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Athletics Club History

The Athletic Club was formed in 1948 by rugby players as a summer fitness activity.

 The prime mover in organising the club was undoubtedly Joe Kingsmore who acted as secretary with Alec Beatty as treasurer. One very ardent supporter was Bruce Mulligan who participated actively in local sports meetings in spite of carrying a disability from the war.

 At the outset members trained at Pirrie Park the College grounds but in 1950 moved to Deramore as soon as the development was completed.

 George Ferrett took over as treasurer and later as secretary until the sixties when Denis Martin served.

 

Athletics Club 1950

 

 For many years the club was privileged to have a former Sprint Champion John McVeigh as the principal coach who guided many to success in All-Ireland and Northern Ireland Championships.

Lance (Musso) Thompson, an outstanding athlete from schooldays won the 440 yards in the All Ireland Championship but a great career came to an end because of a permanent knee problem but he continued to help to coach younger athletes.

 Irish champions were Jim McGrath (decathlon), Dave Watson (high jump), Alex Gregg (javelin) and Artie O’Neill. In local sports meetings other successful members were Arthur Hill, Mickie McKillen, George Ferrett and Dick Wilson.

 An Athletic League was formed where the club featured successfully.

 Individual members also took part in various Sports Meetings organised by clubs from that league such as 9th Old Boys, Short & Harlands, and RUC as well as by the sport governing body Northern Ireland Athletic Association.  

In inter-club competitions, Alec Beatty, Eric Lowry, Gerry Nickell, Jimmy and Arthur Anderson represented Collegians in field events. Jim Lord, Dave Watson and Joe Kingsmore were to the fore in jumping with Brian Haire and Robin Kelly in the sprints. While the distance runners included Dick Wilson, George Ferrett, Arthur Hill, Joe Gentleman, Arthur O'Neill and Peter McConnell.

 Working behind the scenes for Collegians Jimmy Anderson marked out the running tracks for matches as the competitions were run on rugby pitches and the like.

 There were dramatic changes in the late sixties with the creation of new and better facilities e.g. The Mary Peters Track and the Antrim Forum. Now the grass tracks, marked out by members like Jimmy, disappeared. Local Sports Meetings no longer took place. Public interest in Athletics waned as people’s interests changed.

 Finally Collegians Athletic Club became defunct in the late sixties but from the ashes arose a very successful Basket Ball Club. (Q.V.)

Tours

No report about Collegians Athletic Club would be complete without reference to the tours outside Northern Ireland excellently organised by Joe Kingsmore. He should have been a travel agent.

While we had tours to the Isle of  Man and Stranraer , in 1954 the outstanding tour was undoubtedly to a London University match. A match in Paris fell through but we went anyway.

Wwe were able to run for the first time on an asphalt track in London and Brian Lewis produced a record Northern Ireland time in winning the 440. Sadly this was not recognised as the timing was very low key.

 

athletics_club

 

This Belfast Telegraph photograph is of the party at the Albert Clock and is the only record of an almost complete Club. On that photograph many ladies are seen. Rightly so, for Norma Lowry formed and ably organised a Ladies Section.

At that time they held the relay record for 4X110 yards for Northern Ireland..

 

 

 

Links

IRFU www.irishrugby.ie
Ulster Branch www.ulsterrugby.com
Methodist College Belfast www.methody.org
Harlequins RFC www.belfastharlequinsrfc.com

Collegians Club
Formerly - Deramore Park,
Belfast,
County Antrim, Northern Ireland

E: philipjordan@meridiansystems.co.uk

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