On Saturday Nov 12th I joined a sizable group of fellow Eagles (I lost count but close on 20 members) for our club outing to the beautiful village of Eyeries in the bowels of West Cork. Our fellow club member Mark Gallagher is instrumental in organising this race. The proceeds of this year’s race benefited a fantastic local charity initiative called Cancer Connect. This is a non-profit organisation run by local volunteers that co-ordinates transport to and from Cork Hospitals for patients from the most rural areas of West Cork in order that they can avail of Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy services in the specialised treatment centres in the Cork Hospitals. This is a free service for these patients which as you can imagine benefits so many cancer sufferers and their families in the region.
Eyeries, for those of you who may not have had the pleasure of having visited before, has to be the most picturesque village on the Beara Peninsula overlooking Coulagh Bay and the mouth of the Kenmare River. The views over the bay are truly breathtaking and I had the pleasure of been given a brief geography lesson and whistle stop tour of the village by Kevin Sievewright The bulk of us traveled down from Cork by bus (kindly organised by the club) having met in Bishopstown at 10:30 on the morning of the race.The race start was 2:30 which gave us a comfortable amount of time to travel down and take in some of the sights locally and get organised for the race. The bus trip was a great opportunity for many of us to get to meet and chat with other Eagle members who perhaps otherwise we only get to salute briefly at the track on training nights. From the moment we departed Bishopstown it was a most memorable day. Pat Murphy diligently took a roll call and off we set. The weather for the day couldn’t have been better as we were treated to (almost) clear blue skies with the lightest of breezes making for very pleasant running conditions.
We arrived in Eyeries at approximately 1 o clock to be warmly welcomed by Mark, Kevin, and Austin ably assisted by their kids. The hospitality we were shown was absolutely humbling.The organisers couldn’t do enough for us from the moment we registered. Mark handed out all our race numbers and we were directed to the most unique of race HQs. It is difficult to describe this venue other than to say I think the race HQs doubled as the local town hall/Céilí Hall which was like stepping back in time 50 years is all I can say! After some brief chat and friendly banter a Tour de Force of Eagles were taken on a pre-race warm up run by the ever efficient Kevin Sievewright for some more local sight-seeing before we lined up for the start of the race. The young and not so young were all represented on the start line and with the hoot of the horn we all set off on the 5 mile route around Eyeries. A testing course in that if one had not done one’s homework like yours truly you could easily be found wanting by mile 4 when some fairly challenging climbs appear before you! But there was a lovely descent back into the village and finish line for the last mile to help you get your breath back!
Following the race we all retired to race HQ to be treated to top drawer hospitality from the locals of Eyeries. The tea, sandwiches and cakes were flying and they fed an army of us. All I can say about the prize giving is that there were a lot of Eagles featuring in the prizes which had the locals very impressed! From there we retired to O Shea’s pub which was a hop, skip and a jump across the road where we enjoyed a quiet one or two drinks, reflected on all our endeavours that day and rather surprisingly were treated to an Ireland soccer victory against Austria! What a perfect day! Final whistle went from Vienna and like sheep Joe and Pat shepherded us carefully back on the bus back to Cork.
Finally, a special thanks to a few people. To the club committee for having organised this trip. It was my first experience of an Eagle away trip and a great day out. Eyeries is the most beautiful of villages and the people the most friendly and hospitable that you could meet. Pat Twomey and Pat Murphy for all the logistics of the day well done guys. A final thanks to the man without whom this trip would not have been possible, Mark Gallagher. To witness the work that Mark and his team put into yesterday’s event was humbling and to know that it benefited a very worthy local charity made it a privilege to have been part of . On behalf of all the Eagles who made the trip to Eyeries It was a pleasure to have been part of a very special event like yesterday’s and I hope the club can make this an annual trip away as I suspect you will have many Eagles looking forward to this trip on their race calendar for 2017!
2 0:29:20 FOLEY, Vivian Eagle AC M45 492 – 2nd Home
6 0:30:40 O’KEEFFE, Derek Eagle AC M40 486 – 1st M40
8 0:32:40 O’HERLIHY, Colin Eagle AC M45 420 – 3rd M45
10 0:33:02 DOWLING, Donal Eagle AC M40 491- 2nd M40
12 0:33:10 SMITH, Tim Eagle AC M55 484 – 1st M55
13 0:33:24 SIEVEWRIGHT, Kevin Eagle AC M50 416 – 1st M50
21 0:34:39 O’CARROLL, Denis Eagle AC M55 494 – 2nd M55
22 0:34:40 FOLEY, Colin Eagle AC MS 482
26 0:35:47 GALLAGHER, Mark Eagle AC M40 255
28 0:36:00 MURPHY, Joe Eagle AC M60 493 – 1st M60
29 0:36:08 O’CALLAGHAN, David Eagle AC M55 1333 – 3rd M55
30 0:36:15 LEHANE, Finbarr Eagle AC M45 485
32 0:36:21 DUNPHY, John Eagle AC M45 488
38 0:36:57 GUINANE, Elaine Eagle AC F35 483 – 3rd Lady home
39 0:37:08 MCGRATH, Grellan Eagle AC M50 487
43 0:38:13 COTTER, Maeve Eagle AC F35 199 – 2nd F35
45 0:38:23 BEVAN, Karen Eagle AC F35 455 – 3rd F35
50 0:38:57 TRINDLE, Eddie Eagle AC M40 490
51 0:39:10 KIRWAN, Ita Eagle AC F45 1291- 1st F45
72 0:43:08 LEHANE, Niamh Eagle AC F40 448 – 2nd F40
74 0:43:11 MURPHY, Siobhan Eagle AC F35 481
82 0:43:58 MERRITT, Tony Eagle AC M50 489
109 0:47:43 LANE, Anthony Eagle AC MS 1307