John Bennett, first male O70 being presented with his prize by John Cronin, President of Athletics Ireland. Also pictured is Denise Coghill, Ferbane AC Committee.

Ferbane AC honours Marion Feehan in bumper local race

Last Sunday was a very important day for Ferbane AC as it was the club's turn to host the third race in the Offaly Road Race Series. There was fantastic representation from all clubs in the county with a large number of guest runners also coming to town.

The organisers of this event have been extremely fortunate for the past few years to have fine weather on the day and it was no exception on Sunday last.

This year the club decided to honour the memory of Marion Feehan by holding a 1K juvenile ‘fun run’ race in Marion’s honour. The juvenile race really added to the day with many parents bringing the kids along and then competing themselves in the 5K.

For the 5K a large field of 288 runners completed the distance in very warm conditions. Once again Ferbane AC were to fore in the medal stakes with Athlone native Mick Fogarty taking first place in 15:23. It was great to see the Hugo Smith Perpetual Trophy staying with the club.

The evergreen Paul Buckley was first male O45 and 4th overall, running 16:21 but second in race classification as the overall second and third place runners were guests not affiliated to Offaly clubs. Denise Egan was first over 40 female, running an excellent 18:25. Mary Blake-Hickey continued her good recent form to take first female O45.

Another positive for the club was taking the first male team title with the fab four of Mick Fogarty, Paul Buckley, Paul Conlon and Niall Kelly bringing home the honours. The Ferbane AC women were also to the fore in the team prizes with Denise Egan, Bridget O’Sullivan, Edel Waldron and Colette Anderson being the club's first four ladies to cross the line and second women’s team overall.

The David Cullinan Perpetual Trophy for the first female was won by Kate Kelly of Athlone AC. Kate blitzed the course to run 17:29. Well done to all the participants from all clubs who took part at the weekend.

Denise Egan, first O40 female, is presented with her prize by Dermot Egan, Ferbane AC Committee.
Mick Fogarty is presented the Hugo Smith Perpetual Trophy by Lucy Smith, Ferbane AC Life President.
Ferbane AC’s Paul Buckley (centre), first O45 male in the Hugo Smith 5k race, is presented with his prize by John Cronin (right), President of Athletics Ireland, alongside Ferbane AC Committee member Dermot Egan.

Finally, a word of sincere thanks to the many sponsors, supporters and volunteers. Gallen Community School were more than generous in opening up their excellent facilities for registration, toilets and car parking. Gallen Utd Football Club were also a fantastic support in providing their car park, dressing rooms and stewards to assist with parking. Thanks to Hennessy's Bar & Restaurant, Ferbane for donating tasty sandwiches which were most welcome at the finish line. O’Callaghan's Centra again provided the water and bananas and are never slow in sponsoring food and drink for club events. Naomh Ciarán LGFA donated biscuits and other sweet treats which was a lovely surprise on the morning of the race.

Another organisation that lent support was Offaly County Council with barriers, cones and parking facilities provided. The council also conducted remedial repairs on the road to make the route as safe as possible for all runners. Gallen Priory Nursing Home provided their grounds for the finish of the juvenile race which was extremely important in taking the young people off the main road. The club was ably assisted by a huge number of Gallen residents in providing assistance in stewarding the junctions and other areas of the route. The support given to the club is very much appreciated and never taken for granted.

These events could not go ahead each year without the assistance provided by these good Samaritans. Ferbane urges all members to provide their best support for Ballyskenach AC for their upcoming 5K scheduled to take place on May 27th at 8pm.

Ferbane AC 5k - prize winners

1st Man: Mick Fogarty (Ferbane AC), 15:23 (winner of Hugh Smith Perpetual Trophy).

2nd Man: Peter Mooney, 16:13.

3rd Man: Paul Buckley (Ferbane AC), 16:21.

1st Lady: Kate Kelly (Athlone AC), 17:29.

2nd Lady: Adrianna Mulligan (Longford AC), 17:45.

3rd Lady: Emily Grennan (Tullamore Harriers AC), 18:15.

1st Junior Male: Luke Purcell (Nenagh Olympic AC), 15:24.

1st Junior Female: Heather Murphy (St Michael's AC), 19:08.

1st O40: Colin Coyne (St Abban's AC, 16:45) and Denise Egan (Ferbane AC, 18:25).

1st O45: Micheál O'Brien (Tullamore Harriers, 16:34) and Mary Blake (Ferbane AC, 22:17).

1st O50: Brendan Donagher (Naomh Mhuire AC, 16:40) and Pauline Curley (Tullamore Harriers, 18:28).

1st O60: Alo Brereton (20:50) and Mary Galvin (Tullamore Harriers AC, 23:58).

1st O70: John Bennett (Ferbane AC, 27:03) and Eileen Kenny (Athlone AC, 22:33).