SIR – May I take the opportunity to congratulate Martin Walsh on an excellent profile of and interview with Donal Murnane in your edition of The Southern Star dated August 10th, 2019? Martin is a man of many talents, proving that he is not just a renowned photographer and motorsports journalist – he has many more strings to his bow.
In the early 1980s, I had the privilege to be involved with a progressive Skibbereen Athletic Club, when Donal Murnane and his brothers, Liam and Gene, literally, burned up the running tracks around West Cork and further afield.
Indeed, their father, Eugene Murnane, was one of the main drivers of the local club, which gave many young boys and girls the opportunity to compete across many athletic disciplines and achieve honours not only at local level, but also at national and international level.
Donal Murnane is a very driven individual, who prefers to avoid the limelight and to operate below the radar. However, I wonder are we missing the opportunity to tap into the brains of people like Donal when looking at potential sports projects in West Cork?
Why have we not got a high-performance centre in Skibbereen to cater for the many sports clubs in the area? In the town of Skibbereen alone, there is a thriving GAA Club, Rugby Club, Soccer Club, Athletic Club and a very high-achieving Rowing Club, which are producing world champions and Olympians. Why not start a project to build a high-performance centre to facilitate local sports clubs and schools?
The people of Skibbereen have already developed an excellent Sports Centre in the town, which could be easily expanded. With the right people involved in such a project, it is not beyond the reach of this great town.
Why not look at tapping into the brains of individuals such as Donal Murnane? He has already developed a high-performance centre since he has become chairperson of Leevale AC in Cork City.
Ask any of the prominent Leevale athletes who have represented our country at World and Olympic games: Who is the driver of your club? They will all point in the direction of Donal Murnane all day long!