RIP Irish Olympian Tom O’Riordan


It is with great sadness that Athletics Ireland mourn the passing of Olympian and distinguished journalist Tom O’Riordan.

Tom was a native of Ardfert, Co. Kerry and for most of his career competed with Donore Harriers, having earlier represented Kerins O'Rahilly, Tralee. Following a successful schoolboy career, he was one of the pioneers who took the American University scholarship path. Following his NCAA career, he returned home and combined his successful athletics career with that as a journalist with Independent Newspapers. 

A high-level view of his long career as one of Ireland’s most distinguished athletes of the late fifties, the sixties and the early seventies shows:

  • 14 National Records: 4x 3000 metres, 4x 2miles,4x 3 miles, 2x 5000 metres (including 1st athlete to break 14 minutes)
  • 18 National Individual Senior titles: 11 National track titles & 7 National cross country titles plus multiple club team titles with his beloved Donore Harriers.
  • 21 International Caps for Ireland.
  • Olympic Games 5000 metres Tokyo 1964,
  • European track championships 5000 metres Budapest 1966
  • 11 times on the International Cross Country team
  • 8 other international Track & Field including Europa Cup teams.

Tom also had a major leadership role in the World Cross Country teams for a number of years following his retirement as an athlete including the highly successful Championships in Glasgow 78 and Limerick 79.

Tom in his role as athletics correspondent for the Independent for decades reported on our sport at every level and from every location. Of note in the early days this included competing in and then reporting on the event.

Deepest condolences to his wife Barbara, sons Ian, Angus and Donal and daughter Karen and the extended O’Riordan family.  

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