South Galway Athletic Club’s 10th Birthday
February marked the 10th birthday of South Galway Athletics Club. The club was started in February of 2011 with 46 members and it has grown enormously over the past ten years now having 307 members. The club currently caters for athletes of all ages, from U8s to Masters in events in Cross Country and Track and Field; sprints, middle distance, race walking, hurdles, long jump, high jump, shot put, javelin, discuss and relay. The club consists of two committees; Senior and Juvenile who work closely together to promote and develop athletics across all parishes in South Galway, including Ardrahan, Ballindereen, Beagh, Clairnbridge, Gort, Kinvara, Kilbeacanty and Peterswell.
Striving for success
The club has had huge success at juvenile level in particular in relays with their U14 Boys team winning the indoor gold and outdoor silver All Ireland Finals in 2018 and silver and bronze in 2019. The Mannion twins David and Stephen have won numerous medals at national level in sprinting, hurdles, 800m and long jump. Roisn Geaney, Seán Kelleher and Sinéad Maher have all medalled at national level in race walking and with Seán and Sinéad currently participating in the Rob Heffernan Race Walking Academy. In 2020 John Whiriskey won the All Ireland O40s Masters 800m in a strong time of 2.06 minutes.
Developing high standard coaching in South Galway
In the past few years South Galway AC has worked on developing their coaching skills through the Athletics Ireland coaching education pathway. They have developed a team of thirty two coaches who have awards in Athletic Leader, Assistant Coach, Endurance Running, Hurdles, Sprinting, Long Jump, Javelin, Shot put, Level 1 and Level 2.
The impacts of Covid 19
These are challenging times for all sports but South Galway AC have but great work into continuing to train according to the Sport Ireland Covid-19 Guidelines. During the current Level 5 restrictions the club has given all their juvenile members training plans, weekly they have online circuit and Pilate classes and running challenges. All senior athletes receive their daily training plans by our team of senior coaches on our WhatsApp group. The club participated in the Athletics Ireland Virtual cross country and are currently working on the ‘In House Club League developed by the Athletics Ireland RDO Team.
Link with the South of France
Since 2014 South Galway AC have been twinned with the French Athletic Club, Vigantanes del Volo AC, who are based out of Ceret, which is 30km south of Perpignan in the south of France. This involves yearly visits to Ireland by members of Vigatanes Del Volo club and visits to France by members of South Galway AC. Each clubs logo is featured on the others gear.
Athlete(s) to look out for in 2021
John Whiriskey Masters 800m and Caoimhe Kelleher Junior Girl 1500m and 3000m. U18 Girls; Aisling Finn 100m sprint and Roisin Geaney 400m and 800m. U17 Boys; Relay team, David Mannion hurdles and sprints, Stephen Mannion sprints and long jump and Seán Kelleher race walking. U17 Girls; Sophie Farrell sprints and Emily Derrane hurdles. U16 Girls; Sinead Maher Race Walking, Leah Hanley 200m and Siobhán Geaney 800m and 1500m. U15 Girls; Orlaith Mannion and Amy Rose Kelly hurdles and spints.
Planned club event in 2021
This year the annual South Galway AC Gorgeous Gort 5km is going virtual! All entrants have a week, from 15th - 21st March, to run 5km and post their time. Entry is €15, and all entrants will receive a limited edition South Galway AC 10th Anniversary Gorgeous Gort Virtual 5km t-shirt. For more information and to enter, visit at www.popupraces.ie/race/south-galway-ac-10th-anniversary-gorgeous-gort-5k-virtual-run/
Club Website/Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SouthGalway-AthleticsClub-1651569375080179/
Athletes to watch out for are Stephen Mannion who has medalled Nationally, in long jump, 800m, and relay and David Mannion All Ireland Champion in 2019 in hurdles and 200m.
Sinead Maher and Sean Kelleher who have both medalled nationally in Race Walking and are currently participating in the Rob Heffernan Race Walking Academy.
John Whiriskey of South Galway AC is the current 2020 Athletics Ireland over40’s 800m All Ireland Champion.
South Galway Athletics Club committee members Edel Leech Juvenile Chairperson, Siobhán Kelleher Juvenile Coaching Coordinator and Juvenile Secretary, Dara Willams Senior Chairperson and Justin McDermott Senior Secretary.