Honours For Leevale Greats At Athletics Ireland Awards

The awards keep coming to Leevale. The Athletics Ireland,  2016 Irish Life Health National Athletics Awards took place  30th of November at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Northwood. On the honours list were Donie Walsh, Marcus O’Sullivan, Lizzie Lee & Michelle Finn.

Donie Wash was presented with the Service to Coaching award. Donie has been at the core of Irish athletics for most of his life. He earned a scholarship to Villanova University in the USA, and competed in several NCAA championships. He has raced against some of the best athletes in the world, including the legendary American, Steve Prefontaine.

His greatest successes came in the early 1970s, when he won five 10000m National Championships on the track in six years, ran the marathon for Ireland in the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, and won numerous other cross country and track & field titles. He was a scoring member of the Irish team that took silver in the World Cross Country Championships in 1979, on the day that John Treacy won the race for the second time.

Donie now dedicates himself to coaching at Leevale AC, the club he has been part of since its inception 50 years ago, where he continues to inspire and produce top quality international athletes. 

Marcus O’ Sullivan was inducted into the Hall of Fame at this year’s Irish Life Health National Athletics Awards. The Hall of Fame award is presented to an athlete who has achieved at the highest level and is considered world class. The recipients have transcended the sport and are sporting legends. O’Sullivan duly takes his place in the Hall of Fame joining fellow Irish greats Ronnie Delany, Eamonn Coghlan, John Treacy and Frank O’ Mara.

Marcus is three time World Indoor 1500m Indoor Champion, winning these titles in 1987, 1989 and 1993. In his victories in 1987 and 1989, Marcus set championship records. Marcus also took home silverware at the 1985 European Athletics Indoor Championships winning silver in the 1500m. O’Sullivan qualified for four Olympic Games: 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996 at both the 800m and 1500m, he reached the 1500m final at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Marcus also won the prestigious Wanamaker Mile at Madison Square Garden’s Millrose Games six times (1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, and 1996). O’Sullivan, along with Irish runners Ray Flynn, Eamonn Coghlan, and Frank O’Mara established the still standing world record in the 4 x 1 mile relay, when they combined in Dublin on August 17, 1985 to run 15:49.08

He is currently the head coach of Villanova and recently coached his 16th national champion Patrick Tiernan to the NCAA Cross Country title.

The women’s European Cross Country Team were presented with the team of the year award, of which Lizzie Lee & Michelle Finn were members of the medal winning team. 

Individually Michelle Finn was presented with University Athlete Of The Year Award for her excellent inter-varsity season.