Work is in progress on the second phase of the 220,000 euro development of facilities at the Croke Athletic Club, Thurles, complex at Racecourse Road, and is expected to be completed later this year.
The first phase of the development, costing 110,000 euro, was the building of a club centre, providing dressing rooms, showers, kitchen, and meeting rooms. These are now fully operational and a great benefit to the hundreds of people, young and old, who avail of the facilities at Racecourse Road either as serious athletes, or as fun-runners/walkers seeking to improve their fitness levels.
Phase two which began a few weeks back, and is also costing 110,000 euro, is the provision of a sports hall which will enable club members to exercise in all weathers as well as being a venue to hold meetings at which larger gatherings are expected. This is expected to finish in September. Contractors for both is local contractor Joe Clancy.
These developments are occurring, appropriately, in the year that marks the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the club which is one of the best known in the athletics scene nationally. From humble beginnings the club has grown to cater for all levels of athletic ability and all ages, and can boast many national champions and its share of international competitors.
Croke AC is not all about elite runners, however. The club’s Fit for Life programme is a huge success and a popular feature of this is the weekly 6k run/walk on Thursday nights at 7pm which is enjoyed by both serious runners, joggers, and walkers. This is open to all who are interested in getting into shape in a fun atmosphere.
Another popular feature is the mini-athletics session on Friday nights, at 7pm, which caters for children up to twelve years and which encourages them to participate in athletics through non-competitive, enjoyable activities.
The club’s facilities are open, seven-days-a-week, with training each night for all-comers and juvenile nights ( from 8 years of age upwards)on Mondays and Thursdays.
Of course, primarily the club’s activities are competition-orientated and the success of its members at road races and championships, locally and nationally is widely recognised. It annually stages the Dave Fogarty road race to honour the late Dave Fogarty one of the driving forces during the formative years of the club. This will be held on June 19th this year and annually attracts top athletes from all parts of the country.
Croke’s facilities are used each year to host the primary and secondary schools cross-country championships and the club has also hosted various county cross-country championships.
Club President, Patsy Dorney, is delighted with the progress made with the buildings. “ It was great to see the first phase completed so quickly and to have been able to finance it from our own resources, helped by grants. Now we are faced with funding the second phase, but the people of Thurles have always been very supportive and we are very grateful. We feel sure they will help us because they recognise the work we are doing for the people of the town, particularly the youngsters. If there is anybody out there who would be willing to assist us with sponsorship they would be most welcome.
Club Patron, Jimmy Dunne says it is heartening to see so many people of all ages availing of the club’s facilities.” What we are providing is for the people of Thurles and surrounding areas. We hope that by having these facilities at their disposal, it will encourage people to get involved in sport but equally so to take steps to look after their own health and well-being. All they have to do is turn up at Racecourse Road at training times and there will be plenty of people there to give them advice and encouragement if they require it.
Anybody interested in sponsoring the club’s developments can get in contact with either Jimmy or Patsy or other club officers, Kathleen Dorney, Michael Dundon, Madeline Loughnane, Martina Ryan, Tom Moloney, Club Captain, Billy Phillips or indeed any club member.