A personal account by Jenny Maher
I joined Dundrum South Dublin in October 1983, thanks to Finbar O’Driscoll, a local teacher who used to walk a group of runners from Sandyford to Ballinteer Community school on a Tuesday and Thursday. We were coached by Eddie and Liz McDonagh, and John Quirke every week and I used to love the training and the group we trained with.
We trained hard at every session, and we had a great team. My first All-Ireland was in Killeigh in Offaly and the DSD girls had a fantastic run. We had four girls in the top 10 (1st Grainne Graham, 2nd Niamh Graham, 7th Suzanne Mayland and I finished 9th (Jenny Maher).
We were delighted to come way with 3 All-Ireland medals that day: an individual medal, a team medal won by Dublin and a club medal for DSD. I ran for DSD for another 12 years before going off to pursue my GAA interests.
Thirty-eight years later, I find myself back in DSD, this time as a coach and introducing my son Conor to athletics.
On Sunday 10th of October, we had our first cross country race. I was very impressed today with all the Club flags and gazebos. In my time we found a tree, and that was our spot which was the meeting point for us all.
Back in 1984, when we had a race, we all travelled by coach and not a lot of parents travelled to the race. This gave you great independence knowing you were responsible for packing your bag correctly as you had no parent to fall back on. The support and atmosphere today was excellent; a lot more parents are involved in their children’s sport which is hugely important. The words of encouragement are worth so much to your son/daughter after completing their race.
Every race is a marker, and you should use it to assess your progress on how your training is working for you.
After training for just 2 weeks with DSD, Conor competed in his first race today in the Cross-Country League 2 in Tymon Park. He thoroughly enjoyed it and found the support really inspiring. A big part of the build-up to the race is preparation, and Rob Connolly is doing a fantastic job preparing the 2010 group for the races. The 2010 Boys’ team is building nicely and we are looking forward to the Dublin Championships next week!