On your marks, get set, go! Front row, Kilmallock AC athletes Conor O’Dwyer, Nathan Hennessy, Sean Dwyer, Rebecca Casey; back row, coaches Martin Casey, Cllr PJ Carey; Olivia Hennessy and Tony McMahon
THE ROADS weren’t full of cars during lockdown but they were full of people out walking and running.
It was one of the few sports allowed during the 2km and then 5km radiuses. Many have continued to run and new members are welcomed by athletics clubs. One of those, Kilmallock AC has big plans for the future. Local councillor and chairperson, PJ Carey said the club was formed in 1957.
“It has had huge success down the years in both senior and junior level but never had a place of our own. Our coaches, Tony MacMahon and Nuala Collins, train our juvenile athletes at the track in St Joseph’s Foundation in Charleville and sometimes at Coláiste losaef, Kilmallock,” said Cllr Carey.
Decades ago there was a tennis club in Kilmallock at Millmount with four courts and a clubhouse.
“The courts had not been used in years and the clubhouse had fallen down. It was a bit of a wilderness. At our AGM two years ago it was suggested by our child welfare officer, Colin Kinnane, that we should look into the possibility of having our own place where along with Kilfinane AC and An Bru AC we could train our young athletes and store all of our equipment.
“I visited the courts to determine their suitability and to measure the area. It needed a lot of work but crucially was a perfect size for what we wanted. I approached the HSE, who own the ground, and with my sister Aisling, club secretary, worked on submitting a proposal for a contract, consisting of a lease, insurance issues and other details.
“The HSE agreed, partly because of the health benefits to the children, to rent us the vacant ground and allow us to develop the facility. Our plans included a 200 metre track, 60 metre hurdles, long jump, shot putt, javelin areas and toilets,” said Cllr Carey.
The next hurdle to clear was getting the money to fund it.
“As we have never received any funding whatsoever, we decided to enter our president PJ “Dasher” Cronin for the Mayor of Kilmallock - an initiative devised by Kilmallock Community Council. Dasher not only won but more importantly raised over €10,000 for the club and this enabled us to get to work.
“All the work so far has been done voluntarily by people like local contractors Bernard Clery, John Power, Clem McAuliffe, and local businesses and tradesmen who have supplied their services free of charge. Our own club members like Derek Sheehy, Mike Reynolds and Donnacha Enright have spearheaded the project,” said Cllr Carey, who adds that there is no indoor track in Limerick, meaning all clubs must go to Nenagh every year for the Counties.
“Kilmallock AC is an ambitious club and with the co-operation of other local clubs would love, one day, to build an indoor track,” he concludes.