History - Dunleer AC

Dunleer A.C.  Established in 1896
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The year begins with a successful AGM and our Chairman Pat Fitzpatrick re-elected. Hand sanitising, distancing and wearing masks indoors are still the norm, but the pandemic is being somewhat controlled with vaccination and testing. The date for Rás 2022 is announced - February 20th - and life at Dunleer AC goes on.

All of our Dunleer AC members and Friends over the years have helped make our history. Mentors, Members and Memorial races, Festivals, Fashion shows and Full on Effort! Unfortunately the Covid 19 pandemic called a halt to normal life and schools and businesses closed, while Club training and all organised sport stopped to allow for safety measures such as isolation, lockdown, vaccination programmes etc. We had to cancel Rás na hÉireann in 2019 and 2020, as well as our annual road race. Training was very restricted. You might remember the messages we posted which show how life had changed for a time and how we returned slowly to normality:

May 2021
We have returned to training at Lourdes stadium on Wednesdays at 7pm for under 18s in pods of 15, and we have a new Saturday morning session at 9am for throws and jumps for children.  Looking forward to seeing all members.

January 2021
Happy New Year to everyone!
Here we are in level 5 restrictions, so as you all know our job is to:
stay home, stay safe and train as individuals within our 5km radius.  

October 2020
Restrictions again and Level 5!
Unfortunately, we are still unable to train as normal due to Covid 19. We did get Day 1 of our Louth Championships done, but unfortunately the Government and the HSE have had to put the whole country at Level 5  restrictions in order to control the spread of the virus. This means we can only do limited training in pods of 15, with no formal adult training.  We cannot accept new members at present, but will update you via the website when the restrictions ease again. In the meantime, stay safe everyone and adhere to all rules and regulations as per Government guidelines.

June 8th Update (2020)
Thankfully, things are improving everyone and some return to Club training is being allowed by the Government, but only for age 13 upwards. If you are age 13 upwards, your coach will be in contact with you or with your parents/guardians. If for some reason this doesn't happen, you can call me at 087 6482373 and I will get the update for you. (Jackie)

March/April 2020
Hello everyone! Strange times with everyone home from school and all training cancelled but the committee would like to touch base with you all and say we are still here in the background planning "fun" training sessions and great days out in Tullamore and Santry etc. in the summer. Keep yourselves active, listen to the advice from the Government and the HSE and stay safe. It won't be long until we see you all again and get training for our next projects, whether it be Louths/Leinsters or Nationals. Stay positive and talk soon.

Historically, Dunleer Athletic Club has been in existence for 125 years and has promoted the Rás na hÉireann International cross country event since 1970. The first International involvement in the Rás was in 1975 when athletes from France competed. Over the years athletes from 43 countries, including Ireland’s Catherina Mc Kiernan, Rosemary Ryan, Maria Mc Cambridge and holder of 5 world records Delilah Asiago from Kenya have competed, as well as Charles Kamathi, James Kariuki, Mark Carroll, Séamas Power and Vinny Mulvey providing exciting role models for athletes from all over Ireland who come to participate and spectate at the event. In 2009, Drogheda's Keith Kelly came home from his US base to compete in the Rás, and went on to win the National Inter Clubs senior cross country the following week, only the 3rd Louth man to do so.

Dunleer Athletic Club was founded in 1896 by the late Larry Mc Ardle. The Club colours are black and yellow, and the Club caters for all ages, both male and female, from a wide catchment area, from as far south as Julianstown and as far north as Newry, with Drogheda, Dunleer, Collon, Monasterboice, Termonfeckin, Clogherhead, Ardee and Dundalk and many other villages all represented. The Honorary President Larry Mc Guill from Dunleer dedicated 50 years to athletics and sadly passed away in 2011.

The Club is affiliated to the Athletic Association of Ireland (A.A.I.) and has Clubrooms, an all weather flood lit track and field event areas. The Clubrooms were officially opened on January 1st 1982, while the track was opened soon after on the 22nd of June 1982. These facilities all stand on the grounds of Lann Léire Gaelic Football Club, with an agreement of use.

2012 Brings Hope
'The prospect of a new state-of-the-art outdoor sports facility for the community of mid-Louth edged a step closer this week as news came through that an application for funding made by Co. Louth VEC, in collaboration with Dunleer Athletics Association, to the Sports Capital Programme was successful. The Sports Capital Programme, which is administered by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, aims to foster an integrated and planned approach to developing sports and physical recreation facilities throughout the country. The VEC and Dunleer AC made their joint application to the fund last June.

Last year the VEC purchased a seven acre site adjacent to Scoil Uí Mhuirí in Dunleer and has earmarked this site for the proposed development. The local education authority has already been granted full planning permission for the development which is to consist of a new full-size 400m running track, a grass football pitch, a jogging track, tennis courts, javelin, high-jump, long-jump and shot putt facilities and changing rooms, as well as perimeter fencing and floodlighting. The joint application was awarded €120,000.00.

CEO, Dr. Pádraig Kirk, said, "we are very pleased to have been awarded this level of funding. Together with Dunleer AC, it is clear that we were punching well above our weight as this was the largest single award to be made in Co. Louth and was among the largest awarded to sporting organisations across the country". The CEO continued, "it is envisaged that the facilities would be developed on a phased basis with priority being afforded in the first instance to the running track and football field".'

1959 Louth Champions Dunleer A.C.

1946 Louth Champions Dunleer A.C.

1959 Louth Champions Dunleer A.C.

The existing Club facilities were financed by the Club members and community. All of the money was raised through 5 week draws, sponsored walks and so on. In 1997, a grant of £10,000 was provided by the Department of Education Recreational Facilities Scheme to improve and equip the kitchen, gym, office, floodlights, track and field areas. A grant was approved under the Sports Capital Grant scheme, to repair the track. This work was carried out in 2009.

While the Club was waiting for the work on the track to be carried out, training took place at the modern facility at Scoil Uí Mhuirí. The indoor facilities are excellent for circuit training, indoor field events and fun training for the younger athletes. The older juveniles, juniors and seniors trained at various locations: St.Oliver's Community College, Oldbridge etc.

The track renovation is complete and training takes place there round the clock! Walkers, joggers, marathon hopefuls, juveniles, parents, all sport entusiasts from the area benefit from the use of this track.

Scoil Uí Mhuirí continues to be a fantastic venue for much needed strength and conditioning work, as well as fun athletics for younger children and athletics skills for older juveniles.

Oldbridge is used by many of our members also for long, scenic runs.

The track facility is availed of as a safe walking route by the expanding population of Dunleer, which now has town status. The track is traffic free and has the benefit of floodlighting during dark evenings. Local footballers and athletes from a range of sporting disciplines use the track to improve aerobic fitness levels.

The Club is truly socially inclusive, with all members of the public, of all ages encouraged to use the facility. This is a facility for the community by the community, bridging gaps between all sectors of society and reaching out to educational institutions, clubs and groups.

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