wigesundra – 1987|
|Hammer||Paddy McGrath – 1992, 1993, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2007|
|Shot Put||Eric Favors – 2019|
|Pole Vault||Malachy Sheridan – 1986||Zoe Brown – 2014|
Dissecting and Observing
- 13 Raheny Men and 5 Raheny Women have won National Senior Titles.
- Our Decade by decade breakdown has one each in the 60’s and 70’s, seven in the 80’s, five in the 1990’s, five in the Noughties and nine in the last decade.
- Ciaran McDunphy, winner of fice titles in all is the only athlete to strike Gold in two separate events, 110m Hurdles and 400m Hurdles.
- Siobhan Eviston’s two 800m titles separate her from her fellow Females. If you want some excitement and drama check out youtube for her 2011 victory when she came from 40 metres back to beat Ciara Mageean.
- The Legend that is Paddy McGrath is the market leader with his 6 Hammer Titles.
- On a marvellous weekend in 2017 The Brothers Dooney plundered a unique family double with 5,000m (Conor) and 10,000m( Kevin) gold.
Raheny Shamrock was founded 62 years ago in 1958. It took a relatively short seven years before Tom Phillips wrote himself into the History books in 1965, becoming the first athlete from the Club to win a National Senior Title.
Tom’s victory coming in the now defunct 4 mile event.
Eight years later, 1973 and red haired Mary Lynch from St Assam’s Drive became the second athlete and first Woman to win a National Title.
Mary‘s victory came over 3,000m, at the time the longest distance allowed for women.
History shows that in getting to celebrate Gold at the Nationals we have a strike rate of about one in three. In our 62 year life we have won titles In 20 of those years. That there have been a lot of Sunday evenings the Green Army has headed for home with hunched shoulders and furrowed brows wondering where the next Golden boys and girls are going to come from.
Last year we filed home high on the throws of Eric Favors and Niamh Fogarty. Technique, turns, breaks and red flags had replaced split times and false starts as the buzz words.
Where once Paddy McGrath’s Hammer had threatened all wildlife in the environs of Raheny now Shots and Discus’ flew through the air. And who can forget the headiest weekend of all in 2014.
Saturday and diversity of events reigned with a Pole Vault ( Zoe Brown) and 10,000m (Mick Clohisey) double teeing up one of those unforgettable Sunday moments when Jamie Davis held his head and form while all around him were losing theirs and the Starters Gun rained more bullets than seemed possible.
At the end of it all Jamie was the Nation’s fastest and finest over 100m.
So as we don the Green this weekend and either peer at small screens or through park bushes we know well that there are contenders out there to add to the 28 titles.
Niamh Fogarty looks the most likely. Mark Smyth can match outdoor gold with the winters indoor title over 200m.
In Iseult O’Donnell and Cillian Kirwan we have middle distance runners on the brink. Mick Clohisey and Kevin Dooney are major contenders once again over 10,000m. Brian Fay looks capable of going close at whatever distance he might choose.
Look out for such as Sean O’Driscoll, Aoibhinn McGoldrick, Brandon Arrey and of course newbies Sophie Becker and Niamh Kearney.
Plenty other Shamrocks in there too to look out for. Tap the keyboard for them all.
Of course we want and hope for more titles. It’s in our waters you see.
But until the race is run, the deed Is done and the event is won, It remains the blank that was never sank.