Exceptional Services to the Sport of Athletics in Ireland: Tullamore Harriers


It was decided for the occasion of 123.ie National Athletics Awards and in view of the century of existence of the governing body, to make a special presentation marking “Exceptional Services to the Sport of Athletics in Ireland”.   

It was unanimously decided that Tullamore Harriers AC, in the heartland of Ireland, would be an outstanding choice as it represents so much of what drives the volunteerism ethos in Ireland for the tens of thousands who benefit from it. 

It all began 69-years ago on  November 13th 1953. Nine young men, late teens early 20s, meeting under a streetlight finding the warmth of a local barber shop. They decided to form their own one, bearing the name of the town they came from and giving themselves the independence of being able to compete in events of their choosing.  

Among them was their soon-to-be first chairman, John Dowling who would - a quarter of a century later - serve as President of the GAA. 

Two other founder members, Paddy Larkin and Noel Gowran along with Brendan O’Shea who would join in the first year, led the members through the odyssey of development as they termed it themselves.  

Noel was the first Irish sub 2.30 marathoner and twice national champion.

He would be chairman of the club for 38 years up to 2008. Brendan served as Treasurer for 53 years from the point that he joined in 1954 to 2007.  

The purchase of land for the track and stadium build began in 1962  - a process that took almost two decades to fully complete and the impressive stadium and synthetic track were opened in 1979.  

It stages so many of the Juvenile Athletics Ireland Championships and has been the home of the All Ireland Schools for more than 3 decades.  

It was a fantastic occasion to see our President John Cronin, a former club Chairman, present Tullamore Harriers with the “Exceptional Services to the Sport of Athletics in Ireland” Award on the 23rd of November 2022.

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