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Dunshaughlin Athletic Club : About Us (Page 2)

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About Dunshaughlin Athletic Club

Around 1963 a group of local footballer’s reformed the club in order to keep fit in the winter time when there was no football. Kit Gannon was one of the inspirations behind this and with lads like Niall O’Riordan, Tommy Troy, Paddy O’Dwyer, Joe Rattigan,Johnny Reilly, Jimmy O’Rourke, Jimmy,Tony and Michael Walsh the club won the the Meath Junior cross country title in 1963 in which 17 year old Des McGann took the individual honours in the blue and white colours of Kilmessan. However these lads first love was GAA and the club had a relatively short but enjoyable period.

In the intervening years many local men continued running, including Tommy Hetherington, who had come from Castletown, and was a very fine sprinter. His son Paul continued the family tradition winning many NACA sprint titles with Navan in the 70’s and 80’s and now his kids Niamh, Jack and Tara are just some of the new era of sprinters in the club. Local man Martin Kelly was an excellent 400 metres runner in the Fanahan McSweeney era (early 1970’s) and his daughter Grainne and sons Shane and Niall carried on the family trait before concentrating on football.

The present Athletic club was formed in 1979 under BLE rules by 6 teenagers at the time – Willie McLoughlin, Mick Manning (R.I.P.) Tommy (R.I.P.) and Harry Clusker, Domo Moran and Paddy Mangan. These lads had competed previously with Ratoath for about 7 years under the excellent guidance of Tommy Boshell.

The early years were lean enough but the club was fortunate to have a group of very talented underage athletes like Niall Foley, Tommy Maher, Alan Fahy, Andrew Toole, Robbie Keane, Paul O’Rourke, Stephen Clair, Declan Troy and Ciaran Byrne to name but a few. Alan Fahy was an outstanding all rounder and his highlight was a silver medal in the 1500 metres steeplechase in 4.26 at the FISEC Games in Vienna in1987. Ciaran Byrne was another versatile athlete winning Leinster Gold’s at long Jump, High Jump and 400metres within one hour in June 1987.

A squad of Foley,Fahy,Clair,O’Rourke and Dermot Kealy won the Leinster and finished 6th in the National cross country championships in 1985.Foley ran 3.59 for 1500m at 15 years of age while Troy went on to run times of 3.52 and 14.35 for 1500m and 5000m respectively.

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