Limerick city originally had one athletic club catering for both senior and juvenile athletes.
It was based in the L.P.Y.M.A. ground beside St. Munchins Maternity Hospital on the Ennis Road. The growth of the city and the explosion of juvenile athletics after the formation of B.L.E. in 1967 led to the establishment of juvenile clubs in the different suburbs of the city such as Roxboro, Corbally, Janesboro and Dooneen.
Emerald AC was founded in 1973 as a juvenile club when Limerick AC decided to separate the juvenile and senior sections. The senior section retained the name Limerick AC and the juvenile section was Emerald AC.
At that time both seniors and juveniles still trained together at the L.P.Y.M.A grounds. Training would involve a warm-up or run around the edge of the grounds about 600m. There was also a 300m track where athletes would do sprints.
At that time club members would all pull a very large grass roller before practice to keep the surface flat. There was even a wooden clubhouse and changing room that unfortunately arsonists burned down. The older athletes and club members were Frank Lee, Neil Cusack, Nuala and Bill Logan, Tony Dwane, Freddie McInerney, the O’Shea's and the Storans were well established names in athletics in those days.
Over the years Emerald AC has coached many seriously talented athletes such as Frank O Mara (World indoor 3000m champion, Olympic runner), Gerard Hartmann (triathlete), Olive Burke (one time record holder : 100m hurdles), Mary Corbett (one time record holder javelin).
Emerald AC is today based at the University of Limerick and caters for athletes aged 8 to 25 and has some of best coaches in the country with a dual emphasis on enjoyment as well as success.
In recent years the club has had numerous national and international successes with its rising Junior stars that include Ciara Neville, Sarah Lavin, Amy O’Donoghue, Kyle Larkin, Jamie Mitchell, Roisin Harrison, Evan Crotty, Sean McCarthy and Jenna Bromell just to name a few.
Emerald AC has also had a number of successful relay teams at national level in recent years. Dedicated coaches Noelle Morrissey and Ger Lavin provide strong guidance and support.
The club also has a thriving middle to long distance training group in development with younger athletes starting to come through the ranks. It is already seeing success at Munster, National and International level under the guidance of coaches Ann O’Mara and Frank Hosey. There is a keen interest still taken in the club from a the world class athlete Frank O’Mara from his home in the USA.
The long term growth and success of Emerald AC depends on and bringing through and developing its younger athlete’s from age 8 upwards.
This foundation is the focus of Emerald AC dedicated underage coaches who focus on the having fun in athletics with our younger kids and at the same time providing the kids with the fundamentals of good running techniques. Limerick Abú.
This piece is with thanks to Emerald Chairperson James Prenderville.