Derg AC: Multi-Use Athletics Facility Opening Soon – Spring 2021
Though situated in different counties, the twin towns of Killaloe and Ballina are united by a bridge over the river Shannon at the southern end of Lough Derg. Though technically two towns, they operate as one community with many shared cultural, recreational, and sporting facilities and clubs. One such club is Derg AC, which was founded in 2013. Despite its relatively short history, the club is now on the verge of opening a new athletics facility in Clarisford, a leafy 30-acre community park by the river Shannon that already hosts football, rugby, and scouting facilities.
The delivery of this community athletics training facility is the culmination of much planning and voluntary work by Derg AC and Clarisford Park. The facility has been future proofed for future development in terms of drainage and groundworks. It has become a reality thanks to the keen fundraising efforts by members, donations from the local community, the local rugby club and the Boru Tri club, government grants, philanthropy, and unprecedented goodwill in terms of voluntary services (engineering, project management services, building services, maintenance, insurance sourcing, filming and photographic services including drone filming, and grant administration).
Derg AC’s hundreds of members, who range from ‘little athletics’ participants aged 5-7 years to ultra-marathon masters, will soon enjoy a floodlit 200m rubber-surfaced track with a 120m sprint straight, long jump, throws area, high jump area, outdoor gym, and a wheelchair-accessible inclusive athletics zone.
In the spirit of promoting health and fitness for everyone in the community and promoting athletics a casual park user/ad hoc user is welcome to use the facility on an individual basis during daylight hours. For regular use of the facilities, a goodwill donation to Derg AC or membership is encouraged. Membership of Derg AC or facility rental applies to all group training sessions.
Track Development Video
The inclusive athletics programme was set up in Jan 2019 and has gone from strength to strength with participant numbers doubling in that time. A number of children have transferred into mainstream sessions within the club. The inclusive athletics programme was featured in the Sports Partnership Annual Report for 2019 and local newspapers in 2020.
Derg AC juvenile athletics continues to go from strength to strength since the club was formed in 2013. The club competes in cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field seasons. The juvenile section of the club encourages participation at all levels and has been successful at county, provincial and national level across a range of events and age groups. Through the ongoing coach education programme, the club continues to expand the range of knowledge, skills, and expertise of our coaching team.
Masters athletes in Derg A.C. span a broad range of interests and abilities. Many members have looked to return to fitness later in life through our Couch-to-5k programme. Others seek to push themselves competitively. We have masters athletes representing the club and area most weekends in varied pursuits such as Parkrun, track sprinting and middle distance running, hill running, autumn cross country meets, and road races up to marathon distance and beyond. To date, some athletes have succeeded on European tracks and in gruelling races around the mountains of the continent. The masters section seeks to grow always and looks forward to making full use of the new track facility and local scenic trails with comradery, craic, and mutual support to the fore as ever.
Derg AC is affiliated with the Athletics Association of Ireland enabling the club to run an excellent suite of Athletics Ireland programmes. These include Fit4Life, Inclusive Athletics, Fit4Teens, Juvenile Athletics, Little Athletics, Senior and Master Athletics.
Authors: Gary Madden Senior Secretary & Larry Arthur PRO
Editor: Emer Keating
Video: Nicola Welford