Limerick set to honour its Olympic trailblazers

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

THREE of Limerick’s former Olympians are likely to be recognised with popular trails around the city rechristened in their honour.

THREE of Limerick’s former Olympians are likely to be recognised with popular trails around the city rechristened in their honour.

Limerick looks set to be the first city out of the blocks with a proposal to celebrate its athletes this Olympic year. The proposed trails would honour Frank O’Mara, Mick O’Shea and Neil Cusack.

Speaking to members of the transport committee at City Hall, Kevin O’Connor, Limerick City of Sport, said the joint initiative with Limerick AC had the approval of the Olympic Council of Ireland.

“It ties in with the whole concept of healthy living and would be another tremendous boost to Limerick’s image as a city of sport,” said Mr O’Connor.

Frank O’Mara, a two-time world indoor champion and three-time Olympian, would have the 5.8km trail from the Old Canal Lock Gates to UL named in his honour. The 2.8km stretch from Shannon Bridge to Clonmacken Roundabout would be renamed the Neil Cusack Trail after the two-time Olympian and the only athlete to win both the Boston and Dublin marathons. And Michael O’Shea, who ran for Ireland in Moscow 1980, would have the 3.5km trail from Athlunkard Bridge to Grove Island named in his honour. Minor surfacing work is needed on the proposed O’Mara and O’Shea trails while signage was required on all three.

Cllr Diarmuid Scully expressed hope it might elevate athletics, which he described as a “cinderella sport” in Limerick given the dominance of rugby, GAA and soccer.

“It’s all well and good promoting positive and healthy lifestyles but to be able to say we have the infrastructure in place to facilitate walking and running is all the better,” said Cllr Joe Leddin.

The proposal, which members were told would not require a significant amount of funding, now goes before the full council for approval.