Bandon AC’s Phil Healy summed it up well recently after her fantastic 4th place in the 400m final at the European Indoor Championships,
“Explore so many events, because you never know which is the best for you. Don’t be afraid, and the main thing is have fun. If you know you’ve done your best then you can be delighted with your performance. It is not all about winning and it needs to move away from that mentality and thinking. If you give it your all, and walk off the track happy, then you’re winning for you. If you think you can do better then the next day is another opportunity to try that. I didn’t make finals or win anything until I was 17/18. You’re never too old. Just enjoy it, make new friends and most of all have fun. ”
Bandon Athletic club and the coaches have always had the long term development of the athlete as the primary driving force and it is with that same commitment we are about to embark on a new journey.
Bandon Athletic Club are extremely excited and proud to announce that it has recently concluded the purchase of an 8acre site just outside Bandon. Full planning permission has been granted for the development of a 400m all-weather track, field event area’s and an indoor training facility.
This is a huge step forward for the club and massive vote of confidence by the club in the talent within Bandon and the wider West Cork athletics community.
The site which is located at Clancoolbeg will see work commence shortly with the expectations that the all-weather track will be installed in 2022. The timeline for the development of the indoor training area will be determined by various fund-raising activities the club will be undertaking as well as grant allocations received. The indoor area, as well as having space for sprints and long distance will also include jumps and throws areas.
This development unlike majority of other all-weather tracks in this country will be owned and controlled by the club. Bandon AC for the last numbers of years has been one of the largest Juvenile clubs affiliated to Athletics Ireland, but due to lack of access to our own facilities it has not always been able to accept members and we frequently have a waiting list. Once this development is complete, the club’s expectations would be that it can eradicate waiting lists. Currently athletes frequently travel to Cork or further afield to avail of tartan track facilities, providing better facilities close at hand, will enable athletes to focus on training and recovery and not on travelling time. Our club also caters for recreational sport, which is called Fit4Youth. This aspect of the club is vital to ensuring athletes have opportunities to partake in athletics in a friendly social environment and progress at their own pace while getting all the health benefits from athletics.
Bandon AC which already has great working relationships with local schools and organisations such as Bandon Special Olympics and West Cork Athletics is looking forward to working even more closely with these schools, groups once the development is ready. This is a development which will greatly enhance the wider community and the athletics scene in West Cork.
It has been a long road to get to where the club is now, with a lot of time and commitment from a large number of club members, but some people do deserve special mention. One of the founding members Mr Billy Good has played a large part in obtaining this site and the associated planning permissions. A dedicated Track Development sub-committee put in a huge amount of work in rececnt years trying to find a suitable site and get the planning permission, current members of the sub-committee include Michael Weldon, Paul Kingston, Michael McKeon, David Gibson and Una Hutchinson. Landowner Liam Crowley who has been very helpful to the club throughout the long planning process. As a tribute to all past members, the club decided to make this announcement on St Patrick’s Day, as the club was known as St Patrick’s AC for the first two years after its formation in 1964.
The club will shortly be announcing some exciting fundraising activities to enable this development be completed as soon as possible, we will be hoping that the community of Bandon and the wider athletics community will respond in a positive manner.
This is truly an exciting time for the athletics fraternity in Bandon and West Cork.
Artistist impression of what the new Bandon AC facility will look like when completed – Drawing by Sadbh NiFhlaitheartaigh