Read Gerry Madden’s Account of St Senans Open Track and Field

Cool Cailíns

They crossed the bridge in their thousands, it was like the Flight into Egypt. People of all ages, shapes, sizes, race, colour, creed and political persuasion. Maggie Lacey was there with a wattle cut from a 500 year old fairy bush ready for war, Paudie Casey looking fresher than he did when he terrorised hurlers back in the 60’s.

The grass was cut, the lanes were marked, the tent was up and the shop open, it could only be St Senans Open Sports Day. One of the last in a tradition that dates back as far as Cuchulainn, it’s the only show in town on an Easter Monday afternoon and the sun shone on those togged out and ready for action.

The local Kilkenny clubs were well represented inclusing the newly formed Johnstown AC with others such as Waterford AC, Stella Maris Tramore, West Waterford AC, Lismore, An Gaelteacht, while from Tippereary came Carrick on Suir, Clommel, Moycarkey.Athletes travelled from Liscarroll Co Cork, Kildare North Laois making for some cracking competition.

Why are we waiting?

There were some great individual performances on the day including a fine win by Hugh Morgan in the boys U/16 700m. Star of the show was world rated walker Kate Veale who powered around the track in 6.23 for a win in the 1500m race walk. Sean Tobin of Clonmel was an impressive winner of the senior 3000m from Brian Swaby of Waterford AC and Conor Rochford St Senans. Maria Murphy Griffinof St Josephs was equally impressive in the senior 1500m, where Adele Walsh took silver, Mary Doolin bronze and Aine Kinsella the junior title. St Josephs AC were the winners of the overall Shield for the best club and a rousing speech by that well known sprinter and orator Paul Manning closed proceedings.

The Wrecking Crew

Once again the club had all hands on deck in setting up the event. Foreman Dwyer was his usual quiet contemplative self as he gently encouraged his assistants with ‘well done lads, that’s perfect, God ye’re great men entirely’!

Stella sold out in no time, while the Elaine Kearns looked more at home in the caravan than the Pecker Dunne.

Others we’d like to thank include Dessie Kent who supplied sand for the long jumps. The Kent family have had a long association with the event and were main sponsors for many years.

A special thanks to Michael Gregan who has no equal when it comes to starting races. And of course the grand master of the event the venerable Ned Williams, whose dulcet tones waft over the Kilmacow air as he gently calls the contestants to the line.

Michael Gregan in action

 Finally well done to St Josephs AC who won by a mere point from holders Ferrybank AC. A great contest, a great day and another chapter in the pages of athletic history in the parish.

Quote ‘Ye haven’t hands to wipe ye’re backsides – PJ Dwyer encourages the tent erection crew.


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