A Donore Legend, Tom O’Riordan, celebrated his 80th Birthday on the 12th July.
Born in Tubrid, Co. Kerry in 1937. In 1956 he became the first Kerry athlete to win an All Ireland colleges title when winning the senior boy’s one mile in a record 4mins 35 secs. After completing a 4 year scholarship at Idaho University in the USA he returned to Ireland in 1962, when he joined Donore Harriers. He came under the guidance of club coach Eddie Hogan, and immediately made his mark when winning the AAU 3miles championship.
A career spanning 15 years with Donore Tom’s record is unrivalled: Olympian, 1964,Tokyo, 5000m; European c’ships: 1966, 5000m; 9 times International cross-country; 13 Irish track records (3000m; 2miles; 3 miles; 500Om). In 1963 he ran his first cross-country c’ship for Donore, when winning the AAU Junior (Intermediate). Jim McNamara also ran his first c’ship for Donore in this race! Over 13 cross-country seasons (1963-1975), Tom won 6 indiv titles, 2 silver & 4 bronze at Senior level, and was a member of 13 winning Donore teams in AAU, IAAB All-Ireland, & National BLE c’ships. He also won 12 National senior track titles from one mile to 5 miles at AAU; IAAB; & BLE. When Co Dublin & Eastern region championships are included, along with road races /road relays we could be talking about 250 races in those 13 years- an amazing record! He won at least 50 Senior C’ship medals individual and team on the track & C-C, at Co unty, Region, & Nat/All-Ireland. Above is just a brief overview of Tom’s athletic career. Along with other fantastic Donore athletes he was part of the ‘Golden Era’ in Donore Harriers.
Happy birthday Tom!
~ Willie Smith