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Claremorris delight as new running track gets go ahead

Claremorris delight as new running track gets go ahead

Michael Commins

CLAREMORRIS Athletic Club has expressed delight with the news that Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring is providing €400,000 for a new running track in Claremorris.
The funding is being provided under the Special Athletic Track Initiative. It will provide a brand new 400 metre running track at Claremorris Athletics and Sports Club to replace the existing surface.
Minister Ring said this is a great investment in Mayo’s sporting facilities. “I’m delighted to announce funding for this new track. Work will start immediately on the new running surface and will be finished by the end of the year. It will mean that Mayo athletes have access to top-class training facilities within the county.
“It’s great to be able to make this announcement just as the Olympics are kicking off, and when all eyes will be on the Irish athletes. I would also like to compliment Jim Ryan and his team who has worked all his life for athletics in the county.”
The all-weather cinder track has served Claremorris well over the years. Athletics took a hold in the area on the arrival of Fr Des Fahey to St Colman’s College. He was a huge advocate for athletics and was the man who, together with a wonderful and far-seeing committee, pioneered the development of the running track down at what is known locally as The Racecourse.
Fr Des was joined in his epic venture by people such as Joe and Jim Quinn, Alfie Gibney, Joe and Nora Duggan, Paddy Monaghan, Ray Leonard and several others too numerous to mention. The late 1960s saw Claremorris claim a special place in the Irish athletics scene and the new track was regarded as the best outside of Santry in Dublin at the time. It hosted some national championships for juvenile athletics and colleges and brought many people to Claremorris.
Jim Ryan, echoing the sentiments of all associated with the club, said the news of the €400,000 allocation was a massive boost in the times that are in it. “We have an excellent club and a very dedicated committee here. I want to thank Robert Duffy in Balla and the committee of the Athletic Club for their huge commitment. Peter Sarsfield, who is chairman of the Finance committee, is doing a great job too. It really is a great community effort by some very dedicated people.
“Since we developed the indoor facility, which is a community building and was part-funded by the South West Mayo Leader Company, clubs from around the province have been coming to train in Claremorris. We will now be able to host both indoor and outdoor competitions to the highest standard. It is a brilliant asset to the town and region.
“We expect work will commence on the new track within three to four weeks. It is an eight lane tartan track of international standard. The club members are very grateful to Michael Ring for his tremendous support in seeing this through. After several years of trying and numerous refusals by various administrations, perseverance finally won out. It is great news for Claremorris,” said Mr Ryan.