THERE was a great atmosphere in the Tullamore Court Hotel last Friday night as the Offaly Athletics County Board held a gala awards night.
Olympian Thomas Barr was the special guest on the night while the president of Athletics Ireland Georgina Drumm was also present, along with deputy president, John Cronin, a long serving Tullamore Harriers' chairman who stepped down earlier this year to concentrate on his national and international (he is an official with the IAAF) duties, Mrs Lucy smith, an honourary member of Offaly Athletics and Paul Byrne, the Regional Development Officer.
A huge number of athletes were honoured for their achievements in 2018. Athletes from Ballyskenach AC, Birr AC, Banagher AC, Clara AC, Edenderry AC, Ferbane AC, Naomh Mhuire AC and Tullamore Harriers were presented with medals and trophies for the Offaly 5k Road Race Series, the Middle Distance Challenge, the Offaly 10k championships, the Offaly Track and Field championships, Offaly Cross Country championships and the Leinster Half Marathon Championships.
Darren Butler, Chairman of Offaly Athletics welcomed over 270 to the awards ceremony with special greetings to Ms Georgina Drumm, President of Athletics Ireland, Mr John Cronin, Deputy President of Athletics Ireland, Mr Thomas Barr, Olympian, who was the special guest, Mrs Lucy Smith, honorary member of Offaly Athletics and Paul Byrne, Regional Development Officer.
Master of ceremonies was David Fox who kept the night moving with great efficiency. The speeches were kept short with Georgina Drumm making a presentation to athletes who competed at international level during the year. She spoke about the growth in athletics in recent years and the central role that Offaly is playing in this.
The presentation to the individual athletes was made by Thomas Barr while a special highlight of the night was the presentation of a special life time award to Tom Godley. A native of Kerry, Godley moved to Offaly where he worked as a secondary school teacher and became immersed in local athletics – first with St Cormac's AC in Kilcormac and then the Tullamore Harriers while he has been a long serving official at county level.
Damian Lawlor, the middle distance coach at Tullamore Harriers, gave an outline of Tom Godley's sporting life while Mr Godley replied by saying he was very surprised to receive this award. He talked about this athletics career and the enjoyment he had got from this.
The organising committee consisted of Darren Butler, David Fox, Dympna Fox, Tara McKinney, Adrian Martin and Mary Daly.