Dec 2, 2011 [Noel Guiden ] There was big crowd in attendance in the Clonliffe clubhouse for last nights second annual Clonliffe athletes of the year awards night for what almost turned out to be the Brian Gregan awards night! Before the presentation night proper commenced there was an impromptu presentation held in the club when young Adam O’Brien was presented with his U/14 National Inter-county gold medal which was won in the mud in Sligo last weekend, by coach Mick Fogarty with Adam’s training group providing a hearty round of applause. This is the first of hopefully many national medals that`ll be won by this great group of Clonliffe athletes over the years to come.
The athletes of the year presentation proceeded in the club bar, the club president Paddy Marley in his speech commending the excellent performances by the club’s athletes throughout this historic 125th year and commending the athletes and their coaches for their dedication. He also congratulated David Flynn and Dave Fitzmaurice on their selection for the Irish U/23 European Cross Country on Sunday week. Paddy then made presentations to the Clonliffe athletes who had set new club records in 2011. A presentation was made to Tomas Rauktys who set a new shot putt record at the Dublin Graded Meet in Irishtown of 16.83m. Brian Gregan was then on the floor, Brian having set a new club 200 metre record, not once, but twice on the 6th of August in the Nationals, Brian ran 21.36 in the semi and then 21.09 in the final. Brian remained on the floor for the 400 metre club record presentation, Brian set a new club record on three occasions in the summer months, firstly at the European U/23 Games when he ran 46.12, then on the 17th of August at the World Student Games in China he ran 46.00 in the semi-final and in the final went sub 46 running 45.96.
Although not in attendance recognition was made of the club records set by Matt Field (on two occasions) in the 110 h of 14.81 and then 14.77 on the 2nd of July. Alistair Cragg also received recognition as a result of setting a new club and National Irish record of 13.03.53 in Brussels on the 16th of September last.
Presentations were then made to the Clonliffe 2011 Individual National Champions: Brian Gregan 400 m indoor champion, Tomas Rauktys, National Discus Champion and, to a great round of applause, Mark Kenneally, Olympic Qualifier in the marathon, the national 10000 m champion. Clonliffe’s other two national champions were David Donegan, pole vault indoor and outdoor and Alistair Cragg 5000 m champion.
The nominees were then read out in respect of the various club athletes of the year, club captain Joe Cooper opened the all important envelope revealing the winners who were presented with their cups as follows:
Junior athlete of the year: Patrick O’Connor
Master athlete of the year: Phillip O’Doherty
Women’s Track and Field athlete of the year: Ciara McCallion
Men’s Track and Field athlete of the year: Brian Gregan
Women’s Cross Country/Road athlete of the year: Ailish Malone
Men’s Cross Country/Road athlete of the year: Mark Kenneally
The culmination of the athlete of the year awards was the announcement of the Clonliffe Harrier of the year by Joe Cooper. This year’s recipient was a lady who epitomised what it is to be a Clonliffe Harrier on that never to be forgotten day in Tullamore on the 20th of August in the National League Final, normally a 200 m specialist she rallied to the cause scoring valuable points in the 1500m walk, the long jump, triple jump and ran a leg of the 4 x 100 m. The 2011 Clonliffe Harrier of the year Snezana Bectina.
Bectina looked totally shocked as her name was called out to great cheers from her clubmates.
To round off the proceedings a special presentation was then made to Brian Gregan as a momento of his winning of a magnificent silver medal at the European U/23 championships.
In all an excellent occasion as we come towards the end of our 125th year with only two events now left on the cards: the Clonliffe Harriers Christmas Cracker 5 k on December 18th and the Cake Race on December 22nd.
A special thank you from all to John Shields and Loki Sports for their very generous sponsorship of the Clonliffe athlete of the year awards and also to Caroline Tuite for the tea, coffee, biscuits and home-made (or so she says) fruitcake.