2008 began with an early start on the Furze road organizing ourselves for the Tom Brennan 5km road race on January 1st. Unlike other years the weather was kind to us for our 5K race. Almost 400 athletes turned out & Liffey Valley athletes & stewards did not let us down either. By new years night we relaxed in the thought that another successful race had been completed.
Tom O’Connor and Mairead Murphy won the 2008 Club Cross Country championships.
On Jan 13th, Tom O’Connor became the Dublin Masters Cross Country Champion. Quite a memorable occasion with Tom winning his category and the overall race – this was quite an achievement. He was backed up well by his team mates Paul Balfe, John Cullen & Pat Collins who also won their respective categories, with the team taking silver also. In the ladies, Una Reilly won the silver medal.
February took us down to Wexford for the National Masters & Intermediate cross country. Danny Darcy finished 5th for LVAC & the men’s team finished 4th overall. Pat Collins, John Cullen & Una Reilly all claimed silver medals in their categories. Later in the month, Tom switched to the indoor track & won the 1500m title & won silver at the 800 distance.
Belfast was the destination for the National Senior XC in March where in mucky conditions the lads finished a remarkable 6th & 2nd in the B grade. A very proud day for the club. Shortly after in the Leinster indoors on 9th March, Ciaran Reilly took silver in the 800.
In April, the lads took part in the National road relays, with the Masters team unlucky not to feature in the medals. The big Race of the Liffey Valley calendar, the Avondale Cup also took place in April. It was with great celebration that Eithne Dorgan passed the Cup to Siobhan Donachie, which marked the beginning of many reasons for her to celebrate in 2008!
On May, the lads competed in the Leinster Novice Road Race in Gowran. On this magnificent day Lea Fulcher took individual silver & helped both Liffey Valley & Dublin to gold medals. Later in the month at the National Masters Relay Championships the lads collected more gold medals when Tom O’ Connor, Paul Balfe & Martin Dorgan took the 3000m title and also finished 1st, 2nd & 3rd individually. Ray Boyle continued his winning streak after his victory in the Cake Race & was crowned the Winter League Champion for 2008.
Record numbers of LVAC members, family & friends came out to steward at the Ladies mini marathon & support Mairead Murphy, Siobhan & Aoife who raced that day. The 5th June marked a very special day for Liffey Valley. Not only did we get two new 800m Club Track Champions in Siobhan & Ciaran, the newest Liffey Valley member was born when Martin & Eithne became the proud parents of Baby Fintan. Not only that but Martin also took silver in the race! Not bad for a days work. On 19th June, Mairead Murphy & Ciaran took the 1500m & 3000m track titles. After a great race Ciaran saw off the challenge of Lea to clean the boards & take both track titles.
In August at the AAI Masters track championships Tom O Connor took the 1500m title & bronze in the 3000, with Paul Balfe also taking bronze in the 1500m. The Dublin 10mile championships proved another successful day for the men when John Cullen was the first Liffey Valley man home & took gold in his V5 category. Pat Collins was 2nd in his V6 race & the team finished in 3rd overall.
The Cross Country season kicked off a week earlier than normal with the Dublin Novice on 28th September. The men were unlucky not to win gold; equaling points with the winning team, but had to be content with silver on the count back. The ladies finished 6th with some impressive debut performances for the girls.
The Dublin Intermediate took place in Tymon Park on 12th October. This time the men finished 2nd & the ladies 4th. The men equaled this result in the Leinster Novice with Lea, Pierce & Ciaran also winning Gold with Dublin. Una Reilly & Pat Collins won gold once again in their respective categories. Another successful day for the club.
Continuing on with this good form, we traveled to Ballinakill, for a muddy Leinster Intermediate. With debut performances from Gavin Lloyd and Sinead Sinnott, both the Men & Ladies finished in 5th place. Conditions & the course were tough, but everyone survived the experience!
Gavin and Sinead completed the Dublin Marathon along with Mairead Murphy & Steve Coughlan, with support from the Liffey Valley stewards around the half way mark. Una Reilly accompanied Steve for last 10 miles as he and Mairead raised nearly €1300 for charity.
On 22nd November, Christine Roche claimed her first ever LVAC Cross Country title in the club 4 mile handicap. Having raced with the club for the past 3 years, it was great to see Christine take the title, a hard earned & most deserved victory.
In December the lads traveled to Ballyhaise for the National Cross Country championships. Over a very tough course in icy conditions, the lads gained experience of the National Novice & this will no doubt stand to them next year, in a time when the club is developing many new athletes.
We had another successful club trip in September, this year to Brussels. It was thanks to Arnaud & Paul Balfe that this was such a success. Thirty members traveled & almost thirty competed in the 11.5K race in beautiful scenery in Cheivres. We had to opportunity to meet our clubmate Viktor Vasse and his wife, Edit.
Viktor finished the race in 2nd, just ahead of Paul and Ciaran. Christine, Una & John Cullen also won prizes, with Liffey Valley winning the ‘Best Club’ prize also, hardly surprising considering that we lit up the small village in all our bright yellow singlets! Many thanks also to wonderful hosts in Chievres.
Despite the highlights of 2008, it was also a year of extreme sadness for us all.
In June we lost a great clubmate and friend in George Harrison. George died suddenly in the club after one of his usual runs. To this day we are still coming to terms with the loss & never a training session goes by where we do not either talk about him or think of him. Last July, we sent our condolences to Paddy Reilly on the death of his sister. Martin Wright’s brother also passed away.
In November we sent our condolences to Tom O’Connor on the death of his wife, Carmel.
Truly some very sad occasions.
Once again, Tom McCormack, Jimmy Monaghan & Paul Power were busy maintaining the club house. Thanks to them, the clubhouse has seen somewhat of a transformation with new floors & new heating. We also acknowledge the help of Jim Davis, John Cullen and Dermot Ryan with this task!
Apart from racing successes, we had many more happy occasions for celebrations over the year…Marj & Vinney got the year off to a good start by getting engaged in Paris over New Year.
And what a year was it for the Reilly’s!! In July, Una & Paddy became grandparents again to Finn & Jack & a week later Una took pride of place as Mother of the Bride at Aoife & Willies wedding. Not only that, but she was then Mother of the Groom at Siobhan & Ciarans wedding in November! A very busy year for the Ladies of Liffey Valley, where we now have a new Mrs. Reilly & a new Mrs. Kennedy!
Earlier in the year, Mike Browne married Sabine & many club members made the Trip to Tipp to celebrate with them. In December, Mayo was the destination to celebrate the wedding of our Treasurer, Paul Balfe who married Patricia. Some very memorable occasions for everyone and no doubt those great days will remain the topic of conversation for a long time to come.
Apart from Fintan Dorgan, Andy and Orla Nason became proud parents to Moya, while Martin and Charlotte Byrne became the proud parents of Cordelia. The future of Liffey Valley in the making!
We were very proud that Tom McCormack was justifiably rewarded for all his hard work within in Athletics when he was awarded ‘Official of the Year’ at the AAI awards in November. The amount of work Tom does behind the scenes may not be known to all, but without his knowledge, enthusiasm & sheer hard work, our local & national events would not run as smoothly. He was also part of the team responsible for bringing the European Cross Country to Santry next year, which demonstrates how valued his contribution really is. Well done Tom & Congratulations from us all!
Once again, Jim and Nick have been tireless in their meticulous planning of training and racing. Jim was once again responsible for the series of Development Races at the Graded Meetings during the summer. He was also the Irish Team Manager at the European Cross Country in Brussels. But yet, they both still find the time to provide 100% commitment to Liffey Valley. In the depths of winter both Nick and Jim will be found every Tuesday and Thursday night putting us all through our paces in the Phoenix Park. As athletes we are extremely grateful for their time, commitment and support. The numbers of athletes at training has been increasing but nevertheless, training is always structured and organized. Not an easy task for anybody. On behalf all the committee and members, we thank them for their hard work. Kathryn Davis has also been a great support to all the Ladies in Liffey Valley and on their behalf I’d like to thank her for this.
Liffey Valley is a club with great camaraderie. It is evident on any race day to see those not racing coming out to support their club mates. Thanks to all those who made the effort to travel to races, in particular Jimmy Monaghan who is always willing to provide transport, to Pat for taking photos & Javier for compiling some very amusing reports!
Again, without all the athletes putting in the hard runs during the cold, dark nights of winter and those tough track sessions in ALSAA we would have no club. It is great to see the number of athletes increasing. We will hopefully have even more athletes out racing and competing for teams in 2009. A sincere “Well Done” to all the athletes who participated at all levels in 2008, from the relative newcomers in Nick’s Group, to “Dad’s Army” and to the Senior Lads – it has been a very successful racing year for the club.
We are very fortunate to have such a hard working committee in Liffey Valley. Thanks to our Chairman, Malcolm Edger, always at the meetings, always available to assist and present the prizes at our club races. To all the committee – and particularly Nick Davis for all his work with the Tom Brennan Race, thanks for making such huge efforts. It’s not always easy to find the time for such things but work always gets done, quietly and without complaint! On a personal level, thanks to Marie Riney also for all those posters she designed for me & to everyone else who has helped in any way with the club throughout 2008.
We wish all those who are currently out injured, John Cullen, Lea, Javier, Michelle & Mairead, a speedy recovery & hope to see you all back soon.
And finally, on behalf of myself and all the committee, may I wish all members, family & friends a very Happy Christmas. All the very best for 2009.
Liz Ryan – Hon Secretary