Yemi Talabi, Nelvin Appiah and Cian McPhillips pictured with Athletics Ireland CEO Hamish Adams at the launch of Longford Athletics Club fundraising drive held back in June at the Longford Arms
Longford Athletics Club continues to go from strength to strength as it celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019.
The Club will be recognised at a civic reception at St Mel’s College, hosted by Longford County Council on December 6 for the Cathaoirleach Awards 2019, honouring the achievements of some of Longford’s top sports stars this year.
For half a century, the Club has been nurturing the talents of Longford’s athletes. Looking back past members excelled in cross country, middle distance and multi events.
Athletes Ray Flynn and Enda Fitzpatrick excelled at secondary school level, medalled at National level and went on to represent Ireland at European and Olympic Championships.
Now the Club is nurturing a new generation of young athletes. Nelvin Appiah, Cian McPhillips and Yemi Talabi all hold Connacht and National titles and have represented Ireland in European Championships in sprint, middle distance, high jump and relay.
Longford is one of only five counties in the country with no outdoor track or indoor athletic facilities.
The Club acknowledges that not having its own dedicated facilities is holding it back from even greater success. They are unable to offer event specific training for hurdles, relays and sprints on the track and have absolutely no scope for field events such as high jump, long jump, and shot putt. An indoor facility allows training all year round and opens up the scope of events that can be nurtured.
At last year’s annual general meeting, a Facilities Task Force was established. They have spent months searching for a suitable site for a new proposed indoor training facility, applying for funding and liaising with the County Council and politicians to follow up on every lead so that this can become a reality.
Fundraising is a significant part to achieving the goal of a new facility. The Club needs to raise €100,000 to be ready to move forward and they have a fundraising raffle in progress with every family involved to do their part helping with ticket sales. Through their Club website online ticket sales can be facilitated for people living abroad to enter the draw.
The next step is to approach local businesses for financial support. The Club wants to highlight the fact that this project will bring wider benefits to the county and will be used by many groups across the community.