Intervarsity Athletics celebrated 125 years during the 1997/98 season since the first Intervarsity Competition between the three Queen's Colleges of Belfast, Cork and Galway on 19th May 1873. The IUAA saw fit to celebrate this Anniversary in a number of ways throughout the season. All the athletes who competed in the four Intervarsity Championships during the season and the organisers/officials at these championships all received commemorative medals which were specially engraved to mark each occasion.
An International Celtic Inter-Universities Cross Country was hosted by the IUAA on 14th March 1998 at Trinity College's Sports Grounds in Santry to celebrate the 125th Anniversary year. The Scottish, Welsh and Irish Universities competed along with teams from the "Queens' Colleges" and Dublin Colleges and a Northern Ireland U.23 team. The Irish Universities captains were Nigel Brunton (UCD) and Maura Prendiville (UCC). The Irish Universities were clear winners of both the men's and women's team events while honours were shared by Scottish Universities and the NI U.23's as individual winners of the Women's and Men's events. All participants were given a special commemorative programme and medal. Later that evening the IUAA hosted a meal in the Burlington Hotel , which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Letters of thanks have since been received from all the visiting parties to this event.
With Queen's College Cork having had the honour of being the first hosts of an Irish Intervarsity competition, their modern day equivalent, University College Cork, saw fit to hold an evening of seminars to celebrate the 125 years. On 16th May 1998 a small, but very enthusiastic audience heard Mr. Colm Murphy present a paper on the origins and results of the first Intervarsity Meeting in 1873, and Mr. Eric Brady presented a paper describing the development of Irish Intervarsity Athletics over the last 125 years. A pleasant evening was had by all. Thanks to University College Cork for taking the time to organise the seminars, which were a very appropriate way to celebrate this historic event, and for the post event hospitality provided.
University College Dublin also went to a lot of trouble to incorporate the 125 theme into the Outdoor Track & Field Championships with specially printed dinner tickets and T-shirts. The most notable contribution to the 125th anniversary theme that weekend was Eric Brady's programme. The programme listed the winners of every event in the Irish Intervarsity Track & Field Championships over the past 125 years. This programme is the result of years of research by Eric Brady. Presentations were made to the two Past Presidents of the Association, Michael Hillery and Cyril White, at the championship dinner.
The first IUAA Championship of the season was the Road Relay Championships on the 22nd November 1997 in the beautiful setting of The National University of Ireland, Maynooth. As usual the event was organised to a very high standard and the IUAA would like to take this opportunity to thank Ian Mc Donald, Paul Davis, and NUI Maynooth AC. The Women's event was won by University College Dublin, with Dublin University and University College Cork finishing second and third, respectively. The Men's event was won by University College Cork, with Dublin University and University College Dublin finishing second and third, respectively.
The Indoor T & F Championships took place in Nenagh Olympic Stadium on 12th/13th December 1997. After the previous years arctic conditions, we were blessed with comparatively mild conditions this time. The Women's Trophy went to the University of Limerick, with University College Dublin and Waterford Institute of Technology finishing second and third, respectively. The Men's trophy also went to the University of Limerick with Dublin University and University College Dublin finishing second and third, respectively. This is the only Intervarsity competition hosted by the IUAA and it puts a huge strain on our 'manpower' to be able to provide officials, etc. in order to ensure the smooth running of the event. In fact if it wasn't for the help received from University College Dublin A.C., Dublin University H.A.C., and in particular Trinity Postgraduate students, the event would not have run as smoothly as it did. The IUAA Executive Committee is indebted to those people who offered their services during the competition, and would encourage more Members to come forward at this year's Indoor Championships.
The Cross Country Championships took place in the Phoenix Park on 28th February 1998. They were hosted by the Dublin Institute of Technology. The race was held on a recognised cross country course. University College Dublin won the Women's Race, with Dublin University and the University of Limerick finishing second and third, respectively . University College Cork won the Men's race with Dublin University and University College Dublin finishing second and third, respectively . The combined 'Badger' trophy went to University College Cork with University College Dublin and Dublin University finishing second and third, respectively. The IUAA Executive Committee would like to thank DIT for the excellent work they did in hosting these Championships.
The Outdoor Track & Field Championships were hosted by University College Dublin in Belfield on 24th/25th April 1998. The Women's Trophy was won by the University of Limerick with University College Dublin and Waterford Institute of Technology finishing second and third, respectively. The Men's Trophy was won by the University of Limerick with University College Dublin and Dublin Institute of Technology finishing second and third, respectively. The combined trophy went to the University of Limerick with University College Dublin and Dublin Institute of Technology finishing second and third, respectively. This was yet another excellently organised Championships, and was much appreciated by the IUAA Executive Committee.
The combined Events Championships took place in the University of Limerick on 2nd May 1998. The team event was won by the University of Limerick, but with only five athletes competing, the structure of this event has to be looked at in order to ensure its future.
On 19th June the IUAA took part in an Athletics Match between teams from Penn/Cornell, Birmingham , Ballybrack A.C./Ballymena & Antrim A.C. and the Ulster Sports Council, in Santry Stadium Dublin. The IUAA was honoured to have the opportunity to compete against the Penn/Cornell Team. This event was a great success, and much fun was had by all. Because of clashes with athletic meetings in the preceding week and in the following week it proved difficult to field athletes in several events.
The annual International Track & Field Meeting between the Irish and Scottish Universities and the Northern Ireland U.23's took place in The Antrim Forum on 23rd June, 1998. Johnny Cashman of UCC and Katrina Campbell of QUB were the captains. Despite a spirited IUAA performance we were beaten into second position in both the men's and the women's competitions by the Northern Ireland U.23's. This is a very well organised event and it was good to see so many IUAA athletes competing and supporting their team colleagues, and most importantly, having a good time. A presentation from the IUAA was made to the Katrina Campbell to mark six consecutive Javelin titles in IUAA Track & Field Championships.
The World Student Cross Country Championships took place in Luton, England on 4th April, 1998. The Irish Men's team comprising Cian McLoughlin (26th), Fiachra Lombard (29th), Cathal Lombard (43rd), Colin Coyne (59th) and Rory Byrne (60th) and Nigel Brunton (DNF) finished ninth (9th). The Irish Women's team comprising of Geraldine Hendricken (33rd), Maura Prendiville (41st), Brid Ní Chonaill (45th) and Fiona McGann (49th) finished tenth (10th). These were very respectable performances by the Irish Athletes. The Irish Team was supported by the President, Vice President, Immediate Past President and the Treasurer of the IUAA.
The selection of the Irish team for FISU World Cross Country Championships was not without controversy. The IUAA Executive, and in particular the President, did everything within its power to ensure that the selection procedure was as fair as possible. The problems with the selection procedure resulted in a meeting between the IUAA Executive and the CUSAI Executive on 22nd May 1998, with the President, Vice President and Secretary in attendance. This meeting was conducted in good spirit and resulted in a clear determination to ensure a better selection procedure for the future.
The World Student Games are to be held in Palma de Mallorca from 3 - 14 July, 1999. A meeting between the IUAA Executive and the CUSAI Executive took place in early September 1998 to discuss selection procedures, the Team Manager and Qualifying Standards for the event. The President and Competitions Secretary were in attendance.
The Senior Vice President, Professor Cyril White, has informed the IUAA Executive that he is retiring as starter for the IUAA after many years of loyal and tireless service. The IUAA Executive is indebted to Professor Cyril White and is going to find it very hard to replace his unique starting talent. As an athlete myself, who has competed in most of the major championships over the last five years, I think I can speak for all the other IUAA Athletes in saying that we are going to miss the sound of your gun.
The IUAA AGM was held on the 1st November 1997 in Trinity College. The IUAA Executive met again at the Captains meeting in Maynooth, where the positions of Secretary and Treasurer were filled by Stephen Lipson of TCD and Dave Maley of QUB, respectively. The IUAA Executive met again after the Captains meeting at the Cross Country Championships and after the Captains meeting at the Track & Field Championships. The IUAA Executive is in constant communication throughout the year by both telephone and email. An IUAA web site is to be launched shortly which is hoped will help improve communication between the IUAA and its Members.
Let's hope the coming year brings success to everyone.
Stephen Lipson (Hon. Secretary IUAA)