The sun came out to welcome everyone to the lovely rural setting of Irishtown, for the Padraig Cullina memorial 8k race. The athletes and community also came in their droves to pay a fitting tribute to Padraig. Every kilometer was marked with the Green & Red colours of Padraigs club, Mayo AC. Padraig took up athletics in 1980 and made an outstanding contribution to the sport as an athlete, coach, administrator and event organiser. For 30 years Padraig competed across the spectrum of athletics from track & field, indoor and outdoors, to cross country and road racing, winning numerous Mayo, Connacht and National medals in the process. Padraig was also a leading light in his local community and he was heavily involved in almost every committee throughout his years in Irishtown.
The 8k race seen Matt Bidwell (GCH) take up the early running and he had a substantial lead at the halfway mark. However, John Byrne, Mayo AC put in a great second half, running a negative split and taking the victory in a very fast time of 26:04. The significance of the Staide man winning in Irishtown dates all the way back to 1879, when fellow Straide man Michael Davitt had the first of many ‘monster meetings’ following his formation of the National Land League. Second home was Matt Bidwell in 26:22 and Brendan Gill (Mayo AC) finished third in 27:51. The womens race seen Mayo AC fill the first 3 positions. It was won by Mary Gleeson who dipped under the 30 minute mark, winning in 29:59, second was Sarah Syron who ran a PB of 32:05 and 3rd Angela O’Connor 32:10. The other category winners on the evening, were Men O40 Gerry Galvin (Mayo AC) 31:18, Women O40 Joan Walshe (Mayo AC) 35:33, Men O50 Hugh Duffy (Mayo AC) 30:39, Women O50 Pauline Moran (Mayo AC) 37:13, Men O60 Seamus Gaughan (Mayo AC) 32:44, Women O60 Mary Summers 80:14 Youth – Boys Anthony Neville 33:48 Youth – Girls Rebecca Waldron 62:00.
Afterwards there were some fitting tributes paid to Padraig by Billy Freely from the local community, Michael McGrath Chairman Mayo AC and Fr O’Connor, Irishtown parish priest. Marie Cullina then unveiled a plaque in memory of her late husband Padraig. The plaque will remain in Irishtown and as Michael McGrath commented, when someone stops to read it in 50 or 100 years time they will see what a great contribution Padraig made to his community. A fitting tribute to a great man.
A very memorable evening was had by all and special thanks to everyone who helped to make this such a successful event.
Individual Results: [Download not found]
Pictures are courtesy of Brenda Raftery
Also check out Facebook link below for more pictures from the day including the kids fun run.
1st John Byrne (Mayo AC) 26:04
2nd Matt Bidwell (GCH) 26.22
3rd Brendan Gill (Mayo AC) 27:51
1st Mary Gleeson (Mayo AC) 29:59
2nd Sarah Syron (Mary AC) 32.10
3rd Angela O’Connor (Mayo AC) 32:17
1st Gerry Galvin (Mayo AC) 31:18
1st Joan Walshe (Mayo AC) 35:33
1st Hugh Duffy (Mayo AC) 30:39
1st Pauline Moran (Mayo AC) 37:13
1st Seamus Gaughan (Mayo AC) 32:44
1st Mary Summers 80:14
Youth – Boys
1st Anthony Neville 33:48
Youth – Girls
1st Rebecca Waldron 62:00