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About the club

The athletic club was formed in 1984 and it was called Aghinagh A.C.. It came about from the success of the Centenary celebrations of Rusheen National School.

On the 26th of September 1984, a small group got together who were interested in athletics – jogging and running. The founding members were Ted O`Herlihy, Chairman, Donal O`Callaghan Vice Chairman, Eileen O`herlihy Secretary and Denis McSweeney Assistant Secretary, and Hugh Twomey treasurer. The name Aghinagh A.C. was called after the parish and the club was registered with Bord Lúthchleas na hÉireann.

There were 15 members registered and they were from Bealnamorrive, Rusheen and Ballinagree. The club colours were blue and orange and the first set of singlets were sponsored and presented by John Martin Fitzgerald of the Hooded Cloak Macroom.

At the 2nd meeting of the club more new officers were elected. Fr. O`Mahony was elected President, Fr. Michael Fitzgerald was elected Vice President, Kathleen Healy was elected PRO, Gerard Buckley was elected Registrar and Committee members elected were Pat Quill, Denis McCarthy, Tom Creedon, Gerard Goggin and Catherine O`Callaghan.

The first competition the club competed in was the 1984-1985 West Cork Cross Country and great progress was made from there on. In the 1986 – 1987 Cross Country season the club had 4 winners out of the 11 athletes they had in different age groups.

As the club grew in numbers from all over the Mid Cork region it was decided to change the name to West Muskerry A.C. and this came into effect from 1987 – 1988 season. The New Officers were Ted O` Herlihy Chairman & PRO, Eileen O` Herlihy Secretary, Hugh Twomey Treasurer, Tony Daly Registrar Martin Coughlan trainer and Pat Quill, Denis O`Donovan, and James Kelleher were committee members.

The club went from strength to strength with new members joining. The 2 coaches who kept the club afloat were Martin Coughlan and Ted O`Herlihy. Even after their own family members had left the club both men continued to give their time voluntary at every training session and every Sunday at competitions.

Martin & Ted took the athletes to Banna Strand every year on a training camp where all enjoyed the fresh air, the team bonding and the fantastic training. We all travelled in Teds van to competitions up the country. He converted the back of the van and put in wooden seats so we could all travel together. There were about 15 seated in the back of the van and the sing song and the craic was mighty with Martin singing his chicken song and all of us joining in. (There were no seat belts or rules about back seat passengers then). They both gave every athlete a chance and encouraged them to be the best they could be.

Their philosophy was that every athlete go out and enjoy their running and not to be stressed out about winning that taking part was more important. Every athlete adapted this philosophy and the results sorted themselves out.

A new cinder track was built in the Town Park in July 1988. This was fantastic for the club helping the athletes prepare better for competitions and may West Cork, County Munster and All Ireland medals were achieved. But due to the close proximity to the River Lee, the cinders got washed away in the flood so the club went back to training on the fields.

It was one wish that both Martin and Ted had was that they would have their own back – athletics grounds with club house and lights.

In the year 2000 Martin Coughlan and Ted O`Herlihy retired as Coaches. They have been training Collette O`Riordan for a good few years and she took over the running of the club from then on. New regulations had come in at that time for child welfare in that you had to have a male coach and a female coach at training if you had both boys and girls on the field. Collette approached Gerard Moynihan to come on board as his children had taken up athletics and he agreed to do so.

A new Committee was set up and the club again went from strength to strength. Gerard is a qualified Level 3 Sprints and Jumps Coach and Collette is a qualified Level 2 Distance and Throws coach.

Both coaches adapted the same philosophy as Martin and Ted with the emphasis on trying all aspects of athletics, to take part and be part of a team regardless of where you finish.

There were many West Cork, County, Munster, All Ireland and International Titles achieved in both Sprints, Middle Distance in Cross County and track and throws.

The club has grown from 15 athletes registered in 1984 to 222 registered at present. We have a fantastic website designed by one our athletes Eric Moynihan which he keeps up to date with all the club activities, club photos and any information the club needs to send out.

The club continues to grow and continues to be successful. A great team spirit from both parents and athletes is great to see. A fantastic club to be part of.

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