Donie Walsh winner of Kieran Dowd Special Achievement Award


Donie Walsh with former Director of Sport, Kieran Dowd and UCC President Prof. Patrick O’Shea


Donie Walsh has been at the core of Irish athletics for most of his life. “Few personalities in Irish Athletics command as much respect and admiration as Donie Walsh” (taken from an article in the Irish Runner)

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.

His greatest successes came in the early 1970s, when he won five 10,000m National Championships on the track in six years.

He represented Ireland in the Marathon at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.

He 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 is also a coach and founding member of Leevale Athletic Club in Cork.

Donie received a European Athletics Coaching Award last December in Dublin from European Athletics in “recognition of his valuable contribution and service to our sport through excellence in coaching”


Donie first began coaching in UCC in 1978 when Kieran was Director of Sport. He left for some years but has been back coaching the UCC students in middle distance for some time now. Donie is the” go to man” in Cork for advice on middle distance running.

He is regularly seen at the UCC Mardyke & CIT tracks advising both young & experienced athletes. Lizzie Lee will be the first to acknowledge his role in her successes amongst many other athletes.

In UCC Donie is regularly sought out by clubs seeking advice on training of team athletes. Our pentathletes, triathletes, etc regularly seek advice from him on training methods & he never turns an athlete away.

He nurtures the athletes & ensures they focus on their studies in addition to their athletics.  “If you’re coaching athletes there’s no way you’d treat them like that. They’re human beings and they need encouragement. I couldn’t be shouting and roaring at a person; without doubt, encouraging them works best” – quote from Donie in the Irish Runner in relation to how contestants in Operation Transformation were treated & how he treats his athletes.

Donie will be away with UCC later this week as they compete in the annual track & field intervarsities up in Belfast. We wish all the UCC athletes ell in this competition.

I am sure you will agree with me that Donie is a deserving winner of the Kieran Dowd Special Achievement Award for his contribution to Ucc athletics for 2017/18.