Club History

The following articles are to be found in a Newbridge magazine called New Link published in the 70s by Newbridge Community Council. If anyone has old articles on the history of the club or results we would be interested in having copies of them.

History of Newbridge Athletic Club. New Link Jan /Feb 1975 NO13.

When Newbridge Athletic club was reorganised in 1947 under the chairmanship of the late Jackie Murphy, only the very optimistic could foresee the great run of successes the members would enjoy over the next quarter century or so.

In those days competition was hard to find and there were no events for boys and girls under 16 at all. Among the early members who contributed much to the success of the club were John Ryan, Billy Murphy, Vincent Brazil, Terry Denver, Frank Dooley, Pat and Eddie Lysaght, Christy McDermott, John Duane, Christy and John Cox.

Those fine athletes were followed by a younger school of runners who did their share to keep the name of the club to the forefront of athletics not only in Kildare but also throughout the whole country. Names like Oliver Noone, Steve Mulqueeney, Sean Reilly, Frank McCormack, Larry Kegan, Charlie and Jim McCabe through the years.

Then on the scene came Jim Timoney, an Irish track champion, and Micheal Geraghty, another international, Kevin Munelly who has done tremendous work for the club. Shay Walker and many others too numerous to mention.

Nowadays the club has a very strong membership of younger athletes. In contrast to those earlier years. The juvenile athletes are catered for now more so than their senior counterparts, boys and girls compete in their own age groups, namely under 10,12, 14, 16, 18, 20 years at county and provincial and national level both in track and field and cross country.

To give readers an idea of just how successful the club is at the moment here is a run down on results over the past year.

Cross country the season opened on a very successful note for Newbridge on Sunday October 14th 1973 when the girls under 16 won the county Kildare championship at Friarstown, team members wee Stephanie Denver, Eileen Ryan, Rose Quigley and Bernie Nolan.

The boys under 16 were second team in their event.
On the following Sunday at Nass the boys under 10 kept up the good work when Ian Denver, Kevin O Connor, Peter Nolan and Nick Murray won the team championship.

On Sunday November 4th Newbridge was the venue for the boys and girls under 12 championships and here local runners took second and third honours.

Back to Friarstown on November 11th for boys and girls under 14 championships. Newbridge winning both titles, team members were John Ryan, Mick Wilmot, Kieran Dempsey, Owen Murray and the girls team Eileen Ryan Rose Quigley, Bernie Nolan and Marie O Connor. On to Ferns in Co Wexford the following Sunday where Eileen Ryan, Stephanie Denver, Marie O Connor helped Co Kildare win the Leinster under 13 Championship and Kieran Dempsey was 2nd in the under 11 event and got a winners medal with Kildare. Dempsey and David Denver were also on the successful county team who won the under 12 title a week later.
The Newbridge under 14 team were second in the Leinster championships. This concluded the cross-country season, which was very successful for Newbridge.

The track season was equally good for club members when it opened in Nass Sunday 19th 1974. Newbridge medal winners were Terry Denver 3rd Paul Nolan 2nd Willie Smith 2nd David Denver 2nd and the boys under 10 relay team of Ian Denver, peter Nolan, Garry Mckeon, Kevin O Connor. Newbridge was the venue on June 2nd and again the local club did well. Terry Denver 5th, Kevin Munelly1st, Paul Nolan 1st, Francis Leamy 2nd, Kieran Dempsey 2nd, Stephanie Denver 1st, Terry Bergin 1st. were medal winners and the girls under 14 also won the relay. In Kildare on June 16th Oliver Noone 1st,Kevin Munnelley 1st, Terry Denver 3rd and Francis Leamy 2nd were the standard bearers for Newbridge. On July 7th at Crookstown Newbridge produced a nice blend of youth and experience to win the county senior relay with Oliver Noone, Terry Denver, Kevin Munnelley and Micheal Geraghty a victory that had eluded the club for eight years. Ann Bergin 1st John Ryan 2nd, and the under 12 and 16 relay teams also won medals for the club. The score to date in the present cross-country season is, 20 Kildare championship medals and fourteen Leinster medals. In the Co Kildare Community Games Newbridge Athletes won 60 medals and then brought home 3 All-Irelands from Butlins.

Training is a very important part of the athlete’s life. He must be prepared to train to a schedule and stick with it whatever the weather. The boys and girls in the club train Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights under the watchful eye of senior members and then they general have a race on Sunday.

To break the monotony of training the committee arrange a hop one a month and now Kevin Munnelley shows films on athletics and other sports once a fortnight. These are very valuable for the younger athletes, they can learn the proper methods of training from the coaching films and watching the world-class performers in action is a great incentive.

A treasure hunt at Donnelly’s hollow recently was a huge success.

Problems yes I Suppose every club has their own; the biggest one in athletics is finance. It is the duty of every athletic club to run one county championship sports every year. This costs about 40 pounds for medals alone. Unfortunately the gate at a sport is almost non-existent. You don’t get hordes of flag waving fans to watch a cross-country race. Cars and buses must be hired to get runners to fixtures and that can be very expensive nowadays, though luckily members with cars help out in this respect.

What of the future? Well with the wealth of young talent in the club now, things look rosy indeed for Newbridge Athletic club. A clubroom is something the committee would dearly love to have. A number of local businesses have been approached about a premises but so far without success. Perhaps 1975 will see the fulfilment of this dream, which is close to the heart of “Old Timers” in Newbridge Athletic Club

New Link Magazine 14 November 1973 Vol 1 No1

Members of Newbridge athletic club after a very successful track season are looking forward to the forthcoming cross-country season. If you should happen to travel almost any road around the town about 7.30pm on Monday, Wednesday or Thursday evenings you will surely meet groups of 40 to 50 boys and girls from the age of nine to fifteen dressed in assorted colour tracksuits pounding out the miles in preparation for the tough races ahead.

From mid October competitions at co level first then provincial championships leading to the all-Ireland championships next February will be held almost every Sunday. With a total of 74 county Kildare, Leinster and all-Ireland championships medals won on the track during the summer the boys and girls are confident of bringing further honours to Newbridge during the winter.

The three training sessions each week are supervised by senior club members, Red Cardiff, Kevin Munnelley, Jim McCabe, Brother Hugh and Mick Dooley. These athletes some who gave up competitive athletes long ago still find time to join in the road runs as so no doubt enjoy the outing as much as the juveniles.

Since 1947 the club has functioned year after year, not without its share of ups and downs. At one stage membership was down to two active athletes, but the crises passed and the club can boast a thriving membership of nearly 60. This happy situation has come about mainly through the efforts of Brother Hugh in encouraging the boys to take part in athletics in school. On leaving school the children still retain their interest in athletics and are given all available facilities by senior members of the club.

The first outing for cross-country runners this season took place on October 14th when a senior sealed handicap and the county Kildare boys and girls under 16 titles was decided. I insuring issues of this magazine I hope to keep the public up to date on Athletic affairs in Newbridge.

New Link Dec 1973 No 2.

Newbridge Athletic Club.

Juvenile members of Newbridge athletic club have made a sensational start to the current cross country season.
In Kildare on Sunday October 14th the girls under 16 team won the County Kildare Championships from a field of forty runners. This was a great performance considering all four team members are under 14 and so they must have an outstanding chance of adding the under 14 title to their winnings later on in the season. Members of the winning team were Stephanie Denver, Eileen Ryan, Rosemary Quigley and Bernie Nolan.
Not to be outdone the under 16 boys put on a very good show to finish 2nd to Kildare AC, the four team members were John Ryan, Miko Wilmot, Bill Smith, and John McDonnell.

In Nass on Sunday October 21st the younger members of the club kept the flag flying when the under 10 boys won the County Kildare championship. To win two and finish second in three outings is great form and this looks like being the best ever season for Newbridge AC. Members of the team were Ian Denver, Peter Nolan, Kevin O Connor, and Niall Murray.