Cork Athletics Facing Track Crisis: A Closer Look

March 13, 2024

In a recent interview with Cork Athletics County Board Webmaster John Quigley, the dire situation surrounding track facilities in Cork has come to light. Quigley's insights shed light on a prolonged struggle that has left the local athletic community reeling.

The focal point of concern revolves around the MTU track, which has been plagued with issues for over a year, as well as the Mardyke closure. Initially slated for resurfacing, the MTU track project was repeatedly postponed, exacerbating the problems. Even during the opportune weather conditions of the COVID-19 lockdown, when work could have been expedited, delays persisted. Quigley explains that a sub subcontractor's diversion to another job left the track half-finished, rendering it unusable since late summer.

With plans to resume work in mid-April, weather permitting, the hope is to finalise the subsurface and apply the finishing layer. However, logistical challenges, including mobilisation costs and unpredictable weather, pose significant hurdles. Contractors from the UK require ideal conditions for installation, which have been elusive thus far.

Compounding the issue is the unavailability of alternative venues. Quigley highlights the dearth of suitable tracks, with existing facilities owned by colleges deemed inaccessible. The recent closure of the Mardyke track due to safety concerns further exacerbates the crisis. This closure, coupled with warnings dating back to 2023, underscores the urgent need for action.

The ramifications extend beyond inconvenience, affecting the competitive landscape and tarnishing Cork's reputation. Cork athletes have historically performed admirably on the European and world stages, a testament to their talent and dedication. However, without proper facilities, their potential remains untapped.

Quigley advocates for a non-college-affiliated track as a viable solution, emphasising the need for accessibility and sustainability. Suggestions include Bandon AC's track, which could serve as a much-needed addition to the region's athletic infrastructure. The current predicament, Quigley asserts, sends a disheartening message about Cork's sports facilities, necessitating collective action.

Furthermore, Quigley criticises past reluctance from governing bodies to invest in Cork's track infrastructure. He stresses the urgency of the situation, citing the inability to host senior track and field competitions for five years as evidence of neglect.

The interview with John Quigley unveils the severity of Cork's track crisis and the urgent need for intervention. It underscores the importance of adequate sports facilities in nurturing athletic talent. As stakeholders grapple with the challenges ahead, the hope remains for a swift resolution to restore Cork's standing as a powerhouse in athletics.

Featured Image: Cork Athletics via Fernando Fánan video.