A: Grange, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, Ireland | E: info@mullingarharriers.com

Week ending Saturday 3rd February


50th Anniversary of Mullingar Harriers draws near

Mullingar Harriers was founded at the first Annual General Meeting held in December 1975. The 49th Annual General Meeting was held last Friday evening in the Greville Arms Hotel. Given the current membership of well over 500, there should have been many more there, but it was still quite well attended, which shows the interest among members on how the Club is managed and organised on their behalf.

Chairperson, Margaret Daly opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and introduced the Secretary’s report by Greg Duggan and the Treasurer’s report by Joanna Tyrrell. These were followed by Margaret’s own Chairperson’s Address.

Among the highlights from the reports was International debuts in 2023 for Tianna O’Leary (at the SIAB Schools International Cross Country) and by Aimee Wallace (at the Mannheim Junioren International Gala), nine other members competed for Ireland, including Oisin Lane, Matthew Glennon, Andrew Glennon (European Racewalking Team Championships), Conor Sherwin (SIAB Schools International T&F), Sean McMullin (World Masters Indoors, European Masters T&F, and the British & Irish Masters International Cross Country), Aidan O’Donoghue (World Masters Indoors and European Masters T&F), Gerard Gavin and Eddie Newman (British & Irish Masters International Cross Country), Cormac Dalton (European Cross Country), and we got 2024 off to a great start as Jessica Cunningham made her International debut at the World Deaf Youth Games in Brazil. The Club was honoured by Westmeath Council with an Address of Recognition in October for the exceptional achievement of 25 members representing Ireland, some more than once, between 2020, just as the Covid-19 pandemic was hitting Ireland and we were subject to restrictions on training and competition, up to October 2023. Margaret Daly accepted the Address on behalf of the Club, which was presented by Cllr. John Shaw, the Mayor of the Municipal District of Mullingar-Kinnegad.

Like most Clubs in Ireland, our membership increased last year and interest in joining again this year is very strong, so the foundations in Mullingar Harriers are good. However, the Club continues to face challenges in managing the increase in membership but the lack of interest in competing in events, particularly among the younger ages is a big concern. We now have excellent training facilities at the Club Grounds and a renewed call was made for more help for coaches, particularly with the younger underage members that train at the 6pm sessions.

Club activities and competitions returned to normal in 2023 and we had full indoor, outdoor and cross country seasons, and there were plenty of road races too, both casual and Championships, including all the Leinster and National Road Championships on the fixture list, with a big number of individual and team medals won. In racewalking, Oisin Lane, Matthew Glennon and Andrew Glennon made up half of the 6 member Irish team at the European Racewalking Team Championships, in Podebrady, Czech Republic in May.

In track and field, both indoor and outdoor, from juveniles to seniors to masters, Mullingar had athletes competing in every Leinster and National T&F competition, and in every university and most school championships too. We also saw some of our master members competing at European and World Masters. It was a similar case in cross country and Mullingar athletes competed in every Leinster and National cross country event, and in universities and schools.

A very noteworthy cross country success came in the Leinster Senior Cross Country in Dunboyne in November when Vinny Connolly won the senior men race and led the senior men to the Club team title. Over the years, Mullingar has won, at different times, all the girls and women Leinster Cross Country Club titles from under 11 to Senior women and all the boys and men titles from under 11 to Intermediate men, but never the Senior men Club title, until Dunboyne. This was the making of a nice bit of memorable Club history and we can now boast of having won every Leinster Cross Country Club title in the book, which is a nice achievement as the Club approaches its fiftieth anniversary in 2025. That same day, Claire Fagan dominated the senior women race to win, leading the senior women team to second place. However, the real icing on the cake in cross country in 2023 has to be Cormac Dalton placing eighth in the European Cross Country in Belgium last December.

The following were elected as officers and committee members for the coming year: Seamus Gibney (President), John Mulvihill (Vice-President), Margaret Daly (Chair), Catriona Duffy (Vice-Chair), Joanna Tyrrell (Treasurer), Patrick Muldoon (Secretary, Ciara Dillon (Assistant Secretary), Greg Duggan (PRO coordinator), Tom Wallace (Juvenile Training Officer), Tom McGrath (Minute Secretary), Pauline Quinn, Margaret Daly and Greg Duggan (Child Officers), Cormac Finnerty, Pat Muldoon Senior, Vera McCool and John Shaw (Trustees). The officers and trustees are automatically on the new committee, as are Life Vice-presidents including Cormac Finnerty, Martin Fagan, Bobbie Begley, Christy Creagh and Mark Christie, and will be joined by Vinny Connolly, Declan Costello, Linda Cunningham, Amanda Dalton, Sean Liston, Aine O’Reilly and Alan Sherwin, who were elected to the committee, and by Club Captains Sinead Whitelaw and Ian McCormack who were also elected.

Several important issues were discussed and debated with plenty of lively contributions from those in attendance. Concluding the meeting, Margaret Daly thanked all present for their attendance and input, closed a successful AGM and invited everyone to stay for the light refreshments that were served after the meeting, which gave everyone a nice chance to stay and chat for a while.

Membership for younger members is now closed

The training groups for girls and boys 8, 9, 10 and 11 years of age are now full and membership is closed. We had a very big attendance last Saturday morning for the open registration day for these ages and many thanks to everyone that helped make the registration session run as smooth as possible. We had more interest than expected, so we’re asking those that might be disappointed to please respect the fact that we have now closed membership for these younger age groups.

Renewal of membership for 2024

Membership fees for 2024 are now due and thanks to everyone that has paid already. You can pay online though the Club’s website or any evening at training if more convenient. It’s important to renew, so you are insured to train at the Club and of course to enter the many indoor and road events coming up.

February Committee Meeting

Finally, the first meeting of the new committee elected at the AGM last week will take place next Tuesday 6th February in the Club house at 8.30pm after training. As this is the first meeting of the new committee, a full attendance is required.

Check the Club’s website at www.mullingarharriers.com or its Facebook page for all the latest news.