This account is based on my own work and the contribution of several club members. Important contributors were Pat Murphy, Denis Looney, Pat Twomey, Colin O’Herlihy and Joe Murphy, but special credit must go to former club member and long-time chairman John Quigley, whose contribution went a long way towards recovering information on the club’s history which was lost in 2014 when the old website, created in 1999, was deleted in circumstances which are unclear. The old site had been full of news, photos, history, videos, and all was lost.
The Early Years
The club was originally known as the Eagle Track Club upon its foundation in the Autumn of 1982. The three founding members were Fred and Sheila Gilbert and Mick Clancy. As stated by Fred Gilbert in an article in ‘Marathon’ magazine in 1984, the sole function of the club was then about training under-age athletes for track and field and cross country. Fred had operated earlier as a well-known coach with the juvenile section of St. Finbarrs Athletic Club. While Eagle TC had adult members from the beginning, their main role lay in coaching the juniors and juveniles. The club was based in the CIT (now MTU) track every Tuesday and Thursday evenings just as we still do today (lockdown allowing).
The following account of the early years of the club is based on several sources, including interviews with Joe Murphy, Pat Murphy, an article written by club member Paddy Lenihan for a book published by club member Colm Murphy in 1993, as well as my own researches. Unfortunately, Paddy was not very explicit in giving exact dates in his article and it is clear that his account spans the period from circa 1985 to 1993, though several references are not dated. As we shall see, the three founders left the club in 1988 leaving it in the care of a number of adult members who had been there from the first few years. These would go on to give many years of service, at least of fifteen years or more duration, some of whom remain members to this very day, 35 years later. This core group, responsible for developing and growing the club over many years, consisted of Liam Doherty, Pat Murphy, Joe and Ann Murphy, Denis Hegarty, Paddy Hegarty, Noreen Lenihan and her father Paddy, Monica Twohig, Hugh McSweeney, Ted Twomey, and Fidelma Kirwan.