The emergence of Liffey Valley Athletic Club in 1974 from Avondale A.C. and Inchicore A.C. was to me, as a former official of Inchicore A.C. and an Athlete, a means to an end, in-so-far as Terry Hayes, Gerry Kavanagh, Mick O'Callaghan, Paddy Conneff and myself had recognised the writing on the wall and realised that for the club to compete at a respectable level with the well known clubs i.e. Donore A.C., Clonliffe A.C., etc.. the Inchicore Club would need to amalgamate.
The Inchicore Club were fortunate in having a very hardworking committee. A whole series of races for youth, from 14-18 years, were organised for Saturdays in the Phoenix Park, our aim was to increase club membership and have a good youth section, thereby ensuring the life of the club. Unfortunately, good youths and athletes were more attracted to the clubs which could provide good teams. In short our committed were good but they could only do so much. In my view, the final nail was driven in the coffin in the Eastern Region Intermediate C.C. (6 miles) in Co. Offaly.
Our hopes were high, we felt we had a good team but were found wanting at the tail end of it. Mick O'Callaghan, Terry Hayes and myself finished in the first twenty and our 4th man came home around 90th. Low and behold, who beat us - yes you guessed it - Avondale A.C.
The actual amalgamation of the clubs went very smoothly from our end. Terry Hayes with myself and the Davis Brothers (Nick & Jim) broke down many barriers while running the 10 mile lap in the 'Park'.
When Inchicore A.C. and Avondale A.C. joined together, giving birth to Liffey Valley A.C., I felt happy with the new name. It was synonymous with the great clubs, i.e. Thames Valley, Lagan Valley, etc. It was a pleasure getting to know our new clubmates. The 'Maggots' McCormack, 'The Godfather' - John Fitzsimmons and the 'Original Scrooge' - Willie Hyland and many more, played their part in helping the club become the force it is now. When Avondale and Inchicore joined, we were pleasantly surprised to realise we had another training mate, EMILY HOPKINS-DOWLING, the numbers increased at the training sessions then and many a poor male athlete was put to shame, including myself.
In exile, I often thought of my clubmates with their great camaraderie doing their training sessions. I would envy them. Memories flooded back. Who can ever forget the Fermoy Trip with the 'Pucan' Murray and he, using Guinness for fuel in the Middleton Road race, or the great singsong in the sheebeen in Cork. This was the first time our club was ever barred from a PUB. The 'Dog' - John O'Reilly went in first to a pub in Cashel, on our return from Cork. The publican took one look at his bearded face and we were all barred.
I personally got great satisfaction out of our sponsored run via Dublin, Wicklow and KIldare - The Liffey Valley. We raised a lot of money from the same event. 'Crabber', 'The Pucan' and myself would mark out the course on a Saturday night and then retire to 'Grouser's Corner' for liquid refreshment.
The social nights in the clubhouse were very successful, creating a togetherness among all. We were joined by many great characters - Jock Stein, Brian and Connie Corcoran, Jim McNamara and his father, Willie Young and others. Who can forget the 'Man in the Kilt', Fr. Andy Sheehan, sadly no longer with us. He was like a breath of fresh air in the club and enjoying the crack as we drank our gains, listening to his renderings from light opera.We all knew there was only one other who could compete with him, namely, Tom Hoagn. Our own John Blyth made a great contribution to these nights when he brought his father along, who was here on holidays from England (Scouse Land). He sang some lovely songs and told jokes, our enjoyment was great.
These are my recollections of a great time, a great club and fantastic club mates.