WATCH: On this day in 1979 John Treacy retains World Cross-Country title in Limerick

Colm Kinsella


Colm Kinsella


ON this day 41 years ago, March 25, 1979, Ireland athletics star, John Treacy won the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Cross Country Championships at Greenpark Racecourse in Limerick city.

This was the second year running that Treacy had won the title, having taken gold in Glasgow in 1978.

Despite the poor weather, thousands came out to support Treacy in his attempt to retain the title for Ireland for a second successive year.

Running conditions were difficult as the ground was wet and muddy but Treacy’s determination took him across the line ahead of the pack.

As he edged closer to the finish, a wildly encroaching crowd forced Treacy to run further and further away from the ropes in an attempt to elude the reaching arms of the his ecstatic country men.

Immediately after the event, double world champion Treacy told the Limerick Leader: "The crowd was great encouragement, but it was a little scary coming towards the end as I thought I would be trod on.

Inspired by Danny McDaid, who finished in 10th place, Ireland also came second in the team event in 1979. The Ireland team featured Limerick's Mick O'Shea, while local junior Paul Moloney finished in 20th spot in his race.

Commentary of the event is provided by Brendan O’Reilly