BY JOHN WALSHE
AS one long-serving West Cork officer stepped down from his position, another man from the region was elected chairman of the Cork County Board of Athletics Ireland at its recent AGM held at Oriel House in Ballincollig.
Pat Walsh from Skibbereen has been treasurer for the past 26 years, a period which has seen the Cork board’s finances grow to such a healthy position that two years ago they were able to purchase a 32-acre field near Riverstick.
Although no successor to Pat was forthcoming and the decision on who will be the new treasurer referred to the next meeting, one position that was filled was that of chairman which saw Bill Allen, from the Doheny club, take over the chain of office from Paddy Buckley of the St Finbarr’s club.
A native of Castletown, Enniskeane, Bill has been involved in athletics for around six years and is the current chairman of the West Cork division.
‘I suppose my interest in athletics started off when my father, the late Tom Allen, used to take me to the various school and club sports when I was aged around nine or ten,’ explained Bill, who now lives in Drimoleague.
‘I then got involved with boxing and managed to win a Munster minor welterweight championship before taking part in tug-o-war with Kilmeen/Kilbree, which kept me fit during my younger days.’
Having got involved with Doheny AC through his children, Bill has progressed up the ranks and his voice is now well-known as the commentator at all of the Cork cross-country fixtures throughout the winter.
‘I enjoy that aspect of athletics. It also gives you an opportunity to enjoy the sport up close and as well as seeing the athletes and clubs it also gives you a good idea of the organisation that goes on behind the scenes,’ he said.
The coming year will be a busy one in Cork athletics and Bill’s main objectives include the further upgrading of the county board’s field.
‘We hope to develop it further for cross-county but as well as that we intend putting in a 400m grass track, along with long jump pits and shot putt and javelin throwing areas, so that will be the primary aim for the year ahead,’ the new chairman explained, as he looked ahead to the coming year.