Longford Athletic Club’s Exciting Development Plan
Longford Athletic Club has recently announced the commencement of an exciting development plan to provide a home for the club which this year celebrates fifty years in existence. Speaking at the launch of a major fundraising draw, John Fitzpatrick, Chairman of the Facilities Taskforce explained that the club has been using various facilities around the town for the last fifty years and while the club appreciated the availability of these venues, they were not really suitable for athletics training.
‘We have a high jumper who has broken Irish records and is a senior Irish international but we do not have a high jump mat in the county. We have a long jump record holder but no long jump pit in the county. Our top middle-distance runner and Irish international does most of his training outside the county. This situation could not be allowed to continue, so we have used the fiftieth celebrations to get things moving’.
A quick review of meeting minutes in those fifty years revealed the continuous search for venues to train and host events. Local farmers provided venues for cross country events, the GAA clubs provided venues for sports days and the Mall in Longford Town was and is still used for training. While the club appreciated the support of the local community, it was difficult to develop and expand with nowhere to store any equipment and no indoor facility to use during the inclement weather.
Longford Athletic Club’s Exciting Development Plan
Today, the club has a vibrant senior section with a number of successful masters’ athletes, including Barry Shields, who finished 3rd in the O35 National Half Marathon in 2016 and 4th in 2018 and ran 2:33 in Berlin Marathon. Adriana Mulligan is just one of the athletes flying the flag for the female athletes in the club winning the Longford Marathon in 2018 and finishing as 4th senior woman in the National Marathon Championships in the Dublin City Marathon 2018 in a time of 2:52.
The juvenile section has been very successful with the likes of Cian Mc Phillips, Nelvin Appiah and Yemi Talabi all breaking Irish underage records and representing Ireland at European Championships and schools internationals. A younger crop of athletes led by Fumni Talabi means that the pipeline is continuing to produce athletes of the highest calibre.
The club motto ‘Volens et Valens’ means ‘Ready and Willing’ and the present committee are ready, willing and determined to make this dream a reality. Fundraising is in full swing with a very attractive draw for a first prize of €20,000 available with tickets competitively priced at €25 each or 5 tickets for €100. Other prizes including a family break in the new Center Parcs Longford Forest Resort make the tickets excellent value. The aim is to sell 4,000 tickets and every person with a Longford connection anywhere in the world, is being mobilised to get behind this bold move and become a supporter of the Longford Athletic Club draw.
An Online Sales Facility will allow people all over the world to become a supporter of this wonderful venture and purchase tickets online at https://www.longfordac.com/fundraising-forindoor-athletics-centre/
An expression of Interested for Leader Funding of €200,000 has been approved and this draw is designed to raise the matching funding and secure further funding from other avenues. The club are in discussions with the officials of Longford County Council to acquire a suitable site adjacent to the town and with easy access for those travelling from outside the town. A number of recently elected members of Longford County Council attended the launch and pledged their support in bringing this plan to a fruitful conclusion. They spoke of the pride that the Longford athletes past and present had brought to the county and mused about the potential of the club to deliver more success if they had better facilities. Club Chairman Paddy Mc Phillips summed up the vision of the club when he addressed the juvenile athletes directly during his address ‘On any day, not everyone can win a medal, but everyone can be a success. Not everyone will stay with athletics, but everyone will develop from doing athletics. Not everyone will represent Ireland, but some will and one of them could be you’
Fundraising Raffle Ticket with list of prizes on Sale locally or Online at www.longfordac.com . The club are appealing to everyone with a love and appreciation of athletics to get behind this venture and consider buying a ticket or get a group of friends to buy a book of five tickets. They are appealing to businesses within the county and beyond to make a once off contribution to get this project over the line. These contributions will go towards providing a home for a club that has overcome the odds, has wobbled but always got back on its feet and continues to defy the odds and produce top class athletes. The club wants to provide an opportunity for all ages to participate in athletics, to perform to the best of their ability and to become the best they can be.
It’s a worthy aspiration, a worthy cause and worthy of your support.