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Awards For Tracton's1968 All-Ireland Cross-Country Winning Team

Five Tracton athletes – members of Cork's All-Ireland cross-country winning team 1968 - were among those honoured at the recent Cork Athletics Annual International Awards.

Mary O'Donoghue, Agnes Rice, Teresa Rice, Imelda Rice, Helen O'Donoghue at the Cork Athletics awards night

The award presentations took place in the Kingsley Hotel, Cork, on Friday February 21st 2020, with well over 200 people attending. Award recipients included all Cork athletes who represented their country. Special awards were presented to the women’s and men’s cross-country running teams of 1968, both of which won their respective All-Ireland events.

The men's cross-country team of 1968 included many of the great Cork runners of any era - Donnie Walsh, John Buckley, Mattie Murphy and Dick Hodgkin. The 1968 women’s team was the first Cork cross-country team to win the All-Ireland event. This team included five Tracton athletes - three Rice sisters (Imelda, who won the race; Agnes who came second and Teresa) and two O' Donoghue sisters (Helen and Mary) – along with two Leahy sisters from Cobh.

The 1968 All-Ireland Cross-Country event was held in Dromoland Co Clare. A 45-seater bus travelled from Minane Bridge, ensuring the Tracton athletes had great support. As noted by Patrick Buckley on presenting the awards, this was the youngest Cork team to ever to win a women’s event, with ages ranging from 12 to 18 years. “It could not happen today” Mr Buckley commented, on what was a very proud night for Tracton Athletic Club!

Many thanks to Tracton AC member Philip O’Donoghue for contributing this significant piece of Tracton AC history.

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