BY JOHN WALSHE
A TOTAL of 19 Cork athletes who represented Ireland in various categories during 2018 were honoured at the Kingsley Hotel at the annual awards night organised by the Cork County Board of Athletics Ireland.
A further 19 up-and-coming young athletes were also recognised for their achievements in all the athletic disciplines with each receiving a training bursary as an encouragement to continue their improvement for the future.
There was a strong West Cork representation in both sections, with Phil Healy, Carmel Crowley, Laura Nicholson, Darragh McElhinney, Clare Gibbons-McCarthy and Brian Kearney all receiving international awards. The Aspiring Young Athletes included six from the Bandon club.
The Cork cross-country team who won the All-Ireland cross-country title back in 1967 were also honoured. This idea was the brainchild of Liam Fleming from Ballinascarthy – who has written several books on past champions – and the recipients included the individual winner of that race from 52 years ago, well-known St Finbarr’s athlete John Buckley.
Chairman of the Cork Athletics Board, Paddy Buckley, welcomed the award winners and stated that there was now a record 56 clubs affiliated to the board, with 8,500 athletes registered.
‘We look on that as a vote of confidence and we thank all the club officials and coaches for their dedication and the amount of time given to the sport,’ Buckley said.
Guest of honour on the night was Hamish Adams, CEO of Athletics Ireland, who said that the young athletes should aspire to be the best.
‘Especially here in Cork, there is a proud history of achievement at the highest level, so I’d say to you all to be the best that you can be, aspire for that podium and don’t take second best,’ Adams said.