Eagle athletes win 5 medals at 2018 National Masters Indoor T&F Chmpionships


Hugh McSweeney and Ken Higgs represented the club at the National Masters Indoor Championships on Saturday March 10th 2018. An action packed day at the magnificent AIT Indoor Arena began with Hugh winning the silver medal in the M70 long jump followed very quickly with a bronze medal in the 60m dash (which was won by another Cork athlete Brendan Dennehy of Rising Sun AC).

Hugh bronze 60m-620pix

Hugh McSweeney (L) getting a bronze medal for 60m in the M70 category ,with Brendan Dennehy (Rising Sun AC) getting gold.

My first race was the M65 800m, where I faced daunting opposition from the legendary Joe Gough (who recently broke the world record for the distance) and Martin McEvilly (the National Masters M65 cross country champion). Joe won the gold with ease but surprisingly I found a kick coming down the home straight to win the silver medal in a PB time of 2.43.

Ken in 800m-620pix

Ken Higgs crossing the line to get the silver medal in the M65 800m with Martin McEvilly of Galway City Harriers AC finishing third to take the bronze.

The M65 400m race followed shortly after and I benefited from some pre-race tactical advice from Hugh, a former European Masters Indoor 400m medalist. So holding back on the first lap I finish strongly to get the silver medal on the dip (again in a PB time of 1.09.).

Ken and Joe Gough 2-620pix

Ken Higgs (R) with a silver medal alongside Joe Gough of West Waterford AC (gold) for the M65 400m.

Hugh completed the silver medal haul with a strong run in the M70 200m pushing the winner John McDermott of Sligo AC all the way to the line.

Hugh silver 200m-620pix

Hugh McSweeney (L) with his silver medal for the 200m, along side John McDermott of Sligo AC (gold) and Earl Taylor of Mid Ulster AC (bronze)

At this point everything had gone really well, which brings me to the last race on the track the M65 1500m. It was late in the afternoon, the head and the legs were tired and no longer on the same page. The plan was to hang back and hope for a surge over the last lap, however the reality was quite different. Somehow I found myself leading lead the race for the first six laps only to blow up on the last lap to finish fourth.

Despite this setback, the Masters indoor track and field meeting had been a wonderful experience. It was really great to compete but it was also great to see the wide diversity of events and the high quality of performances across the Masters age categories. During the day I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Kiely, a former Eagle member from the early days of the club. A very fine runner who still competes on the track and wins medals in the M70 category. Overall it had been a very enjoyable and successful day at the races and I thoroughly recommend the indoor track to all our club members.

Big turnout for the club talk on Wed 8th Nov!


The club had a large turnout of about 30 members for our two part talk and workshop in Cork City on Wednesday the 8th of November.

The evening started off with a very informative talk by Jennifer O’Callaghan about nutrition specific to endurance running. With the high physical demands of training and racing, there was plenty of good advice from Jennifer for members to take on board.


After a short break for tea & coffee, the second part of the evening was a practical demonstration of Strength & Conditioning for endurance runners by Kieran McKeown and Aoife Cooke.


Strength and Conditioning is probably one aspect of training that a lot of runners neglect and our brief to Kieran was to come up with a simple programme that our members could do at home without any specialised equipment.


With due credit to Kieran and Aoife, they came up a well prepared graphical programme which was demonstrated on the night and which has been sent out to all those who took part.


Our thanks to Jennifer, Kieran and Aoife for a very informative evening. We hope to hold some more talks in the Spring of 2018.

Eagle AC trip to Eyeries 5mile race…Sat 11th Nov 2017

Eyeries-5-Mile-2017-advert-250pix-highThe Eyeries 5 mile road race takes place on Saturday 11th November 2017 at 2.30pm and Eagle AC are organising a coach to take us to the race.

Last year over 20 ‘Eagles’ travelled to Eyeries and a fantastic time was had by all (see report by Vivian Foley here). The coach will leave the Viscount Bar in Bishopstown at 10.15am.. and will arrive in Eyeries in plenty of time for the start of the race.

Following the race there will be ample time for something to eat and some light refreshments before we settle down to watch the Ireland vs Denmark soccer match and then we will depart Eyeries by coach at 10.00pm arriving back at the Viscount Bar for approximately 12.30am.

Travel arrangements are also available for those not interested in the match and wishing to return earlier.

One of the main organisers of the Eyeries 5 mile race is our own Mark Gallagher and he assures us that a great day will be had by all in this most beautiful, wild and picturesque village located on the Beara peninsula. The cost for Eagle AC members is just €10 and this will include the race entry, bus, match tickets and even some light refreshments after the race.

To book your seat please contact Pat Twomey at ptwomey152 AT gmail DOT com before October 31st.

As places will be limited please book your seat early!!

More info on the race HERE


Member Profile : Ber Lee


Name: Ber Lee

Member of Eagle AC since: 2015

How long have you been running what made you take it up: I started running in 2012 because I decided to go back to work full time and I needed an activity flexible enough to fit in with that plan.

Favourite thing about running: I love the fact that you can run anytime and anywhere. All you need is a good pair of runners.

Favourite race distance to run: 5K. Short & Sweet 😉

What is your main goal for this year: To get stronger and faster.

Your best race/most memorable racing moment to date: This year I took part in the relay event in the Cork City Marathon and I loved every second of it. The atmosphere was fantastic both on and off the course with support coming from everywhere. I didn’t want it to end. To anyone who hasn’t yet tried the relay, it’s a great way to be part of a fantastic event if you’re not quite ready for the half or full.

Tell us something most people might not know about you: I was once a competitive Irish dancer.

Biggest heroes (sporting or non-sporting): Mo Farah. I just love to watch him race.

One bit of advice you would give to someone thinking of taking up running: Run with a friend. You’ll keep showing up and before you know it kilometers will turn to miles. Also start building your core strength , the stronger your core the less likely you are to get injured.

Other hobbies outside of running: Going to the Gym .

3 things you would take with you onto a desert island: That’s easy. My Husband and 2 kids.

Race report on the 2017 Berlin Marathon…by Donal Dowling

Berlin 2017 – The graft, elation and leaving thoughts of where is the End Game! …by Donal Dowling


As I sat last Saturday morning in the hotel lobby waiting for fellow Eagle Ronan Boland to go for a jog, I opened a magazine which was lying on the table and as I flicked through it I came across a nice quote from a famous Surfer Maya Gabeira who set the world record in 2009 for surfing the biggest ever wave by a female athletic. It went “Not cracking under pressure is the most essential thing in Sport. When the time comes, pressure can’t stop you; instead it makes you rise above what you thought possible”.

Continue reading

Alan O’Brien runs 2:28 marathon in Berlin



Well done to club member Alan O’Brien who broke 2h 30m for the first time in the Berlin Marathon last Sunday! His time of 2h 28m 46s was the 5th fastest Irish performance in the German capital on the day.

Alan’s previous best was 2h 33m 31s in Dublin in 2016 so his Berlin time is almost a 5-minute improvement!


Alan was just part of a strong Eagle AC team that traveled to Berlin for the race with no fewer than 5 going sub 2h 50m.

Place number Name ac club Finish
100 33296 O’Brien, Alan (IRL) M35 Eagle AC 02:28:46
299 19439 Foley, Vivien (IRL) M45 Eagle AC 02:39:03
426 13920 Boland, Ronan (IRL) M50 Eagle AC 02:42:47
511 33469 O’Keefe, Sean (IRL) M40 Eagle AC 02:45:12
683 23274 Hill, Frank (IRL) M50 Eagle AC 02:48:55
2449 17655 Dowling, Donal (IRL) M40 Eagle AC 03:07:57
3841 37233 Ryan, Michael (IRL) M50 Eagle AC 03:17:55

As can be seen from the photo below, quite a number of runners from Cork were in Berlin for this marathon.


The day before the big race. Photo credit : Lisa Boland

Niamh McCarthy selected for Irish team for IPC Athletics European Championships


It was announced earlier today that club member Niamh McCarthy will be part of an Irish team of nine selected to take part in the Para-Athletics European Championships which will take place in Grosseto, Italy from June 10th to June 17th.

Irish Team for 2016 IPC Athletics European Championships:

Noelle Lenihan (Charleville, Co. Cork), F38 class. Event: Discus F37/38
Orla Barry (Ladysbridge, Co. Cork), F57 class. Event: Discus F57/58
Niamh McCarthy (Carrigaline, Co. Cork), F41 class. Event: Discus F40/41
Greta Streimikyte (Swords, Co. Dublin), T13 class. Event: 1500m T12/13
Deirdre Mongan (originally from Milltown, Co. Galway now living in Newcastle, Co. Down), F53 class. Event: Shot put F53/54
Paul Keogan T37 class. Event: 400m T37
Lorraine Regan (Kilcormac, Co. Offaly), F56 class. Event: Javelin F55/56
Conor McIlveen (Derry, Co. Derry), F38 class. Events: 800m T37/38 and the 1,500m T37/38
Heather Jameson (Garristown, Co. Dublin), F37 class. Event: Long Jump F37

Niamh who is from Carrigaline in Cork competes in the F41 Discus category and won a bronze medal at the 2015 IPC World Championships in Doha.


Report on the 2015 Liverpool Half-Marathon…by Denis Looney

DenisAccidental tourists or the Liverpool Half Marathon Race report…by Denis Looney

Three Eagles, Elaine Guinane, Ruari O’Callaghan and Denis Looney traveled to Liverpool on Saturday March 28 for the city’s half marathon on the following day. Elaine brought her better half Javier along for the experience and because he had visited Liverpool a few times in the past. We arrived in a very windy Liverpool on Saturday morning. Ruari, whose brother Liam lives in Liverpool and thus has knowledge of the city, was a bit concerned as the last 4 miles of the race were on the promenade and into this wind.

We checked into our hotel and walked the 1K to the start/finish area. Not much to see of the race on Saturday but it’s right in the heart of Liverpool docks with museums, the Liverpool Arena, the Tate and Liver building. Apparently it’s a World Heritage site, so we soaked up a bit of culture for the afternoon.

On Sunday morning we awoke to a grey wet day. Lots of surface water but the cold was just bearable and yahoo, no wind 🙂 . Elaine and I went to the start a bit early as my number hadn’t arrived in the post. The rain was persistent but not heavy, however it was now beginning to feel cold, about 8 degrees. In fairness the race started almost bang on time, with myself and Elaine in position between the 1.30 and 1.40 pacers saying we’d settle for 1.35. Ruari was up ahead with the elites as he was targeting sub 1.25. The starting chute was narrow but that meant we were running at race pace right after crossing the start line.


1st mile for the 5,000 competitors was flat on a wide city street. The biggest climb of the day was over a 400m stretch just after the 1 mile mark. Then it was a slight downhill to mile 2 through residential areas with a slight climb at mile 3 into Sefton Park (a much bigger version of Beaumont Park where the BHAA XC takes place). Miles 4 to 7 took us through Sefton Park, on fairly flat tarmac roads. Between mile 6 and 6.5 we had an out and back view of slower runners entering the park at their mile 4. Just before mile 8 we went through a pedestrian underpass and emerged in another area of covered parkland called Otterspool. The tarmac paths were a bit broken up but other than a few pools of standing water and mud from the persistent rain, no major issues.


Just before the 9 mile mark we had a slight climb before hitting the 4 mile promenade section running north west with the Mersey on our left hand side. It was here you could truly appreciate how a wind off the Mersey (it’s a big piece of water at this point 🙂 ) could play havoc with your pace. From mile 9 to 10 it was dead flat and dead straight. From mile 10 to the finish it was still flat but we had a series of 90 degree turns as the promenade snaked in and out (right, left, left, right) which could break any rhythm you might have going. Over mile 11 and 12 the surface changed to man-made paving slabs and cobblestone (all very new but not the best road racing surface). You also had to contend with decorative obstacles (viewing seats, ships mooring bollards, 20 foot decorative anchors) all handily marked with barber tape. After the 11 mile mark we were back on the Marina, through a small business park, past the Liverpool arena and onto a cobbled section for the last mile or so.

Elaien & Denis at Lime St. Station

Elaien & Denis at Lime St. Station

Given the weather there were decent crowds at the finish and at the major junctions. Well stocked and manned water stations at mile 3, 6, 9 and 12, a medal and good quality dri-fit. Plus I finished well enough up the field to not have to queue for the free massage afterwards. Times – Ruari 68th overall, 1:21.28. Elaine 4th F35, 22nd lady home 1:31:29, me 1:31:52. PBs all round. Ruari’s brother Liam, in only his second race ever, a very impressive 1:38:51, must be in the genes. Perhaps we should set up a Liverpool branch of Eagle AC.

Ruairi at one of Liverpool's most famous roads

Ruairi at one of Liverpool’s most famous roads

If you want to see the conditions, overhead and underfoot, the organisers have a clip on YouTube. Elaine makes an appearance in the Eagle colours around 1:35 to 1:40 on the LHS.

So why have the words Accidental tourists in the title. Well, after the race we were sitting in a city centre restaurant at 12.30 having lunch before departing for Liverpool airport. The gloss was taken off our excellent morning’s running when we got a text from Ireland’s largest airline telling us our 3 pm flight was cancelled. Turns out the high winds in Cork meant the plane never came across that morning. Phones out and Wi-Fi on.

Elaine & Ruairi during the race

Elaine & Ruairi during the race

Next flight we could get from Liverpool with Ireland largest airline was 6 days later. Yeah, right.
Change of tactics. I got a flight back that night and Elaine and Javier decided to extend their stay to the following morning. (Ruari was already coming back the following day). Problem was we had to make a quick dash to Manchester Airport by train for the flights home. So we saw a lot of North Western England by foot, taxi, train and plane in the space of 30 hours……………….

Would I go back again? Sure thing, if (for multiple reasons) I could be guaranteed that there would be no wind on either side of the Irish Sea.


Official results and three PB’s to boot from the 2015 Liverpool Half-Marathon…
ELAINE GUINANE Female F35+ 4 EAGLE AC 1:31:29
DENIS LOONEY Male M45+ 29 EAGLE AC 1:31:52

24thDec…Club Christmas Run

The club held its annual Christmas run on the 24th of December on what was a cold but sunny morning. As in previous years, the run tied in with Grellan McGrath’s run where he runs his age in miles on his birthday…only 49 miles this time!

Proceedings got under way at 4am in Ballincollig with Denis Looney and Alan Foley joining Grellan for the first two hours. Tim McCarthy and Sandra Manning then joined him at 7:45 for the long run into the city to meet the main club run starting at 9am.


Most club members then proceeded to run down the Marina into Blackrock and along the walkway in Mahon.


Some did the 5.9 mile loop while others joined Grellan on the run back in towards the city and turning back at various points along the way. A few continued on as far as Ballincollig and the end of the 49 mile run for Grellan…with an average pace of about 8:50 minutes per mile!


Grellan McGrath in blue after the completion of his 49 mile run

It’s probably safe to say that we’ll see a few more long runs from Grellan in 2015 ;o)

24th Nov…History of Eagle AC…Pre 1993

LookingBack25yeaysOfTheBLEThe following article appeared in the book titled…’Looking Back…25 Years of the BLE in Cork. The book was written and edited by Colm Murphy and was published ~ 1993. Several clubs submitted articles which gave an outline of the history of their own respective club. The article below was written by Paddy Lenihan.

Eagle AC by Paddy Linehan
Among the youngest of the clubs in the county, Eagle Track Club, as it was originally known, was the brainchild of Fred Gilbert. Fred was formally a well known coach with the juvenile section of St Finbarr’s Athletic Club. Eagle Track came into being at the start of the 1982/83 cross country season and since then the club has provided the Cork area with many a fine athlete.

Eagle were formed to cater for juveniles initially. In a 1984 interview for ‘Marathon’ magazine, he outlined the aims and ideals of the club were ‘to cater for Juvenile athletics and prepare them for the area of Senior athletics. In our minds any victories for our Juveniles are a victory for our aims.’

Among the better known names in the early years of the club were Tony Gilbert, a middle distance runner who won a scholarship to the University of Lowell near Boston and Fidelma Kirwan, a Celtic and schools’ 400 metres hurdles international. Tony’s brother, Declan, followed him on athletic scholarship to Lowell and a third runner to secure a similar crossing of Atlantic to America was Tony O’ Gorman who went to Minnesota.

In its very first year, Eagle Track competed in the Omega League Division ‘B’and at junior level, there was a fourth place for Declan Gilbert in the national under-16 steeplechase and gold for Fidelma Kirwan in the girls under -17 four hundred metre hurdles and a silver in the 200 metres. Over the years the successes have accumulated with athletes securing National medals in the throws, jumps, walks, sprints and middle distance events.

County League Trophy 1985. L-R...Noreen Linehan, Helen Linehan, Fidelma Kirwan, Clodagh Linehan & Kathy Linehan

County League Trophy 1985. L-R…Noreen Linehan, Helen Linehan, Fidelma Kirwan, Clodagh Linehan & Kathy Linehan

Much of this success is due to the skilful coaching at the club; from its early years there was Fred Gilbert and Mick Clancy. Since then the coaches in the club have included Mick Sheehan, Denis Ahern Donal Cronin, Paddy Linehan, Colm Murphy, Liam Doherty, Pat Harrington and Catherine Murphy. Paddy Linehan is of course well known for his expertise in the throws as is Colm Murphy, a former National throws coach and currently the National triple coach.

Sprinting at the club was at a high standard for many a year – under the care of Denis Ahearn. The quartet of Donal Cronin, John Corr, Mark Smyth and Gary Ahern were among the best squad in the country and indeed proved this at Provincial and national level.
Over the years, many a successful thrower has donned the club singlet. The three Linehan sisters – Noreen, Helen and Kathy accumulated many a County, Regional and National medal with Noreen among the pioneers of women’s hammer throwing in Ireland. This past summer, she secured an international ‘ cap’ as Ireland were represented internationally in this event for the first time.
Pat O Leary was yet another very capable thrower. Specialising in the shot putt, he was a regular over the 13 metre mark. He was also quite an exponent with the 56 pound weight. Paul Lynch and Seamus Manning were both 40 metre plus hammer throwers and Kieran Stack, when not steeple chasing, proved a very able javelin thrower.

Currently the club boasts of several first rate weight throwers; at Senior level, there is Johnathan McSweeney in the shot, Tim O Herlihy in the discus, Martin O Sullivan and Noreen Linehan in the hammer and Colm Murphy who is making a comeback after a lay off of a decade. All are under the guidance of Paddy Linehan.

On the track Fidelma Kirwan remains one of the top 400 metre hurdlers in the country and Anne-Marie Healy has made great progress in her training over the past winter. At longer distances national medals have been won at a number of distances up to and including the marathon and such as Joe Murphy, Eddie Noonan, Denis Hegarty, Pat Murphy and Tommy Ryan have ensured that the club’s name is never far from the final placings.

Many of the latter have taken a great interest in mountain running and indeed the club is very active promoting this activity in the Munster area. Besides organising the Munster Championships, Eagle Athletic club also provide the majority of medal winners at regional and national level.

The juvenile level of the club boasts of many exciting prospects and the care that Donal Cronin, Liam Doherty, Pat Harrington and Paddy Lenehan have of their charges speaks well of the club as a whole. Susan O Rourke and Ciaran Foley are among those youngsters to benefit.

Hughie McSweeney & Mickie Kiely

Hughie McSweeney & Mickie Kiely

The veterans section of the club is strong and household names as Michael Kiely and Hughie McSweeney compete in the club singlet. Both are national champions of course and have competed successfully abroad. The two have secured medals at the last World Veterans’ Indoor Championships at Budapest, Hungary in 1991 with Michael taking a double gold and silver and Hughie taking two bronzes. The club is growing in numbers in this area and names for the future include Joe Murphy, Ted Twomey, Catherine Murphy and Ebhena Finnegan.

As a finale, mention must be made of the two main promotions of the club. In March annually, the ‘Carrigaline 5’ is run off with all the main athletes in the county and beyond taking part. This ranks among the few athletic promotions in the town. Last August, the club organised the first ever throwers only meeting. All the usual throwing events – to include the hammer and 56 programme. The sports was well supported and all the top throwers in the country were in Cork for the evening’s activities with Mick Sweeney throwing a new all-comers Irish discus record of 60.38 metres and for good measure had also the furthest mark for the 56 for distance for many a year – 8.48 metres.

At County Board and Southern Region level, the club has provided many an official. Paddy Linehan was active on the County BLOE Board and presently Colm Murphy and Catherine Murphy are BLE County Board PRO and Secretary respectively. Colm is also the National Triple Jump Coach and all three are very active as officials at meetings up and down the length and breadth of Ireland.
A very active club – both in active participation and indeed in the promotion of athletics.

Addendum : Fidelma Kirwan’s best time in the 400m hurdles of 61.10 seconds was set in 1985. When checked on the 24th of Nov 2014, she is still listed as #36 on the Irish All time list for the 400m hurdles.