Apr 13

Harry Greensmyth 061

Reporter:

Harry Greensmyth 061

The Parents Association of Knockea National School: are holding a Table Quiz at Reas “The Stroller” Ballyneety on Thursday 18th April at 9pm. Tables of four 20euro. All are welcome.

The Parents Association of Knockea National School: are holding a Table Quiz at Reas “The Stroller” Ballyneety on Thursday 18th April at 9pm. Tables of four 20euro. All are welcome.

LIFETIME ATHLETE: A recent visitor to his home place was Noel Spellacy. Noel is now retired in Hove near Brighton but his love and dedication to athletics is still as strong when he first began his athletic career back in the 1960s. In those early years he competed as well as organising events throughout the county. He well remembers Eamonn Grimes win a national title in Croom and his brother Larry doing the same in Paddy Moloney’s field in Lickadoon. His earliest recollection was a cross country in the mid 1950s on Moynihan’s and Kirby’s fields in Raheen. This event was organised by the Ballyneety P.C. and Noel took part but he does not remember who won over stone walls and hedges of the course.

He became secretary of the Limerick county board of the N.A.C.A. in 1965 and his fellow officers at the time were – Patron, Most Rev. Dr. Murphy, Bishop of Limerick – President, Fr. Denis Browne, Granagh - Chairman, John Murphy – Vice chair, William Power, Hillcrest A.C. Secretary, Noel Spellacy – Registrar, Tommy Cleary, Limerick A.C. –Joint starters, Tom Cleary and Tom Walsh – Recorders, J.A. Murphy and B. Power – referees, Fr. Browne and T. Bourke.

Noel was a member of Hillcrest A.C. with whom he won 136 prizes including 15 Limerick championships, these in events beside the 440 and half mile which he specialised in. He proudly captured novice cross country – 1st in Munster 440 in 1964 – bronze in senior 500 – 3rd in Irish junior hurdles in 1966 – 3rd in Irish junior 1964 equalling the existing Irish record – 2nd in Irish junior relay in 1965. These are only some of his national awards and add on the numerous first places won a local sports meetings to recognise the greatness of the Ballysheedy athlete. Perhaps his ever lasting memory was in reaching the senior Tailteann Games against Noel Carroll and company.

In 1967 who was a member of the Central Council of the N.A.C.A.I. welcomed the decision to form a new body to promote athletics with Bord Luithecleas na hEireann ending the split in Irish athletics which had persisted for 30 years.

Noel continues to enjoy his favourite sport and from his home in Hove he is involved in athletics as he travels far and wide to promote the sport.